If you’ve lived in your home for very long, you may start to notice areas that could use some improvement. Rather than brood about a leaky roof or your lack of floating shelves, take matters into your own hands. With the right tools at the ready, basic home improvement projects are well within your abilities.
As you assemble your toolkit, you’re likely to notice the huge number of options you have. Don’t be overwhelmed. With the basic set outlined below, you’ll be equipped to repair nearly any common home-related problem and make almost any improvement your heart desires.
Here’s what you need to keep everything in tip-top shape and looking great around your home.
Fully equipped tool belt
One of the best ways to keep your hand tools organized as you move about your home is to carry them in a belt. Tool belts come in many different configurations and sizes. Visit a local hardware store or home center, try on a few different models, and see which one feels best to you before making your purchase.
After you’ve selected your tool belt, stock it with a 25-foot tape measure, a speed square, an eight-way screwdriver, a utility knife with replaceable blades, a 16-ounce claw hammer, and a few carpenter’s pencils.
With this small set of hand tools, you’ll be ready to tackle most home improvement or maintenance projects.
A cordless drill/driver is one of the most versatile tools around. With the proper attachments, you can drill holes, drive and pull screws, and even sand wood or clean metal. Your cordless drill/driver will help you hang curtains, install new locks, or build a super-cozy porch swing.
Choose a model with lithium-ion batteries that are at least 18 volts. This will ensure that the battery lasts until most jobs are done. You should also look for a kit that includes at least two batteries and one charger, so that you have a fresh battery waiting if a job takes longer than you anticipated.
Once you’ve purchased your own cordless drill/driver, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without this extremely handy power tool.
Eventually you’re going to need to cut something, and there is no better or more versatile cutting tool than a circular saw. By using task-specific blades, your circular saw can be used to cut wood, metal, vinyl, and even concrete.
Cater your circular saw purchase to the tasks you expect to encounter. Cutting the occasional 2x4 or piece of base molding? Go with an 18- or 20-volt cordless model. Framing up a playhouse for your kids? You’d better go for a 15-amp corded saw. Planning on doing some serious construction? Go with a worm drive circular saw for the longest possible tool life.
Whichever model you choose, your saw will work best with a sharp blade.
When your bike tire goes flat or your workbench is covered with sawdust, don’t worry. Fire up your trusty air compressor and let it hiss your troubles away.
Like circular saws, air compressors come in a variety of sizes. Most homeowners will only need a small 2- to 6-gallon pancake-style compressor. However, if you’re planning on using pneumatic power tools like impact wrenches, framing nailers, or angle grinders, you may want to look into a larger model.
Once again, anticipating how your air compressor will be used will allow you to decide on a model that’s large enough to meet your needs without taking up unnecessary storage space or blowing your budget.
A miter saw is a big tool, and a big investment. When you start to use yours, you’ll understand why. The ability to cut at precise and compound angles allows you to make every piece of your project custom fit. A miter saw is a must-have for anyone attempting to trim a house or room. It’s also a huge asset in framing operations.
Since even less expensive miter saws are so costly, look for one that offers all the features you could ever want, including a sliding table, dual angle adjustments, and a precision locking system so that you make a perfect cut every time.
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