The true skill of a carpenter isn’t just in the cutting and fixing of wooden structures. It lies in their ability to custom-craft the items that you need to transform your living space – precisely according to your specifications. From fitting wooden shelves to installing smart made-to-measure cabinets in an alcove, carpenters can help you with a range of jobs throughout your home.
While many DIY enthusiasts are keen to try their hand at carpentry work, it’s trickier than it looks to create neatly finished, perfectly fitted shelves, cabinets and wardrobes. When you call upon a qualified carpenter instead, you’ll benefit from an experienced pro who knows how to deliver the highest-quality work – with the right tools (and the necessary expertise) to complete the job.
This guides outlines the costs of typical carpentry work and explores some of the questions you might be considering when deciding what’s right for your home.
The average cost of shelving built into an alcove is £600.
Built-in shelving is a great way to make the most of unused space or unusual room dimensions, and it’s often a straightforward job for an experienced carpenter. Before you contact a carpenter though, it’s worth taking the time to think about why you need the shelves – this’ll help you decide which material to go for.
If you’re looking to store heavy items such as books, then stronger wood and sturdier brackets might be necessary to prevent the shelves from bowing in the middle. But this will bump the cost up. Cheaper wood might seem attractive, but the compromise could be that it’ll only be suited to supporting lightweight items like photo frames.
A carpenter can also design bespoke shelving to suit your specific needs. For example, you might want custom-built boxed shelving to house home audio and video equipment like speakers. A carpenter will be happy to craft this for you, and the advantage of paying for a completely bespoke design is that you can achieve the precise style you want. Just remember you’ll be paying more for this tailored service, especially if more materials are needed or if more time is required.
When you’re considering how to fix the shelves to the wall, floating shelves – which hide the bracket within – are a neat option. These stylish fittings can be fairly strong when installed correctly. Upright brackets are the most convenient solution – giving you the ability to adjust the shelf height without any tools, simply by slotting the brackets into the dedicated grooves.
The average cost of cabinets built into an alcove is £600.
You might have dismissed that alcove in your kitchen or lounge as wasted space but to a carpenter, a recessed nook offers a range of possibilities. Whether you’re looking for more storage, or simply a new feature in a room, an alcove cabinet can be a neat solution.
Costs are dependent on the size of the alcove, the type of wood being used, the number of doors needed and the amount of fixings required. Completely bespoke doors can be pricey, so a cheaper compromise is to fit pre-made doors. Using MDF as an alternative to expensive solid wood can also keep costs down.
Cabinet and cupboard fitting can be a labour-intensive job, so be prepared to pay extra for complex or bespoke designs, which might take your carpenter a few days to design, cut and fit.
The average cost of a built-in wardrobe with two doors is £880.
Bespoke built-in bedroom wardrobes aren’t just a design feature – they can be a really sensible investment if you’re struggling for space, or have a generous selection of clothing. When they’re custom-crafted to precisely fit your space, wardrobes give you more storage – especially if you opt for a floor to ceiling configuration.
The larger the wardrobe, the higher the bill. But costs also depend on how much bespoke work is required and the type of material being used – both for the internal structure and the doors. Using solid wood for doors, such as oak, can be expensive, but it is durable (and can be repaired or redecorated in the future). A cheaper alternative is to use MDF, which isn’t as hard-wearing as solid wood but is available in a range of smooth, modern finishes and designs.
The average cost of installing decking is £600 for up to 10sqm.
Decking is as commonplace as grass or sheds in most gardens – and for good reason. It’s a fairly low-maintenance option, it opens up your outdoor space for use all year round, and it can even add value to your property. Costs depend on the type of decking you go for and the size of the area you want to cover.
An experienced carpenter will measure up and talk you through the different decking board options available. The cheapest material is standard timber decking board. Although this is hard-wearing, it’s prone to weathering and can become quite slippery and eventually rot if you don’t regularly treat the wood. It’s worth pressure-washing timber decking at least once a year to keep it in good condition as well as applying a specialist decking oil or stain.
A more expensive option is composite board – made from wood and plastic. Composite looks just like classic decking board, but it has the added bonus of faring better against weathering and wearing – requiring next to no maintenance. If you have a modern exterior, or you want a premium finish, aluminium is also a stylish and very practical option. Although it’s more expensive, aluminium decking is weather-resistant, long-lasting and easy to clean – making it perfect for BBQs.
The overall cost of your decking can go up if you want to add lighting or power points to your deck. These additions probably won’t be installed by a carpenter, but it’s best to let them know what you plan to add so they can build the deck according to your requirements.
|General carpentry costs|
|Installing built-in shelves in an alcove||£250||£600||£800|
|Installing built-in cabinets or cupboards in an alcove||£490||£590||£800|
|Installing built-in wardrobes (2 doors) in an alcove||£590||£880||£1,200|
|Decking: up to 10 sqm||£400||£600||£800|
|Decking: 10–20 sqm||£700||£950||£1,200|
|Decking: 20+ sqm||£1,000||£1,350||£1,700|