Do-it-yourself home maintenance, repair, and updating may sound like an expensive endeavor, but having the right tools on hand can simplify and expedite the process. This doesn’t mean that you need to invest in a full workshop’s worth of tools, but there are a few essentials that make keeping your house in good repair and appearance that much easier.
1. Waterproof Wood Glue
Waterproof wood glue is a great tool to have on hand for both indoor and outdoor use. Not all wood glues are waterproof, and you will need to consider the time it may take for the waterproof glue to cure so that the bond and hold are stable. Different waterproof glue products may have different curing times.
A few options for waterproof glue include:
- White Gorilla Glue.
- J-B Weld Woodweld Syringe.
- Titebond Original Wood Glue.
Additionally, though waterproof wood glue is primarily used as a wood adhesive, some brands may also be suitable for stone, metal, glass, ceramic, and foam. The general price range for waterproof glue ranges from $6 to $15, depending on the brand and the amount of glue the bottle contains.
2. Furniture Repair Markers
While it is nearly impossible to keep all furniture and cabinetry in perfect condition, furniture repair markers can cover up small to large scratches, making your items look polished and in good repair. Furniture repair markers are typically sold in a set of a few colors and typically range in cost from $10 to $15.
A few options for furniture repair markers include:
- Katzco Furniture Repair Kit.
- Ram-Pro Furniture Markers.
- Rejuvenate White and Grey Exact Match Wood Furniture and Floor Repair Markers.
Using a furniture repair marker is simple and quick, though it may take a few layers as well as multiple colors to ensure that your markers match the wood grain.
3. Battery Organizer with a Built-In Tester
A battery organizer and tester provides an opportunity to house batteries of different sizes so you can quickly grab what you need or check for restocking. Additionally, the built-in tester tests the life of your batteries so you are always prepared in case of emergency. Battery organizers with built-in testers typically range in price from $10 to $20, or more depending on the size of the container.
A few options for battery organizers and testers include:
- Battery Caddy Organizer and Storage Case with Tester.
- Battery Organizer Storage Case with Hinged Clear Cover.
- 2-in-1 Battery Tester and Organizer.
Some battery testers include wall mount hardware, while others are designed to fit inside a drawer. You should keep your battery organizer and tester in a cool dry area to best preserve your batteries.
4. Gutter Scoop
Cleaning the gutters is a yearly chore that can be made much less tedious with the right tool. A gutter scoop is typically a simple design, and they are typically fitted for standard size gutters of 5 to 6 inches. Some may include chisel-like teeth to provide additional leverage when cleaning out packed-down material, and may also include a mesh screen that allows water to drain as you remove the debris. The simplest design of gutter scoops may only cost a few dollars, but some of the more heavy-duty gutter scoops may cost over $20.
A few options for gutter cleaning scoops include:
- Amerimax Gutter Getter Scoop.
- The Gutter Tool Cleaning Spoon and Scoop.
- The Wedge Gutter Cleaning Scoop.
Some gutter scoops may also be used as a multi-purpose tool for scooping pet food, fertilizer, or other gardening needs.
5. Tile Grout Cleaning Tool
Sprucing up the tile grout anywhere in your home can give your tile a facelift. Dirty tile grout can be an eyesore no matter how clean you keep your home. Tile grout cleaning brushes are generally inexpensive, ranging in price from $7 to $15.
A few examples of tile grout cleaning tools include:
- Grout Cleaner Brush with Stiff Angled Bristles.
- DoriHom Value Pack Grout Cleaner Brushes.
- PROENS Tile Grout Cleaning Grout Remover Hand Saw.
You will need to use an extractive cleaning material to ensure your tile looks its best, as well as put in a bit of labor using the proper tile grout cleaning brush.
6. Wall Spackle
Wall spackle is a great tool for touching up walls with small holes, cracks, scuffs, or blemishes. You simply apply it to blemishes or small holes in the wall, allow it to dry, sand any rough edges, and paint over the blemish. It does not typically take much spackle to fix a small issue, so you often have options for a small tube, or a large bucket to keep on hand. The cost will depend on the container size you purchase but generally ranges between $5 to $10.
A few options for wall spackling include:
- DAP Dry Dex 5.5 oz tube.
- DAP Alex Plus Spackling.
- DAP Lightweight Spackling.
While a little bit of wall spackle can go a long way, this tool is primarily used to cover small holes. If the hole you are trying to fix is larger than your fist, or if you have mold issues, you may need to consider full drywall repair or installation.
7. Scraping Tool Set
A scraping tool set is a must-have for home maintenance and repair. There are a vast variety of scrapers that can be used to clean tough stains, adhesives, chemicals, solvents, debris, glue, gum, or food from cooktops. Some scraping tools utilize a razor blade, while others may be made of a hard plastic that is more gentle on some surfaces. Scraping tools may range in cost from $5 to $15.
A few options for scraping tools sets include:
- Kapoua Double-Edged Razor Blade Scraper.
- Mulwark Multi-purpose Mini Razor Set.
- Mudder Scraping tool Set with Plastic Blades.
Scraping tool sets provide myriad uses for cleaning and removing debris and often come with protective blade covers that protect your hands and other tools from accidental cuts and scrapes.
8. Tape Measure
A tape measure is a universally handy tool that works with a lock and spring mechanism. It allows you to extend the measuring tape, lock the tape at the appropriate measurement, and then retract the tape when you have finished with your measurement. Tape measure metrics often include feet, inches, as well as ½, ¼, ⅛, and sometimes 1/16 measurements. Tape measures vary greatly in cost with some economic models costing less than $10, but more advanced models may cost $50 or more.
A few options for tape measures include:
- Stanley Leverlock Tape Measure.
- Stanley PowerLock Tape Measure.
- Easiest to Read Digital Tape Measure.
Tape measures can be used for more than just measuring size and distance. They can also be used to ensure that art and decor are hung evenly or to create straight lines for painting projects.
9. Utility Knife
In general, a utility knife is a knife with multi-purpose use for manual work. Utility knives may come with a fixed blade, though some designs and craft knives may have retractable and replaceable blades. In general, utility knives can be used with materials that include drywall, cardboard, laminate, plastic, paper, and more. Utility knives may range in cost from less than $5 to more than $30.
Utility knife options may include:
- Milwaukee FastBack Folding Utility Knife.
- Stanley 6-IN. Handle Swivel-Lock Fixed Blade Knife.
- Kline Cable Skinning Utility Knife.
When using a utility knife, it is always important to ensure that you are handling the tool properly to avoid cutting your body or clothes. This may include wearing safety glasses and gloves, cutting away from the body, keeping the blade sharp, and taking multiple passes when cutting through thick material.
10. Safety Glasses and Gloves
Working on projects, especially those that include building materials or chemicals, should be approached with the proper safety practices and equipment. This may include respirators, masks, safety glasses, and gloves. Safety glasses and gloves are often found at an economic price, costing anywhere between $3 and $10 a pair.
Safety glasses and gloves options may include:
- Safety Glasses USA Work Gloves and Hand Protection.
- Magid Safety Glasses.
- Dewalt Safety Glasses and Protective Equipment.
11. Metal-Handled Hammer
A hammer is an essential tool to keep in the home. There are three common materials that hammer handles are made of — fiberglass, wood, and steel. While fiberglass and wood may absorb some of the vibrations caused through use, and may be lighter, a metal-handled hammer is the strongest, heaviest, and longest-lasting. Metal-handled hammer costs range greatly in price. Most metal-handled hammers for use in the home will range from $20 to $50.
Metal-handled hammer options include:
- Estwing 16 oz Smooth Face Steel Head and Claw Hammer.
- Estwing E3-12C 12 oz Curve Claw Hammer.
- Estwing Hammer Straight Rip Claw 20 oz.
12. Basic Screwdriver Set
A screwdriver is an essential asset to any tool kit. Not only is a screwdriver useful when constructing and remodeling, but it also has many common applications when putting together furniture, replacing batteries, and more. Screws and screwdrivers come in many sizes, and two main bits are commonly used: flathead and Phillips. A screwdriver set may provide multiple sizes of the same bit, while a multi-tip screwdriver will have exchangeable bits. Costs for screwdriver sets commonly start at $10, but can become much more expensive depending on the amount and quality of tools in the set.
Screwdriver set or exchanging bit options may include:
- Klein Magnetic Screwdriver with 32-Piece Bit Set.
- CREMAX Magnet Screwdriver Set 57 Pieces.
- Craftsman 12-Piece Magnetic Screwdriver Set.
There are many types of tape for different projects that may include painter’s tape, masking tape, duct tape, electrical tape, and scotch tape. Tape costs range greatly between type, size of the roll, or the number of rolls in the package. In general, the cost of tape may range from $3 to over $20.
Tape options may include:
- Duct Tape.
- Painters Tape.
- Electrical Tape.
Each type of tape is designed for a specific use. For example, painter’s tape and masking tape may appear quite similar, yet the adhesives are designed differently. Painters tape is manufactured for easy removal while masking tape is designed for a more adequate hold. Additionally, electrical tape is designed with low conductivity but is not necessarily designed with high levels of adhesive.