ADVICE FOR HOMEOWNERS: 15 Tools That Every Homeowner Should Own!

Reblogger Rita Minion
Real Estate Agent with O'Brien Realty

ADVICE FOR HOMEOWNERS:  15 Tools That Every Homeowner Should Own!  

Original content by Denny McAuley 450.0031354

With all the new home owners out there, many of them first time buyers, I thought it might be good to let them know which tools every house should have for minor repairs/emergencies.  The list is by no means exhaustive, but does give the new home owner some idea of what to have in their tool box.  Of course, more tools will be added as more and larger projects, or needs increase. 

The following items are essential tools but this list is by no means exhaustive and in no particular order of importance. 

1.  Plunger - A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most disturbing problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these troubling plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers -- one for the sink and one for the toilet. 

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, so you'll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.

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 jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

4.  Adjustable Wrench - Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.

5.  Caulking Gun - Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.  

6.  Flashlight -  None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.  

7.  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 everything at least twice to ensure accuracy.   

8.  Hacksaw - These are great 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, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.
9. 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 not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in viewfinder must be exactly in the middle, not merely close.

10.  Safety Glasses / Goggles - For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.

11.  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. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.

12.  Screwdriver Set - It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flat-head and a Phillips- head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers are sometimes convenient, but they're no substitute.  Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw. 

13.  Wire Cutters - Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The "side-cutting" (unlike the stronger "end-cutting" style) style is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.

14.  Respirator / Safety Mask - While paints and other coatings have become less toxic (and lead-free) over time, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally getting them in your lungs. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty or dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary facemasks will not not stop. 

15.  Duct Tape - This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it's one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.  

 In summary, the above is a list of tools that every homeowner should have. 


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Show All Comments
Paul Piedra
Sabre Realty Group, LLC - Stamford, CT
Commercial Real Estate Specialist

Another important tool is a Utility Knife (the kind with the trapizoid razor blade). The retractable type if preferred, but not necessary.  I carry a small pocket knife with me at all times, and it comes in handy more times than you can imagine (I use it least twice a week for assorted things.  Until you carry one, you don't realize how often you need it).  Using a sharp knife is much safer than grabing the stake knife from the kitchen draw (and you can use it to cut that duct tape!).

December 29, 2009 08:29 AM #1
Kristin Johnston, Waukesha Realtor 414-254-6647
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Waukesha County Realtor, RE/MAX Buyer Agent

Rita, Great advice, post!  I was searching for duct tape and you didn't exclude it!  Have a great day!

December 29, 2009 08:55 AM #2
Jody Lautenbach
Century 21 Premier Associates - Pella, IA

These would make a great closing gift for first time home owners put all in a nice toolbox or basket! Great ideas.

December 29, 2009 09:11 AM #3
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI

This looks like a great list of things we could assemble for our first-time buyers.  A great Closing gift.

December 30, 2009 03:24 PM #4
Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

Don't forget about the WD-40. 

Ever have all the door locks frozen?   I know several realtors in this area that carry WD-40 or some other type of lock de-icer in the car.

January 14, 2010 01:55 AM #5
Scott Coslett
National Property Inspections - Berwick, PA

I would add a pair of binoculars to the list...especially if the new home is 2 stories.  Binoculars are a great way to scan the upper areas of the home (chimney, gutters, roof, etc.).  Tell the homeowner to scan the house after every 'major' storm and at least once in the spring and fall (2x a year). I can't tell you how many homeowners are actually surprised when you show up for an inspection and inform them their chimney needs to be rebuilt.  Many folks remark they never look up at the house.

February 23, 2010 08:08 PM #6
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Rita Minion

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