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Tools for Homeowners

Many homeowners already know that minor repairs will pop up from time to time in any home, and oftentimes any homeowner can tackle a repair on their own, as long they have the right tools.  I personally gage the success of any home project on the number of trips I make to the hardware store.  To help avoid those unnecessary trips, I have compiled a list of basic tools for new homeowners to consider keeping around for those unanticipated simple repairs.


1.  Plunger

A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly.


2.  Combination Wrench Set

One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, and because both varieties are widely used, you’ll need both sets of wrenches.

3.  Slip-Joint Pliers

Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the adjustable jaws.

4.  Caulking Gun

Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping, and an essential maintenance item. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. 


5.  Tape Measure

Measuring house projects requires a tape measure — not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best.  Measure twice!

6.  Hacksaw
A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Hacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable.
7. Torpedo Level
Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, and also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle.

8  Safety Glasses / Goggles
For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles.

9.  Claw Hammer
A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own.  Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools.

10.  Screwdriver Set
It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw over an electric model. 

11.  Wire Cutters

Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails.

12.  Respirator / Safety Mask
While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals.  A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks should be thrown away after use.

13.  Duct Tape

This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. It’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.


-John Tyler

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