If you are a new homeowner, or an old homeowner who’s up for learning new tricks (i.e., skills), starting with the right tools is essential.
Throughout the pandemic, many of us learned that if we set our minds to a task, we can learn how to handle projects on our own rather than hiring a contractor. This new lot of “do-it-yourselfers” has been looking to the local hardware stores and to YouTube for instructions, tips, and tools and taking matters into its own capable hands.
While there are some home projects that SHOULD be left to professionals, smaller jobs are easy enough to tackle without outside help. A great place to start is to make sure you have a basic set of good tools, so make sure these vital gadgets are on your holiday wish list this year.
1. Safety First
There are a few basic items you should keep on hand to protect yourself. You should have plastic gloves for cleaning or refinishing, and heavy-duty gloves for dirty work and gardening. If you’re working with glass or any type of caustic solution goggles are a must. Use safety glasses for any type of power drilling or power sawing. Ear protection is also handy for loud equipment.
2. Tool Bag Or Box
Nothing is more frustrating than starting to work on a project and realizing you left a tool you need in the garage or basement. A good tool bag or box will help corral everything in one place. While toolboxes are large and bulky and not necessarily as organized, the latch closure ensures nothing escapes. Tool bags are made from a heavy-duty canvas that is durable enough to hold the weight. The compartments of the bag also make it easier to find what you need when you need it.
If one hammer is good, two are better. One should be lightweight and one heavyweight. The bigger the nail, the heavier the hammer should be. A claw hammer that weighs about a pound should be able to handle most household repairs. A lighter-weight option would be a pin hammer that can be used to drive in small fasteners such as tacks and picture-hanging brackets.
Rather than getting a full set of wrenches of various sizes, just get one or two adjustable crescent wrenches. The jaws can be adjusted to fit nuts and bolts. A self-adjusting wrench allows you to tighten nuts and bolts without removing and readjusting.
5. Cordless drill
A multipurpose, battery-powered drill can be used for a large number of tasks. Buy a pack of drill bits with a good selection of Phillips-head, slotted, and square-drive bits all in a variety of sizes. In addition to drilling, bits can also do the work of a standard screwdriver and hex wrench. Buy an extra battery for the drill and keep it charged, so you never run out of juice.
6. Utility Knife & Saw
Your cutting tools should at least include a utility knife and a hacksaw. A good all-purpose hacksaw can be used for cutting plastic and metal pipes, tubing, conduit, threaded rods, brackets, bolts, and wood. A utility knife with a retractable blade is great for breaking down boxes, making precision cuts, and cutting the tops off glue bottles.
7. Tape measure
A retractable, lockable tape measure is a tiny tool with a ton of uses. Get one that is at least 25’ and marked for fractions of an inch, down to 1/16 for precision measurements. Tape measures are the second most essential tool for homeowners. Digital tape measures and laser tape measures are also handy, either displaying the measurement on an LCD screen or using a beam of light. These digital tools can even measure around a corner.
8. 4-in-1 screwdriver
Even with a battery-operated drill, a set of manual screwdrivers for simple, lightweight jobs is a good idea. The 4-in-1 version features interchangeable heads that do the work of four screwdrivers.
Buy a set of pliers that has a variety of types and sizes. Locking pliers are good for multiple uses and have a great grip. Small needle-nose pliers can reach tight spaces. Electrician pliers have a fine point and can usually strip and cut wires. The big jaws of tongue-and-groove pliers are handy for plumbing projects.
10. Hex Keys or Allen Keys
If you’ve ever had to put together a piece of furniture, you’re probably familiar with this type of tool. A set with a self-ratcheting handle is much easier on the hands, though.
Terrible at eye-balling straightness? A small level is great for hanging pictures or mounting shelves, and one that is about 2 feet long is helpful for larger jobs.
While some projects like new furniture will come with the necessary hardware, you’ll want to keep a good selection of general-purpose nails and screws on hand. Look for assortments that include 6 to 10 types of nails and screws.
Any project is handled much easier with the proper lighting. Look for an LED version about 8-10 inches long with a long runtime on standard batteries. A water-resistant plastic version can withstand humidity. Don’t forget to have a spare set of batteries in your toolbag at all times.
14. Stud finder
While a stud can be many things, in this instance, it’s the sweet spot in your walls where you can hang a heavy framed photo or a shelf that will be holding heavy items. A magnetic stud finder can locate metal and wood beams in walls by sensing the metal nails that hold them in place. Using a level with an added measuring system makes this tool extra practical.
For all of the latest information on our local real estate market in Southwestern Indiana, you can always trust the professionals at F.C. Tucker Emge. Our agents have superior training and resources at their disposal to better educate you about the road to homeownership. Even if you are 6-12 months (or more!) out from making a change, there is a lot to learn about the home buying and selling process, and our agents can help you learn what you need to know so that you can be confident in your decision and have a smooth experience when the time comes. Let’s Talk!