Tools ev­ery home­owner should have

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - MIKE HOLMES

MY dad used to say, “Mike, if you’re go­ing to do some­thing, do it right the first time.” Part of that is hav­ing the right tools.

Ev­ery once in a while some­one will ask me what tools they should have in their home. And even though I’m not a big fan of DIY, there are ba­sic things ev­ery home­owner needs to do around the house that re­quire a few tools, such as putting fur­ni­ture to­gether or hang­ing things on a wall.

What are the es­sen­tials? For me it comes down to prac­ti­cal­ity, be­cause a tool is only as good as the per­son hold­ing it. So you don’t want to over­whelm your­self with tools you might (or should) never use. That’s how some ac­ci­dents hap­pen.

There are a few key tools I think ev­ery home­owner should have in their tool box, which are pretty sim­ple and straight­for­ward to use.

TAPE MEA­SURE: A tape mea­sure is prob­a­bly one of the most im­por­tant tools you can have. You need it for all kinds jobs, big and small.

If you’re buy­ing blinds you need a tape mea­sure to know the length and width of your win­dows. If you’re buy­ing fur­ni­ture you need to make sure it fits in the ap­pro­pri­ate space — not to men­tion through the door!

Even hang­ing pic­tures is eas­ier — and looks a lot bet­ter — if you use a tape mea­sure to help make sure they’re cen­tred.

You want a tape mea­sure that’s at least 16 feet (about five me­tres) long and three-quar­ters of an inch (about two cen­time­tres) wide. That al­lows you to sup­port it with one hand when it’s ex­tended, which makes it eas­ier for you.

LEVEL: Ev­ery pro knows how cru­cial a level is. Have you ever hung a crooked photo? It can bother you the en­tire time it’s up. Most jobs around the home re­quire a level, such as in­stalling a flat screen tele­vi­sion, putting up shelves and hang­ing pic­tures.

Get a level that’s at least three feet (about one me­tre) long. And for dura­bil­ity a me­tal level is best. You can also use a vir­tual level on a mo­bile app — al­though I pre­fer the real thing — or a hands-free laser level.

DRILL: Most home­own­ers can get away with not hav­ing a drill for a while. But sooner or later they’re go­ing to need one. A cord­less drill is more con­ve­nient but re­plac­ing the bat­ter­ies can get ex­pen­sive. As well, a drill you have to plug in is also cheaper.

The great thing about drills is their ver­sa­til­ity. By re­plac­ing the bits (at­tach­ments), you can use a drill to sand, make dif­fer­ent sized holes, grind me­tal, re­move rust and mix paint, grout, thin­set and mor­tar.

STUD FINDER: No, this isn’t a dat­ing ser­vice — al­though it might just be a mat­ter of time be­fore it is. A stud finder helps you lo­cate the wood fram­ing be­hind your dry­wall. Why should you know this? For one, you don’t want to accidentally cut into your fram­ing.

But more im­por­tantly, if you’re hang­ing some­thing heavy, such as a big can­vas paint­ing, glass frame, tele­vi­sion or a shelf that will need to sup­port some weight on it, you want to make sure it’s se­cure and screwed into some­thing solid, such as a wood stud.

If you just screw into dry­wall, there’s a good chance what you put up could come crash­ing down.

SCREW­DRIVER: Your best bet is get­ting a screw­driver set, be­cause it’s frus­trat­ing when you want to do a sim­ple job, such screw­ing in a light switch, and you don’t have the right screw­driver to do it.

To avoid a sit­u­a­tion like this make sure you have a flat and Phillips-head screw­driver in dif­fer­ent sizes. And get a Robert­son head — made in Canada, you know. Mag­netic tips are re­ally con­ve­nient be­cause they hold the dif­fer­ent bits in place. Catch Mike Holmes in his new se­ries, Holmes Makes It Right Tues­days at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit For more in­for­ma­tion on home ren­o­va­tions, visit


Most home­own­ers will find that they will need a drill for projects around the house.

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