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Must Have Tools For Homeowners | Manolo for the Home

The Tools Every Homeowner Needs

Since my tools tend to end up all over the house, and half of my basement is currently stuffed to the brim with baby gear due to the renovations finally underway, it’s hard to take a true inventory of our household tools. We seldom encounter a simple project that requires us to go out and buy tools, but there’s this part of me that is always a little worried that we’re missing something vital. It may just be that my dad is basically a low-key version of that fellow on Home Improvement or that I’m always worried about something – either way, it’s nice to give the ol’ toolchest a once over every now and then.

Luckily, if you’re only tackling the basics, according to the NY Times, you don’t need much. Sure, we talked a lot about redoing the upstairs ourselves, but when we started reading about drywall lift rentals, our zest for DIYing the second floor went right out the window. So for now, we need to make holes, fill holes, change what’s in holes, and maybe loosen and tighten this or that. Nothing major. The NY Times list is right up our alley – here’s the gist:

To start off, you need a hammer.

Buy a multihead screwdriver…, said Mr. Stone of M.I.T. It should have at least two different size bits for slotted and Phillips screws, as well as Robertson (square) and Torx bits.

Mr. Ball, of Pulte Group, actually recommends a cordless hammer drill, which is twice as expensive as a standard drill. “That really opens up the ability of the tool,” he said. “And it’ll last you a lifetime.”

He also recommends a one-inch-wide, 25-foot-long tape measure with a lock.

Finally, crown your arsenal with Mole-Grip pliers, commonly known as Vise-Grips.

Next, wrenches. You’ll need one adjustable wrench and a set of standard and metric wrenches.

A set of socket wrenches — metric and standard — also helps in the age of unassembled furniture.

A level and an electronic stud finder.

A footlong wrecking bar is essential, especially one with a nicely tapered edge so you can slip it beneath existing wood.

A handsaw small enough to fit in your toolbox.

Toss in a small assortment of screws, drywall fasteners and eight-penny nails, a small notebook (for recording dimensions) and a carpenter’s pencil, and you’re set.

I see I’m missing a few things I really ought to have – not many, though. How about you? Where are the gaps in your tool collection?

3 Responses to “The Tools Every Homeowner Needs”

  1. Carol November 4, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    No gaps in my tool chest – I married the guy with a tool for every job. Really, he’s a contractor and loves to build things, so has the appropriate tool for whatever is going on. Previously, I had my own tool kit that had most everything on the NYT list. Don’t forget a set of allen wrenches and a cordless screwdriver. Glues, also – wood glue, superglue and Gorilla glue. Works on most everything.

  2. La Petite Acadienne November 4, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    The Stonecutter has pretty much all of those tools and then some. Needle-nosed pliers are also very handy and should be on the list. I’ve never really had any need for a handsaw, but then again, the Stonecutter’s father (who lives next door), has a workshop in his garage. So why bother with a handsaw when you’ve got a table saw and chop saw at your disposal?

  3. Christa Terry November 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    @Carol Aren’t you the lucky one! :) I wasn’t doing too badly on tools when I was a single gal, but we’ve definitely benefited from having a basement with a build-tin workbench. I feel like it inspires people to give us tools for Christmas and birthdays, and we’re not complaining.

    @La Petite Acadienne Ooh, you lucked out, too. I agree about the needle-nosed pliers. I think that is the tool that I’ve used the most in unusual non-tool situations. They’re definitely a handy tool to have around!