Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Toolkit For the DIY Homeowner

Being a homeowner interested in saving some money when it comes to decorating, I wanted to provide a basic list of tools that any do-it-yourself homeowner should keep available for small jobs that she or he might wish to handle on their own.

Our sales manager was a general contractor for years, so I asked him to list the tools that he recommended homeowners keep on hand.

The following is the list of tools he said he "never went anywhere without".

Utility knife for trimming and opening boxes easily.

Putty knives which come in various widths depending on the job and are either flexible or stiff. A stiff putty knife is used when scraping paint, while the more flexible knife is used to putty windows or for spackling.

Multitip powerless screwdriver


Measuring tape

Cordless drill and bits for any size hole you might want or need.

A mitre box is optional unless you will do your own crown molding cutting and installing

Saws are frequently used power tools and there are a number of different types. You'll need one that is specific for your project.

Speed square for laying out lines and marking angles

Chalkline for drawing straight lines

The following three items are all-purpose tools:

Short handsaw
Channel lock pliers
10" crescent wrench

Other tools to keep handy include:

Caulking gun
Framing square
Finishing nails

The following tools are optional:

Routers are great for adding detail to trim, but can be intimidating to use if you are not familiar with it.

Sanders can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend completing a project.

Jigsaws are used to cut out curves on your project.

A mitre saw is used for cutting out angles, such as when hanging crown molding.

Circular saws are good for a variety of cuts and materials, but use one with a safety guard.

Table saws can be an expensive investment, but are useful with longer pieces of materials, especially when cutting a very straight line.

Finally, you will need a few safety items. Safety goggles are an essential tool for keeping dust or fragments of materials that may break off from hitting you in the eyes. If you are working with sharp edges, a good pair of work gloves are important to keep on hand. Respirators are necessary if you will be producing large amounts of dust. There are also some caustic chemicals whose fumes you will want to avoid inhaling. Ear plugs are good to use with some of the power tools, which can be extremely loud. Always make sure that you know how to operate the power tools you are using. Some of them can be very dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced user. Please be safe.

Many of these tools are items which most people are familiar with. It helps to know what you really need versus what would be helpful but are not absolutely necessary. These days we don't want to spend a fortune on tools we probably won't use. Plus, you save money on minor repairs and small jobs and you get the satisfaction of doing it yourself and it is that sense of accomplishment that a great feeling.

Autor: Pat Tomaskovic

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Added: May 7, 2009