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There are countless types of different construction trades. Knowing who to call for your project is a challenge in itself! We get asked all the time to help identify which trade or contractor is required for specific project. Sometimes the answer is simple but other times it can be very complicated to identify what type of construction trades you need for your project. To answer these questions, we have put together a cheat sheet to help:


Construction Trades Simplified:Project UP - Construction Trades


General Contractors

The prime contractor of larger projects with multiple trades required. General contractors coordinate other trades and are the primary contact between the client and construction team.

Project Types: New construction, major renovations



Typically, the “jack of all construction trades” used for small projects. The handyman specializes in one trade but have knowledge of many others.

Project Types: Small household tasks, repair work


Concrete Flatwork & Cribbing (Carpenters, Cement Finishers)

Specialize in concrete formwork, sidewalks, foundations and slabs.

Project types: Foundations, driveways, concrete repairs


Masonry (Masons)

Specialize in placed stone or concrete block construction.

Project types: Stone finishes, brick, block wall, other stone products


Metal Works (Welders, Iron Workers)

Sometimes referred to as iron workers in commercial construction. Metalworkers fabricate and erect steel structures and accessories.

Project types: Steel building frames, handrails, welding


Framing (Carpenters)

Install wood or steel stud framing. Framers construct the building structure unless a complex building structure such as precast or structural steel is used.

Project types: Home building, commercial partitions, steel stud framing


Millwork (Carpenters, Millworkers)

Complete finish carpentry work such as cabinets and decorative elements such as crown moulding and wainscoting

Project types: Kitchen renovations, bathroom renovation, decorative trim, shelving


Roofing (Carpenters, Roofers)

Install roofing materials on structures.

Project types: New roofs, roof replacements, roof repairs



Thermal and Moisture Protection (Insulator)

Install vapour barriers, moisture barriers, insulation, and sealants. Specialized contractors install insulation like spray foam, blown in attic and sound proofing.

Project types: Install, modify or repair insulation.


Drywalling (Broader, mud & tapers)

Install drywall and wall board products. Some contractors will perform all tasks while others will specialize in boarding or mud & taping.

Project types: Install gypsum board, mud & tape joints, install textured ceilings



Install floor coverings. Contractors usually specialize in one category such as tile, hardwood, or carpet, however, larger contractors may complete all scopes.

Project types: Install, modify or repair flooring, refinish hardwood, install tile backsplashes and shower tile.


Window & Doors

Specialize in replacing, upgrading and repairing windows and doors. Sealants, flashings and trims are also completed.

Project types: Upgrade windows and doors


Exterior Finishes

Install exterior wall covering products, building wrap, soffits. Stucco installation is completed by a specialized contractor.

Project types: Vinyl siding, exterior wood, stucco, soffit, flashings, and fascia.



Apply paint to interior or exterior surfaces including trim. Applications vary based on surfaces and can include roll on, spray on or stain products.

Project types: Interior painting, exterior painting, kitchen cabinet painting



Install foliage including sod, shrubs, trees, and plants. Complete decorative elements such as paving stones, landscape stone, and edging. Service contracts can be obtained for yard maintenance including snow removal.

Project types: Sod, paving stones, retaining walls, gardens, yard care and snow removal.

Deck and Fence

Contractors that specialize in deck and fence construction.

Project types: Install and upgrade decks and fences



Plumbing construction trades complete a large variety of work including plumbing, furnace, air conditioning, and gas lines. Larger contractors will complete all scopes while smaller contractors may specialize in certain areas.

Project types: Install and repair; plumbing, water softeners, water heaters, and fixtures. Install gas lines including BBQ gas lines. Install and repair furnaces and air conditioning. Complete connections to City utilities.



Install and repair all permanent electrical fixtures and receptacles.

Project types: Lighting, breaker panels, receptacles, switches and wiring.


Excavation(Equipment Operators)

Complete grading and excavation for buildings and utilities.

Project types: Foundation excavation, piling, and final grading.


It Doesn’t End There


The list of construction trades grows as the project becomes more specialized. High end finishes and unique products are often installed by specific construction trades who are masters in their craft.


Construction trades will also specialize in commercial or residential construction due to the differences in building methods and materials.


When taking on a new construction or renovation project it is important to consider how many contractors will be required. When multiple contractors are required, we recommend hiring a General Contractor to manage the project for you. Check out our blog post, ‘Should I Hire a General Contractor?’ for all the details!


When you are starting a project, be sure to take the time to consider which construction trades you require. A bit of planning up front will help set your project up for success. To get fast and easy pricing for local contractors, be sure to post your project! Stay tuned for our next blog post on explaining the roles of Design Professionals in the construction industry.