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Final Touches and Finish Carpentry

Eastview Homes finish carpenters hard at work putting the finishing touches on an Oakville area home.

Good carpenters like doing finish carpentry because their handiwork is forever on-display and it’s for precisely this reason that skilled tradespeople are so important.

Eastview Homes employs highly experienced and passionate craftspeople and that includes expert carpenters who enjoy bringing beautiful projects to completion. There are thousands of little tasks grouped into hundreds of different categories, all of which need to be finished in a single home renovation. This blog post below looks at some of the assignments.

Good carpenters share power tools to maximize efficiency.

Most people think a finish carpenter only does interior trim, but their role is vastly more complicated. Good finish carpenters put their stamp on a house and add flair to its many features.

To understand finish carpentry, it helps to distinguish the practice from its counterpart, rough carpentry. As its name implies, rough carpentry is more foundational, less refined, and more structural than finish carpentry.

Rough carpentry refers to the actual framing and structuring of a house. Without rough carpentry there’d be no foundation, no shelter, and nothing to build upon or finish.

Finish carpentry is a broad term which we define as, all the work done inside a house after the framing, wiring, plumbing, insulation, and drywall have been added. This includes exterior doors and window installation, interior doors, wood and laminate flooring, wainscoting, trim and crown molding, cabinets and vanities and even assembling and installing garage doors.

While rough carpentry is practical, finish carpentry is decorative and more concerned with aesthetics than function.

Everyone’s tastes are different, so the type of finishing each homeowner selects may vary in complexity, but without skilled carpenters, a house would look boxy and rigid.

Bathroom vanities: Frame-and-panel construction makes up the component parts of many types of furniture. Box or case construction is the basic design of dressers, buffets, desks and chests, as well as kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. Finish carpenters assemble and install this amenity and it’s one place in the home where their work remains on display for many years.

Bathroom vanity before receiving marble countertop.

The bathroom vanity gets a white marble surface similar to the kitchen and in this respect these rooms are unified in design.

Bathroom vanity with a marble countertop.

Finish Carpentry Molds, Sculpts, Trims, and Shapes a Family Home

Crown molding has been around for centuries, adding elegance and giving rooms more presence. It’s never going out of style.

carpenters finishing touches
Attractive trim and crown molding unify the kitchen and dining rooms. Finish carpenters also install kitchen countertops.

Interior molding provides attitude as well as architectural interest in the interior living space. Starting at the floor, baseboards are the visual foundation for a room. They are like a line drawn under everything else above. One of the easiest ways to upgrade a room is to redo all the moldings, adding width, depth and height to the trim. Far from closing-in a room, the trim adds depth to the walls, especially if it’s painted the same color as the walls for a unified appearance.

Finish carpenters make handy bannisters and balustrades

Handrails are important and noticed by home buyers because they add personality and they scrutinized by building inspectors because they’re mandatory and must conform to many accepted standards. All stairways must have a handrail on at least one side and if they’re greater than a meter wide they need handrails on both sides. On any given stairway in Ontario, the handrail must be between 34″ and 38″ in height, and when children are the principle users, a maximum of 28-inches high. Handrail dimensions and even the distance between the gripping surface and the wall is also governed by the International Building Code (IBC).

The handrail is supported by the newels and it can pass over them as a continuous rail, or it can fix to each newel-post where the newel sits between the rails breaking them up. This is known as post–to-post. In some instances the handrail might have an inner metal core to provide strength, and to assist if the rail is curved, particularly against the grain.

What is a balustrade?

Balustrade is a fancy word for handrail that comes to us from the Latin balaustro meaning small pillar. Today the term is generally used to describe all the parts of the wooden barrier designed to keep people from falling off a balcony or stairway. It includes the handrails, or banisters, and the stair spindles or balusters, the newels and their caps. Sometimes people refer to this entire assembly as the banister or the railings. The term banister is often used to include the stair spindles as well.

Eastview Homes’ master finishing carpenter installing a stairway railing.

Stairway railing design and installation is another area where skilled professionals outshine the home handymen. This is especially true of curved or spiral staircases which require some complicated math. Good handrails allow users to get a firm grip which means they can use their entire hand. That’s important because stairways are where the most accidents happen in a home, and it’s second only to the kitchen in terms of fatalities. Bannisters should be stress-tested and the joints tightened if the rail feels loose. Hardwood handrails are more expensive than pine and poplar. Some of the more elaborate staircase designs include wainscoting which is an ornamental tongue-in-groove paneling or skirting that extends several feet up the wall from the staircase or floor; with molding on the top edge. This wood surface is more easily cleaned and protects the wall and is especially beneficially if there young children in the house

What’s a Volute?

A volute is a spiral, scroll-like ornament that forms the basis of the Ionic order, and is found in the capital of an Ionic column. The Ionic order is one of the three canonic orders of classical architecture, the other two being the Doric and the Corinthian. The volute was later incorporated into Corinthian order and Composite column capitals. Four volutes are normally found on an Ionic capital. The word derives from the Latin voluta which means “scroll”. It has been suggested that the ornament was inspired by the curve of a ram’s horns, or perhaps was derived from the natural spiral found on a sea shell, or in the ovule of a common species of clover native to Greece. Alternatively, it may be of geometric origin as there’s a mathematical principal at play; it’s the golden ratio, an irrational number that approximately equals 1.618, or a spiral in rectangular frame. The method for drawing the complex geometry was devised by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius. Whatever the case, volutes can be found in many ornaments throughout the ages. They can be found in Renaissance and Baroque architecture and are common decorations in furniture design, silverware and ceramics and to finishing carpentry and stairway handrails.

Carpenters making decorative balustrades for balconies and stairways will know the word volute refers to a decorative curl at the bottom end of a hand rail. This is typically seen on the bottom of the stairs over a curtail step, which is an extra wide bottom step. This provides the necessary space’ for the curl so it doesn’t seem out or place hanging by itself in midair. When combined with the curtail, a volute is not just for decoration. It can provide extra strength and solidity to the handrail by allowing more spindles (or balusters). This makes the end to the handrail sturdier than having a single newel post

Oak stairway volute

Custom closet doors including barn door with mirror inlay

Doors are everywhere in your home, including your closets. Finish carpenters install closet doors which can have a large impact on the bedroom’s overall aesthetic. Eastview Homes offers many different configurations and styles, from double-swing openings to bi-fold openings that reserve space in smaller rooms, to massive one-piece barn doors. The example below is a solid piece of wood which is really heavy and glides smooth on an overhead steel track.

The heavier the door, the smoother it rolls on an overhead steel track

Bi-fold doors are door pairs, hinged in the middle, that slide on a track and open and close in an “accordion” fashion. Bypass doors are double doors and slide side-by-side on a track. Below are double doors securing and angled closet for hanging suits and jackets.

Laundry rooms with sorting spaces and lots of surplus storage are easier to keep clean. Our team built this in one day.

Our finish carpenters exceed customer expectations with excellent attention to detail. They are exact in their measurements, cuts, and installations. Eastview Home’s carpenters execute intricate designs, and are well versed in the best wood stains and varnishes to make the most impressive finishes.

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