What is the difference between carpentry and joinery?

Last Updated: 2 August 2023

Worker sawing woodUnderstandably, confusion still arises when determining the difference between carpentry and joinery. Much of this can be attributed to both professions being construction trades that involve working with wood. Whilst this means there’s likely some overlap in skills between the two trades, there are numerous distinctive differences between them.

The difference between carpentry and joinery

In the simplest possible terms, joiners ‘join’ wood in a workshop and carpenters construct the building elements on site. Of course, this is far too simplified a definition for understanding the important differences between the two. Therefore, we need to delve a bit deeper.


Joinery is the process in which two or more sections of wood are connected. The work performed by joiners is usually associated with creating a range of timber products. This can include windows, doors and staircases to specialised furniture, such as chairs, cabinets or tables. Usually, but not extensively, joinery work is based in a workshop due to the use of heavy machinery.


Carpentry work tends to focus on larger elements, such as constructing and fitting roof trusses, stud work and fitting floors & staircases. It also tends to be performed on site. You can usually distinguish between it and joinery by remembering that joinery work tends to focus more on the creation of wooden components, whereas carpentry involves fitting these components or using them in some way to create something else, like a roof truss.

Do I call a carpenter or a joiner?

Whilst apprentices of either trade may inevitably end up learning a number of the same skills, after specialising, both will focus upon a number of distinctively different ones. Bearing this in mind, a joiner may be more suited to creating a specialised piece of furniture for you to enjoy, but a carpenter might do a better job installing it. Therefore, determining exactly what you require is important before deciding on which type of trade you should use. If you require both, you can simplify the process by using a company that provides both carpenters and joiners.

Specialist joiners and expert installers at Reddish Joinery

Reddish Joinery employs a range of expert joiners and installers who specialise in the construction and installation of bespoke timber conservatories, doors & windows. If you’d like more information on the work we perform, you can call us on 0161 969 7474 or send us an online message.

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