A carpenter is involved in many different stages of the building process. Whilst they are usually reserved for skilled carpentry work, it is not uncommon for them to complete less skilled tasks, in between other jobs, in order to keep a project moving.
Whilst it is not considered a carpentry job, it is still quite common for carpenters to fix plasterboards. A good example, would be after they have built stud walls, and installed door casings. In this scenario, it might make sense to do the boarding, if they are less busy with other work.
Due to a carpenter’s skill in accurate measurements and cutting, they do tend to be very good at fitting plasterboard. However, whether they end up doing this job, will usually depend on how busy they are with other work.
Traditionally, installing plasterboard is a job for the plasterers. They are the people who will skim over the boards, so in most cases it does make sense that they fit the boards first.
The plasterers also need to do other prep work prior to skimming, such as adding scrim tape to all the joints, adding corner beads, and preparing the surface for plaster.
It is more common for a carpenter to install plasterboard if there are no plasterers on site. For example, if drylining boards are being used. In this case, the walls won’t be skimmed, and a plasterer may not be needed at all.
Also, on jobs where plastering is being outsourced to sub-contractors, it may be cheaper for someone else to install the plasterboards. By doing this, the plasterers can just come in for the skilled work, skimming all the surfaces.
In this case, the boarding could be done by carpenters. Or even a less skilled worker, such as a labourer with some experience.
Times when a carpenter may do the plasterboard
As we already mentioned, a carpenter certainly has the skills to install plasterboard. Whilst this is usually a plasterer’s job, there are situations where it makes far more sense for the carpenter to do the work.
Below are a few examples, of when a carpenter might fix plasterboard themselves:
- Dry lining – This is the process of installing specialist dry lining plasterboards. The boards are tapered at their edges, which creates an indented channel where the boards join.
Due to this, the boards are not usually skimmed. Instead the joints have tape applied and a joint filler is used to fill the indented channel. Following this, the filler can be sanded to a smooth finish.
- Small jobs and repairs – If there is only a small amount of boarding to do, it often doesn’t make sense to hire a plasterer. Also, in many cases, smaller areas can often be filled (or skimmed) by someone less skilled than a plasterer.
- Private jobs – Again, this will often boil down to cost, and a carpenter is less likely to hire a plasterer for work they can do themselves. The average day rate for a plasterer, will be £200+. Therefore, it makes sense to only hire them for skimming, which is a much more skilled job.
This is not an exhaustive list, but as you can see, there are several instances when it makes sense for a carpenter to fit plasterboards themselves. It will really boil down to the circumstances of the individual job.
Times when a carpenter won’t do plasterboard
In this section we will look at a few examples where a carpenter wouldn’t install plasterboard:
- Dot and dab – This does not involve fixing plasterboard to wood. Therefore, it is not a job a carpenter would carry out. Dot and dab is a method where plasterboards are fitted with a dry wall adhesive. This allows them to be fixed to solid surfaces, such as brickwork and blockwork.
This is a more specialist job and as a result it is carried out by the plasterers.
- Bigger jobs – If a carpenter is working on a large project, they are less likely to fit boards. Firstly, they will usually have other skilled carpentry work to keep them busy. Secondly, it is much more likely that plasterers will already be on site to do the work.
- If specialist dry lining companies are hired – This could also be on a larger job, and a specialist dry lining company may come in to install the boards and finish them ready for decorating.
As you can see, whilst installing plasterboard is not considered a carpenter’s job, they still will end up doing it quite frequently. This is mainly because they have skills in measuring and cutting, in order to do this work to a high standard. Therefore, it often makes sense for them to do the work.
Plaster boarding is traditionally the job of a plasterer. Even if boards are installed by another trade, such as a carpenter, the plasterers will still usually need to prep the boards and skim them. Following this the job can progress to second fix.