Cool tools for the do-it-yourselfer
Until recently, homeowners have had a sweet deal. Rapidly
rising housing prices allowed them to use the equity in their house like an ATM.
They could take out tens of thousands of dollars to hire contractors to upgrade
their space, in turn making their home even more valuable. Now that the housing
market has cooled, many people are looking for less expensive ways to get the
look they want. Often, that means picking up a hammer and drill themselves.
innovative products are making it easier on the weekend warriors. Here are a few
things to get you started:
Many do-it-yourself projects require more than great
tool skills. They require people to be adept at math, or at least with a calculator.
Products that used to be solely for the professional contractor are now making
waves in the consumer market. "Tools like these allow the DIYer to make some
relatively complicated measurements without a lot of effort," says Sean Tegart,
director of marketing for Skil North America. Here are two of our favorites:
angle finder: In an ideal world, all corners would be perfect, 90-degree
angles, making measurements for additions like crown molding or wainscoting a
snap. The reality is that the angles are often just a degree or two off, which
if not accounted for will create problems along the run of a wall. A digital angle
finder will provide the exact angle of a corner and display tricky miter-cut calculations
with the press of a button. Bosch, Skil, and Denali all offer digital angle finders
with a range of additional functions.
estimators: Painting walls or putting in flooring, you'll want to know
exactly how much material to buy. If you've got angled ceilings or irregular spaces,
calculating that number is more complex than most people realize. Room estimators
measure spaces with ultrasonic waves. No tape measures. It'll save you time, and
if you're used to buying far more material than you need "just in case,"
it can also save you money. Stanley has the IntelliMeasure Laser Ultrasonic Estimator.