Buying a home is an exciting milestone, but after you've completed the purchase and moved in, you're responsible for maintenance. In other words, you no longer have a landlord to fix that running toilet or leaky faucet.
The upside? Having a few essentials in your toolbox can help you make some common repairs yourself.
You probably already own one of these. One side of the hammerhead is flat and used for pounding, while the other has a V-shaped notch that can extract nails from surfaces such as wood without damaging the nails or the surface. You want a claw hammer made from materials that can resist harsh weather and reduce the vibrations traveling from the hammer to your arm.
A manual screwdriver is one of the most frequently used tools in any household — good for assembling furniture, removing light switch covers and tightening cabinet knobs, among other tasks. But there are a variety of screw heads and sizes, so buy a package with multiple blade tips and sizes.
A cordless drill will be the “most-used tool in your tool kit,” says Brian Kelsey, a contractor and host of the online video series “Kelsey on the House.” Whether you're driving bolts into wall studs to mount a flat-screen TV, tightening hinges or cutting out holes for doorknobs, using a battery-powered drill means you don't have to worry about finding an outlet or snaking a cord into hard-to-reach spaces.
Don't want to hang your artwork, mirrors or shelves at an angle? Use a laser level to make sure everything is straight. Levels can produce a bright horizontal, vertical or cross line (helping you hang objects at evenly spaced intervals) on any surface up to 30 feet away.
Irving recommends homeowners purchase a pair of needle-nose pliers and tongue-and-groove pliers. You can use the needle-nose pliers to bend and grip nails and wires where bulkier tools or fingers can't reach; the tongue-and-groove pliers are useful for tasks that involve fastening and crimping.
A hex key, also known as an Allen wrench, is that small, L-shaped wrench used to drive bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets. A favourite among furniture manufacturers, an Allen wrench is often included in build-it-yourself furniture, but it can also be used for basic plumbing repairs such as unjamming a garbage disposal, Vila says.
Whether you're filling cracks, scraping away dry paint or applying caulk, Irving recommends using a putty or spackle knife with a stiff, metal two-inch blade.
Great for common stapling needs such as retacking carpet, securing fabric and installing sheets of insulation, a staple gun is the perfect tool for quick fastening jobs. Manual staple guns are the tool of choice for most homeowners because they're generally easier to use and less expensive than electric and pneumatic staple guns.
A digital tape measure makes it easier to quickly and accurately record and convert measurements. Popular tape measures can extend up to 16 feet and has a memory function for storing measurements — a useful feature for when you're standing on a ladder and don't want to fumble with a pen and paper.