Homeowner Survival Kit: Tools for Basic Home Repairs

This kit has the basic tools you will need to be able to make the most common home repairs.

Hammer: Since the Stone Age man has used this tool in one form or another and for good reason: it is indispensable. A 16-ounce, curved-claw hammer will handle most tasks. Get one with a drop-forged steel head.

Screwdriver: Get one with changeable tips. With so many different kinds of fasteners, a screwdriver that can adapt to all of them is a must.

Duct tape: Is this a tool or a material? Both. With a little imagination, duct tape can be used for a variety of temporary repairs.

Putty knife: Putty knives are not just for putty but also for scraping, light prying, mixing materials and many other tasks. Use stiffer ones for scraping and more flexible ones for applying putty, glazing and spackling.

Tape measure: Measuring is required in almost any project. A 12-foot tape measure is good for most home repairs and a 25-foot one is better for carpentry and plumbing.

Vise grips: Use this tool, sometimes called locking pliers, for grabbing all sorts of things very tightly. It comes in handy for loosening nuts that won't budge.

Utility knife: Utility knives are better than regular knives because their blades can be replaced when dull, and they are safer to use.

Hack saw: This saw is good for cutting metal or a variety of other materials including plastic. Select a variety of blades for a range of purposes.

Caulking gun: This tool is a must for dispensing caulk, glue and even tar for roof repairs.

Assorted fasteners: Repairs are all about putting things back together. A nice variety of nails, screws, etc. organized in a box with dividers will definitely come in handy.