Spring is usually an active one for real estate, construction, and remodeling, so here are some essential tools that will help you get ready for the season.
Provided public health officials can get a handle on the spread of the coronavirus, the numbers for an active construction and buying season are positive (though delicate): Mortgage rates are lower than 4 percent, the unemployment rate is below 4 percent, and inflation is hovering around the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target, the National Association of REALTORS says.
“Nationwide, the National Association of REALTORS forecasts that home sales will increase 4 percent in 2020,” the association’s blog says. The good news, the group says, is that transactions and prices tend to be above-trend in the summer and the number of home sales actually increases significantly during the spring season. “Nationwide, sales activity between February and March typically increases by 34 percent while prices rise by 3 percent,” the group writes. “Therefore, the months ahead will be a busy period for REALTORS.”
It’s usually a busy time for contractors and remodelers, too. Beginning in the spring, homeowners start looking at home repairs, maintenance, and remodeling activity. Plus, remodeling jobs that have been on the boards and in permitting will now commence.
This year only will be relatively busy, though. The Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies says that national spending for improvements and repairs on owner-occupied homes is expected to rise 1.5 percent this year compared with annual gains of 5 percent to 7 percent in recent years.
“While homebuilding and sales activity are now firming, softness from earlier last year will continue to pull on remodeling spending growth in 2020,” Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies said in a January press release. “However, the slowdown should begin to moderate by year-end as today’s healthier housing market indicators will ultimately lead to more home renovation and repair.”
In anticipation of a busy remodeling season, here are 13 tools that will increase productivity and make life easy on the jobsite.
Walabot is a cutting-edge wall scanner that works with an Android smartphone to see up to four inches into walls. Using radio frequency technology, it finds the location of wood or metal studs, plumbing pipes, electric wires, and other objects hiding inside walls. It can be used by remodelers, contractors, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.
Installing cabinets and setting tiles requires precision, and builders can use a laser level. The GCL100-80CG (green beam) combination cross-line laser offers two laser plumb points. Each laser projects visible lines up to 100 feet and features the company’s VisiMax technology, which monitors tool temperature and power consumption to deliver the brightest line for the job, the company says. It allows users to connect the laser to their smartphone and can work with an optional Bosch laser receiver to extend the range to 165 feet.
Oscillating tools are excellent for remodeling work. The Atomic 20-volt MAX product comes with a universal accessory adaptor and two wood-cutting blades. It uses a brushless motor that provides up to 57 percent more run time over a similar brushed tool, the company says. The quick-change accessory system allows users to change blades quickly and easily and with the universal accessory adaptor, and a DualL-Grip variable speed trigger provides application control.
Designed for roofing underlayment installation, the retooled Stinger cap nailer weighs 4.9 pounds and offers easy loading, upgraded tool life, and utilizes full, one-inch collated plastic caps. The manufacturer says the tool is capable of firing 200 caps and 200 nails before reloading. It uses electro galvanized ring shank round-head nails measuring 1 inch. The tool includes an installed belt hook, trigger with bump fire, and sequential modes..
The 7¼-inch M18 Fuel Rear Handle Circular Saw generates the power of a 15-amp corded saw, but it also cuts faster than the leading corded units available in the industry, the company says. It has the capability of making up to 570 cuts in 2-by-4 per charge and features a brushless motor and cast magnesium construction to reduce the weight of the tool.
The new 9-inch magnetic torpedo level provides clear and precise digital readout and is ready to measure, replicate, and inspect any angle from 0 to 90 degrees. It features auto calibration that allows users to get a clear and precise digital readout immediately, six measure display modes, slope level, and angle finder. The unit can make precise measurements in degree, percentage, fractional or decimal.
The manufacturer has expanded its range of circular saw blades with the release of several new options featuring nickel cobalt teeth for extra long life, the company says. Available in sizes from 6 ½-inch to 12-inch sizes for use in miter, table and portable circular saws, the products’ blades are triple sharpened and use interfused anti-friction coating to protect against heat, gumming, and corrosion.
This 13-inch benchtop planer has a helical-style cutter head that results in smooth and consistent finishes, the manufacturer says. The cutterhead is outfitted with six rows and 26 individual quick-change knife inserts which can be easily rotated or replaced, if damaged or worn. It has 2 horsepower, 15 amps, and two speeds offering a feed rate of 18 or 26 feet-per-minute. The product also has a cast iron table bed and steel cover. Weighing only 74 pounds, it can be transported by one person from jobsite to jobsite.
The TiBone 3 hammer is constructed with titanium construction to reduce user fatigue and harmful recoil shock vibrations, the company says. Weighing 45 percent less than a steel hammer and with 10X greater vibration dampening, the hammer is equipped with a newly designed anti-rotational face, so users will no longer have to worry about the face shifting or coming loose. A magnetic nailset will enable users to set nails in hard to reach places without risking fallout.
Using the MM7 pin-type moisture meter users can quickly find the exact moisture content of wood, drywall or other building materials. In a damage and restoration situation, it will quickly tell contractors how bad the damage is, and allow them to determine what level of remediation is needed to restore the damaged area. Able to detect a moisture range from 1.5 to 50 percent, the tool is perfect for wood, drywall, and other building materials.
Designed specifically for residential remodeling, the BuildClean dust collection unit keeps airborne dust in the job work area and then eliminates it. The system, which can exchange the air in a 6,000-cubic-foot room six times in one hour, draws air in through two particle-trapping filters, and returns clean air into the space. BuildClean’s 360-degree design and two-stage filtration system help maximize coarse and fine particle collection. The device removes up to 90 percent of the airborne dust generated in the remodeling process.
The cordless, worm-drive saw introduces features such as the TRUEHVL high-voltage Lithium Ion battery, a brushless motor, and runs at 5,800 revolutions per minute. An all magnesium construction makes it lightweight, while the brushless motor responds to challenging applications by boosting power and torque, the company says. It comes with an electric brake that quickly stops the blade rotation when the trigger is released and an integrated dust extraction system.
Sometimes, a table saw is not available. Your other option is a track saw. This GKT13-225 offers an adjustable track guidance mechanism that aids cutting angle, cut depth, and plunge and finish angle cutting. It features a dust extraction design that helps deliver a clean work environment, an optional track system (sold separately), and a 13-amp motor. It comes with an L-Boxx-4 carrying case.