Weird Home Remodeling Tools and Materials That You Need

While owning tried and true favorites like a cordless drill or stud finder are necessary for a whole-house or other large scale remodel project, there are plenty of other tools and materials you would never imagine you can use.  

These are the ones that rarely show up on your purchasing radar because your local home improvement store will never prominently display them.  Simply put, these tools and materials are not as sexy as sleek lithium-ion cordless tools and do not generate as much profit for the stores.  As a result, they are typically priced low, which means that you can purchase any one of them ahead of time, even if you have no specific use for them right now.  Without a doubt, a use will come up before long...

  • 01 of 08

    Chalk Snap Line

    Tajima Chalk Rite Snap Line
    Tajima Chalk Rite Snap Line. via Amazon

    A chalk snap line in this day and age of laser levels?  Why on earth would you want one when you can project a precise red laser line across almost any surface?

    Chalk snap lines are archaic.  Take a reel of string embedded with bright chalk powder.  Unreel the string to form a straight line, tighten, then snap the string as if you were firing a bow and arrow.  The result is a clear, colorful, straight line.

    Snap lines do not replace laser levels; both are good to have.  Chalk lines are visible in high light conditions that wash out laser lines.  Also they are easier to follow when you are running a saw.  Laser lines tend to get fuzzier the closer you get to them.

    Use For:

  • 02 of 08

    Ratcheted Screwdriver

    Stanley Ratcheted Screwdriver
    Stanley Ratcheted Screwdriver. via Amazon

    "From zero to hero" will describe your feelings about ratcheted screwdrivers after you use them for awhile.  

    At first they seem antique and pointless.  Why use a non-electric revolving screwdriver when you can use something so much better--a cordless drill?

    Because ratcheted screwdrivers speed up regular, manual screwdrivers' turning ratio by several times, thus saving your wrist.  

    Sure, cordless drills do this, too, but they can be too much for delicate work.  Ratcheted screwdrivers give you the delicacy needed for doing things like driving those frustrating little white screws that secure face plates to outlet boxes.  Cordless drills just cannot do this.

    Use For:

  • 03 of 08

    Paint Comb

    Wooster Paint Comb
    Wooster Paint Comb. via Amazon

    Roll your eyes all you want.  The paint comb looks too easy, too simple.  Can a mere comb save your expensive horsehair paint brushes from ruin?

    Yes, categorically, yes.

    Paint combs do what you cannot do with running water alone:  get between the paint strands and pull the paint away from the bristles.  By combing your brush under running water after every use, you will extend its life by hundreds of more hours.

    Use For:

    • Combing out paint bristles under running water.
    • Brushing paint off of non bristle-related parts of paint brushes with the other side of the paint comb.
  • 04 of 08

    Hand Truck

    Buffalo Tools Handtruck
    Buffalo Tools Handtruck. via Amazon

    Hand trucks are for moving fridges into kitchens, right?  True, but they also work miracles for DIY home remodelers.

    When you remodel a house and you own a hand truck, your world suddenly expands.  You find yourself using it for everything except moving appliances.

    Because it has big, fat pneumatic tires, it can roll through your house with impunity.  Because it is less than 18 inches wide, it easily fits through all manner of doorways.  

    If you spend a little more money, you can purchase a four-wheeled hand truck (with smaller upper wheels) that can be tipped down and used as a platform dolly.

    Use For Moving:

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Construction Adhesive and Carpenter's Glue

    Appyling glue on wood
    Carpenter's Glue. ZekaG / Getty Images

    Glue is the great equalizer.  It turns mediocre remodelers into competent remodelers.

    Glue is the big secret of home remodelers everywhere who find themselves unable to Get That Thing Secured, whatever that thing might be.  

    In fact, once you own a tube of both construction and carpenter's glue, the genie is out of the bottle, you cannot go back anymore.  

    Previously you labored for an hour with finish nails or a nailer to tack up that section of crown molding that simply refuses to stay in place.  Now, with the power of glue, you can apply a couple of dots of glue, lean a 2 x 4 against it, and come back a couple of hours later to see that magic has happened.

    Use sparingly and with the knowledge that this permanent fix may come back to haunt you if you ever need to reverse the fix.

    Construction Glue vs. Carpenter's Glue

    Construction:  Insane adhesive.  Construction adhesive, which comes in tubes that fit into your caulking gun, will make stone stick to stone, wood to wood, stone to wood, you name it.

    Carpenter's:  Carpenter's glue is like white Elmer's Glue on steroids.  Same consistency, same drying time, but far greater strength.  It is intended for wood.

    Use For:

    • Trim, such as quarter round, crown, window and door casing.
    • Making two laminate floor planks stay together, even when they do not want to.
    • Filling drywall holes with cutouts.
  • 06 of 08

    Six-In-One Tool

    Red Devil Six In One Tool
    Red Devil Six In One Tool. Red Devil via Amazon

    Anything with a name like "six-in-one" seems like a cheap product, a bad deal, a staple of late night infomercials, right?

    On the contrary, the six-in-one tool (the number can change, often going up to eight-in-one) is a legitimate and indispensable tool you will find yourself using all the time.  

    Marginalized as a painting tool, if you own a six-in-one tool you will find yourself using it for all kinds of projects outside of painting.  

    Use For:

    Anything that needs to be scraped, punched, pounded, opened, ground, lacerated, or scored.

  • 07 of 08

    Contractor's Construction Paper

    Contractors Paper
    Contractors Paper. via Amazon

    If you are having work done on your house and the workers have not laid down contractors' (construction) paper, there is something wrong.

    This cheap reinforced natural (not colored) paper will save your floors when workers walk in and out (and in and out, repeatedly) of your house.

    This general purpose product has so many uses in the world of home remodeling.

    Use For:

    • Protecting floors
    • Masking areas when painting
    • Shielding off open areas
    • Making paint stencils
    • Protecting countertops when installing backsplashes
  • 08 of 08


    Using Hand Tools
    Lewis Mulatero / Getty Images

    Is there any tool more archaic than a whetstone?  This manufactured solid block has a gritty sandpaper finish on one side and a finer grit on the other side.  

    Designed for sharpening knives, whetstones can be used for home remodeling-related tools as well:

    • Honing your six-in-one tool.
    • Sharpening metal shears.
    • Giving putty knives an edge again.
    • Removing dried-on drywall compound from drywall tools.