North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Tools of the home renovator's trade


March 21, 2018 | View PDF

Home renovation projects can be both exciting and tricky. Do-it-yourselfers are inspired by designs showcased in magazines, websites and their own communities. When DIY enthusiasts see a design they like, it’s understandable that they may want to emulate these looks at home.

Remodeling is one of the larger DIY undertakings, and it goes beyond simple carpentry. Considering demolition, reconstruction, electrical, plumbing, and masonry work may be part of the DIY package, homeowners who are thinking about renovations must first stock up on the tools and other supplies of the trade.

Good places to get started are to visit a local family-owned hardware store or equipment rental store.

“We get a lot of people who have a lot of questions,” said Amanda Zuanich, manager of Arlington Hardware. People stop by who have trouble finding the right tool or the right material for a project. She said the family-owned store excels in customer service that is staffed with experienced personnel, many of whom are retired electricians, plumbers and lawn and garden professionals.

Having the right tools can mean the difference between a job well done and a job that needs to be redone.

“One of the most basic tools is a drill,” Zuanich said. She added that screwdrivers, a saw and a hammer are good tools to add to the peg board. Other useful tools to acquire include:

•Crowbar or prybar: Before you can put in new construction, you might have to get your hands dirty with some demolition. Crowbars or prybars can be used to pry up wood slats, remove nails or remove old decking.

•Tool pouch: A tool and fastener pouch gives DIYers a place other than their pockets to store fasteners and hand tools. Pouches can be attached to tool belts for added storage capacity.

•Stud finder: Invest in a more fool-proof method of locating studs behind drywall then knocking on the wall. Stud finders can provide a picture of studs, pipes and other hidden items inside an entire length of wall. This is essential to driving nails where they belong and can also prevent sending fasteners into wires or nearby plumbing.

•Level: A level is an essential tool for everyone from casual decorators to more involved renovators. Whether hanging pictures or ensuring molding is parallel, levels are must-have tools for DIYers.

•Safety glasses: Invest in a pair of safety glasses so no one working on a project deals with obstructed vision. Safety glasses also provide ample eye protection.

•Extension cords: If power tools are part of the renovation picture, extension cords can safely extend power where it is needed. Be sure to invest in a gauge that is large enough to handle the amperage of your most powerful tool.

•Measuring tape: The “measure twice, cut once” mantra is key to home improvements. To measure accurately each and every time, no tool chest is complete without a sturdy measuring tape.

•Ladder varieties: Home improvements aren’t always at ground level. Purchase ladders of various heights so you can safely reach various areas of the home and avoid injury. Step stools, a step ladder and an extension ladder all have their purposes on the job.

•Digital inspection scope: A scope lets you see inside walls, floors and ceilings to find the exact location of pipes, wires and joists. It also can be used to seek out the source of clogged drains or anywhere you desire sight into hard-to-maneuver areas.

In addition to these tools, brooms, shop-vacs, hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers can complete a DIYer’s basic toolbox.

Stopping by the local hardware store or equipment rental store adds the convenience of a knowledgable staff, access to a lumber yard as well paint, pipe cutting and sundry services such as selling fishing licenses and Discover Passes.


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