Helpful Carpentry Terms To Learn

Carpentry lingo can be confusing when you are unfamiliar with the carpentry industry. It can feel like a lot of construction jargon that’s difficult to grasp. So we’ve compiled a list of helpful carpentry terms to learn. They should help you out if you’re planning to hire a carpentry contractor in the near future. 

Rough Carpentry

Rough carpentry is considered the framework of a structure. It includes the roof, the walls, and the flooring that everything else is built on. 

Finish Carpentry

Finish carpentry is the final step in the building process. It includes things like trim, crown molding, baseboards, windows, stairs and other design elements. 


The elements that make up the “frame” of a structure, including the beams, crossbeams, and other supports. 

Load-Bearing Wall

A load-bearing wall is a structural element that helps to transfer weight from the roof, through the floors, and down into the foundation. It is a vital piece that keeps a structure intact and shouldn’t be removed.

Dead Load

The weight of permanent and stationary construction included in a building.

Live Load

The weight of all moving and variable loads that may be placed upon a building. 


The beam used above a door or window.


A structural element that makes up the shape and structure of a roof. 


A structural member typically used to frame walls. It’s the upright support in a building that other things are attached to such as drywall and sheathing. 


When two pieces of wood line up exactly and are on the same plane. There are no differences in height. 


A term used to describe something that is completely vertical, like walls that should be a perfect 90-degree angle with the floor. 


The step or horizontal member of a stair.


Refers to inclination or slope, as in roofs of stairs. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of carpentry terms. But it’s a good start! Overall, it may be helpful to remember some of these terms when working with a carpentry contractor. The more lingo you understand, the easier it will be to communicate about the details of a project. 

For other helpful information and carpentry tips, visit our blog!

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