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What Is Rough Carpentry?

Carpenters tackle many tasks in their line of work, including reading blueprints, estimating costs and erecting houses, buildings and other structures. Rough carpentry, which involves constructing temporary structures and supports, is another task of carpenters.

Rough Carpentry Overview

In the construction industry, rough carpentry is also referred to as framing. Rough carpenters build wooden structures that include tunnel, bridge and sewer supports, temporary frame shelters, scaffolds, concrete forms and billboard signs. Rough carpenters use blueprints, sketches and oral instructions to build these structures.

Program Options

Interested students can train for this field through certificate programs that focus primarily on rough carpentry or through general carpentry certificate and associate's degree programs that show students how to complete a rough carpentry project. Additionally, some colleges offer single vocational courses in rough carpentry. Carpentry apprenticeships are also commonly available through unions and professional organizations.

Course Topics

In their classes, students will learn to frame and cover residential structures; install doors, windows, baseboards and wood trim; and even gain hands-on training constructing the ceilings, walls, floors and roofs of residences. Students also use commercial carpentry materials and techniques to learn how to build framing for facilities like shops and restaurants. Methods and materials that students might focus on in this portion of the program include steel-supported block construction and pre-cast concrete.

Common course topics for all rough carpentry programs include the following:

  • Structural blueprint reading
  • Basic architectural drawing and drafting
  • Introductory CAD
  • Commercial construction

Salary and Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that carpenters in May 2014 made a median yearly salary of $40,820 (www.bls.gov) with annual salaries ranging from less than $30,000 to almost $75,000.

Rough carpenters can consider joining the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC). To join the UBC, interested carpenters need to contact their local council; the main UBC website contains links to councils across the country. The BLS noted that in 2014, approximately 1 in 3 carpenters were self-employed. Carpenter jobs were predicted to grow by 6% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS.

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