Basic Tool Kit for Home Owners

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    If you are a new home owner or even an apartment dweller there will be times when making a repair yourself is so easy that spending money for a repairman is just a waste. But to do the job yourself you will need a few basic tools. Here we will cover the bare minimum tool kit that everyone should put together but its not like you have to run out and get everything all at once. When you make the trip to your favorite discount department store (we like biglots) just head over to the tool section and see if there is something you might need for a dollar or two. Then in the middle of the night you may just have what you need to fix that toilet or sink yourself and get some much deserved sleep.

    Screw Drivers
    There are two basic types of screw drivers, Phillips head and Flat head. Everyone should have a few different sizes of each type and often you can pickup a decent set for under $10 on sale. When you select your set you should look for a heavy plastic handle and shafts with a chrome plating to resist rust. If you normally repair items with small screws you may want to pickup a jewelers set of screwdrivers. They are also inexpensive and will let you work on computers or eye glasses.
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    Its good to have a set of hand wrenches and socket wrenches. Basic 3/8” socket wrench sets will give you a mixture of Metric and Standard sizes ranging from under 1/4” to about 3/4” sockets. Hand wrenches will give you the same sizes but you will need to buy metric and standard sizes separately. Additional specialty wrenches used for connecting sink faucets can be purchased when needed.
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    Pliers and Wire cutters
    Pliers really shouldn’t be used to tighten nuts but they do come in handy for getting hold of things. There are 3 types of pliers: Standard which will open slightly to get hold of larger items, Needle nose which are great for getting into tight places and twisting loops on electrical connections and Channel Lock pliers which have an adjustable opening to let you grab hold of larger plumbing connections.
    Wire Cutters are just that they should be used for cutting wire. Some of the more fancy electricians wire cutters come with wire strippers and guides. A standard wire cutter is all you will need for most jobs. Wire cutters and pliers can come in a set or your can pick them up individually.
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    Utility Knife
    There are so many times that you can use a Utility Knife that buying a good quality one makes sense for both ease of use and safety. Knives with break off blades are the best for most situations. You should look for one that has a metal body or insert and purchase extra blades when you get your knife. Always be careful when breaking off the blade.

    Pry bars
    To save the life of your screwdriver it is worth it to pickup a couple pry bars. First you should get a small hand sized pry par about 6 inches in length this will help you do many things like remove baseboard trim, remove small nails and open cans. Larger pry bars are great for demolition like prying up wood flooring, removing door jams, cabinets and counter tops.

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    There are many different types and sizes of hammers for normal home use you want one that is heavy enough to drive a nail and still small enough to handle easily. Framing hammers will have a straight claw that is good for getting under or between boards for prying. Claw hammers have a curved claw and are good at getting nails out. The choice is yours but remember that you want a hammer with a little weight behind it. If it feels light in your hand its probably only good for driving tacks or brads.
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    Electric Drills

    Drills are great for putting holes in things but they can also be used to drive screws. A small attachment that fits in the chuck of the drill will let you insert phillips, standard and nut driving bits. Home users should look for an inexpensive drill that fits your hand well and has forward, reverse and variable speed adjustment which is usually found in the trigger. If you want to step up from the cheap line of drills you should look into a hammer drill. Hammer drills let you use a special bit to drill into concrete. Although there may not be a lot of times when you need to drill concrete the drills internal parts will be a heavier grade and with standard use the drill should last longer.
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    Circular Saw or Hand Saw
    We can put these two items together because the choice of one or the other will depend on how much you use it. Both saws are good for cutting through trim pieces, 2×4 or larger boards and plywood. Obviously a powered circular saw is going to get the job done quicker but the price difference is about $5 for a cheap hand saw and $30 for a cheap circular saw. Unless you are going to be using these tools for a large project you should keep your eyes out for a deal and buy one on sale.
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    Electric Sanders
    There are a couple different sizes of sanders but for small home projects you can probably get away with a 5 inch or smaller jitterbug or random orbital sander. I would suggest the square jitterbug for most users because it can sand in both random directions for general sanding when you are painting the material and in a straight direction pattern for wood grain when you are staining the wood.
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    Painting Tools
    There are many times when you just need to touch up an area or when you want to change the whole look of a room. A few inexpensive items should be kept on hand and you can buy others when larger projects need to be completed. Brushes, you should have a 2 inch and a 3 to 4 inch brush for painting in corners or doing touch-ups. Remember you can turn the brush on its edge to paint smaller areas. Paint Rollers, its good to buy a decent paint roller handle that feels comfortable in your hand. You should look for one that has a threaded handle so you can insert an extension pole to get ceiling areas. The rollers themselves should be purchased when you buy the paint and should be washed before used. A putty knife and a pint of drywall spackle is useful for small nail holes or dings and dents.


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