20 Types of Contractors and Which One Is Best For Your Project
If you’ve watched any HGTV show at some point in your life, or if you’ve renovated your own home, you’ve probably heard the word “contractor” thrown around. But what actually is a contractor? In short, a contractor is a design or construction professional that you contract to perform a project in your home. While general contractors might be the most well-known “type” of contractor, there are actually quite a few subcontractors (more specialized contractors who work in conjunction with GCs, as general contractors are often called), you should know about, too. Check out our lists of major types of contractors and subcontractors to figure out which one you need to hire for your next home renovation project!
Think of a general contractor as the manager for any building or renovation project. They’re the ones in charge of hiring all the suppliers and specialists (a.k.a. subcontractors) to get the job done.
Carpenters are the wood masters of a building project, with some specializing in niches like framework, cabinetmaking, or finishes like crown molding. Oftentimes general contractors double as carpenters, as most reno projects involve a fair bit of wood.
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Unless you’re going totally off the grid, you’re probably going to need an electrician to wire up your house. Beyond the general electrical systems like lighting and outlets, there are specialized categories for electrical contractors, including cable TV, fire alarm systems, and even sound equipment.
Drywall is what actually makes up a typical wall in a house (it’s usually made of gypsum), and there are subcontractors who specialize in its installation.
Some walls are made of plaster, which today is also usually made of gypsum. Plastering a wall is a more labor-intensive and time-intensive process than drywalling, and thus there are plastering subcontractors who specialize in the technique.
After your walls go up, you’ll need a painter to get some color on them! Though some homeowners opt to do this step themselves.
Going bold on your walls with a patterned wallpaper? Hire a wallpaper installer to ensure a smooth application. (Or try a peel-and-stick type yourself.)
Heating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC)
Central heating and air-conditioning is one of the blessings of newer homes, and there are heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors who specialize in installing, repairing, and maintaining everything from your furnace to your ductwork.
If you’re interested in installing stonework into your home, from marble countertops to stone pavers on in your yard to a stone-clad fireplace, you’ll want to hire a mason.
Roofing might not be the first thing to come to mind during a home reno, chances are, you’ll need to replace your roof at some point if you’re a homeowner. Your general contractor will hire a roofer for the job. Some roofers can also help you with your gutters.
If you’re building your house from scratch, or tacking on a new addition, you’ll have to work with an excavator to work on clearing the earth from your land in preparation for laying a foundation.
Demo day might be Chip Gaines’ favorite part of a renovation, but did you know that there are subcontractors who specialize in demolition? They’ll help you dismantle anything unwanted in your house.
Your yard needs a little love too—hire a landscaping contractor to help you plant new greenery or mulch your flowerbeds.
Whether you’re interested in using concrete as a decorative element in your house (say, with concrete flooring or concrete countertops) or need a solid concrete foundation, you’ll want to tap into the expertise of a concrete contractor to make sure the job is done right.
Sure, ironworkers are perhaps better known in the commercial industry than the home-building industry, but private residences do feature wrought-iron balustrades on occasion.
Steelworkers, like ironworkers, are also better known for large-scale projects, but again—if you need steel beams installed during your home renovation project, you’ll need one.
Have a tile setting contractor install everything from mosaics backsplashes in your kitchen to terrazzo or marble-tile floors.
If you’re opting for something other than tilework on your floors, you’ll want to consult a floor laying contractor, who can help you with everything from carpet to hardwood to vinyl.
Glass and Glazing
Updating your windows? Work with a glass and glazing contractor to sort out your glass needs.
Special Trade Contractors
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists dozens of “special trade contractors” who don’t necessarily fit into any of the main categories, like artificial turf installers, posthole diggers, mobile home site setup and tie-down contractors, and our personal favorite, bowling alley installers. You can read the full list here if you’re curious.