Finish Subcontractors

What are finish subcontractors? The homebuilding industry has specialized the construction process. There are trades that work, sometimes just one day, on your home. Because there are so many trade contractors working on a project, builder’s began dividing them into groups. They are referred to as rough contractors or front end contractors if they are in the early stages of construction. This is from start through drywall. Subcontractors that follow drywall installation are generally considered finish contractors, trim contractors, or back end trades. In the case of plumbing, A/C or mechanical, and electrical, the trade normally works both the front and back end.

Trim Carpenter

The trim carpenter can be hired independently or the framing contractor may also include trim in his bid proposal. Trim carpentry includes base, casing, door installation, crown molding, chair rail, closet shelving and built ins. The finish contractor has the ability to truly enhance the appearance of your home. There is also potential for disappointment. It is critical that the owner builder view contractor work on other projects before awarding a bid.


The painter is responsible for the interior and exterior paint. It is often overlooked but they normally do the staining on stair rails, doors and decks as well. This is an area that sometimes the owner builder will tackle on their own. Do so carefully, it isn’t rocket science but it isn’t easy as it looks. For more insight into the world of paint check out this outstanding site.

Tile and Hardwood Floor Installers

Tile is usually set just after interior paint and just before cabinet installation. Flooring Suppliers will often offer a price for material plus installation. They will provide licensed installers for tile, wood and carpet. If they do not have installers the supplier will definitely have a list of licensed installers they can recommend.

Cabinet Installer

Most of the time, the owner builder will go directly to a cabinet company to purchase cabinets. Cabinet companies are normally not only suppliers but licensed installers as well. It has been my experience that you really have to attend to details with cabinet contractors. Scheduling, following up on delivery and making sure installation is completed in a timely fashion, must be supervised.

Countertop Installers

The countertops should be selected well in advance of the need. It is a good idea to have both your cabinets and countertops selected before construction begins. Often, depending on the countertop material ordered, there may be a lead time of several weeks for manufacture and delivery. You will usually have to employ both a kitchen countertop contractor and a cultured marble specialist. These finish subcontractors will often be a challenge. They are typically very busy and will find excuses to put your project off. The owner builder has to address these things during the contractual phase and pressure there trade partners to stay on schedule as promised.

Plumbers, Electricians, and Mechanical: Not Just Finish Subcontractors

These main trade contractors will be doing both front end rough work and back end finish work. Plumbers cannot start finish work until all tops and flooring are complete. If you are purchasing fixtures separately, at Home Depot for example, be certain to have them ready for plumbing trim. Electricians need paint to be complete as well as cabinet installation Mechanical trim is one of the last interior tasks of the build. You will have a crew putting in A/C registers and setting condensors and a start-up crew. The HVAC start-up crew cannot do a complete system start unless your gas has been turned on. As finish subcontractors these trades will send seperate trim crews do to the back end work. These trades are not only vital as finish subcontractors but also during rough construction.

Concrete Flatwork

You may be employing the same concrete subcontractor that poured your foundation or you may be hiring a separate licensed contractor, one that specializes as a finish subcontractor in flatwork or custom concrete. Either way, they will come in fairly late in the build. The condensers normally are set on a concrete pad, so it is before A/C start, however, the later the better. Once the driveway is complete it has a tendency to become stained and marked up if construction continues too long.


Landscapers not only beautify your home site, they ensure that proper swales and drainage are in place. This prevents water from collecting around the foundation or running back into your home during storms. It is vital that you employ an experienced, licensed and insured landscape subcontractor.

Carpet Installers

Carpet should go in the very last thing before final clean. The paint contractor will sometimes send one or two painters in afterward to touch up any minor nicks that may have resulted from carpet installation. Remember, finish subcontractors are there to "finish" the house. Make sure they do not leave work incomplete. It isn't always easy to get them to return once they have been paid.


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