Basic Flooring Tools — Planning Your Flooring Project — Flooring Prep & Installation. DIY Advice

Basic Flooring Tools - Planning Your Flooring Project - Flooring Prep & Installation. DIY Advice

Basic Flooring Tools

You probably already have some basic carpentry tools around the house. To handle the demands of your flooring installation, make sure the tools you have are good quality and in good condition. The tools shown provide a useful starter kit for any avid do-it-yourselfer.

Use a carpenter’s level to see if your floors are level. A torpedo level works for short sections. A 16-ounce framing hammer is essential — heavy enough to drive framing and other large nails, yet light enough for trimwork. Add a 22-ounce hammer for heavy work. A tape measure provides a compact ruler for all measuring tasks. A 25-foot model is standard.

Use a 3/8-inch variable speed electric drill to bore holes. For installing screws buy a magnetic sleeve and several screwdriver bits. A cordless 18-volt drill is portable and keeps the workplace free of extension cords. Buy several spade bits for drilling holes. When you need the extra reach, attach spade bits to a bit extender. A quick-change sleeve speeds switching twist bits for smaller holes. Make finder holes with a long bit. For cutting holes larger than 1 inch, buy a hole saw. Renting or buying a hammer drill will speed tough-to-bore holes in concrete.

A stand-up flashlight will illuminate cramped, dark quarters. You’ll find a nail set handy for finishing nails below the surface of moldings and extending your reach into hard-to-hammer places. A chalkline marks long, straight lines.

A stud finder finds studs in the walls. Get one that locates the stud by sensing its density, not the presence of nails. For cutting miters in trim, you’ll need either a miter box and backsaw or a power mitersaw equipped with a fine-cutting blade. A coping saw is indispensable for cutting moldings at inside corners. A pair of heavy-duty metal snips comes in handy for a variety of cutting tasks, including the installation of metal studs.

Demolition tools

To cut away a small section of concrete, a small sledgehammer and cold chisel may be all you need. To chisel out a large area, rent an electric jackhammer and jackhammer chisel. For cutting through subflooring or framing, a reciprocating saw is indispensable. Its long blades reach in to cut awkward spots and can even slice through nails and screws. Several types of blades are available, including metal-cutting blades. Buy several; they often break.

Basic Flooring Tools - Planning Your Flooring Project - Flooring Prep & Installation. DIY Advice

For pulling nails nothing beats a cat’s paw. A 12-pound sledgehammer is useful for demolition and for nudging wayward walls into position. A flat pry bar will enable you to disassemble most nailed-together framing members. Occasionally you may need a longer ripping bar for heavy-duty work.

A combination square allows you to mark boards for crosscutting. A layout square does many of the same tasks and can serve as a guide when crosscutting with a circular saw or jigsaw. Use a framing square for larger layouts. A T-bevel transfers angles from one place to another.

If you need to cut away a small portion of drywall or plaster, a drywall saw is adequate. A full-size hacksaw is useful for cutting and removing rusted fittings and old sections of pipe (a possibility if you’ll be removing appliances or fixtures). Have a close-work hacksaw for working in tight areas. Most use full-size hacksaw blades as well as shorter metal-cutting blades. A utility knife does everything from sharpening pencils to cutting carpet. Keep plenty of blades on hand and change them often so you always have a sharp edge. Use a circular saw for cutting framing lumber and, with a metal-cutting blade, for cutting metal pipes. For quick work a toolbox handsaw packs a lot of cutting capability into a compact size. For cutting subflooring and wood flooring planks, use a jigsaw .

The installation of many types of flooring requires a number of tools and supplies. To protect your investment store tools in toolboxes when not in use. Keep like tools together in individual carriers so they are easier to find when you need them.

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