Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Tools Used in Home Maintenance

Here are some products and techniques important in the arsenal of taking care of a house.


Multi-Purpose Lubricator and Penetrating Oil.  Automotive or motorcycle kinds are best.  Use for door locks & handles, hinges, old window pulleys, screen door and slider door tracks, and some modern window units (check online).  It is amazing what some lubricant can do.  Some plastic parts like furniture wax too.


Multipurpose screwdriver. Go around the house and tighten every screw that is loose.  Sounds tedious, but is rewarding.  Many times doors do not work because the screws are loose.  Bring some toothpicks along just in case they start to spin.  Pull out the screw, shove in a toothpick, and reinstall the screw.


Shims- Either a pack or a bundle, they always are handy. 


Lemon Oil Polish- Makes old natural finishes luster again.  Sometimes wood is just thirsty.


Tung Oil- It’s a good bare wood sealer, and smells nice.  We used it to get rid of an unusual smell in some unfinished wood kitchen drawers.  Baking soda can soak up smells too.


Bowling Alley Wax- Use on wood to wood contact, like drawer sides, wood window tracks (jambs).  Just not floors, unless you want to bowl.


Felt pads for furniture legs.


Backer rod- Fill the unwanted holes through foundation walls, or other areas of air infiltration you cannot fix yet.


Vinegar- White vinegar is cheap useful cleaner that kills organic matter.  Put it in a pump sprayer for killing weeds.  Many “happy” cleaners contain it, but have some on hand when you need a stronger cleaner.  There is even a new pressure treated wood that uses rice vinegar, not harmful chemicals!


Wet/Dry vac- Get a high efficiency filter and a bag (the bag saves the filter from clogging). You do not need a HEPA filter unless you are cleaning lead dust or asbestos.  Just having a HEPA filter does not make it a HEPA vacuum.  It needs to be Underwriter Laboratory approved to be a real HEPA vacuum.  Do not use a household vacuum to clean up fine dust, like plaster.  It can kill it. 


Paint scrapers- They can be used for more than paint prep.  The 5 and 1, pull scraper, profile scraper kit, putty knives (flexible and hard), spackle knives.  Sometimes a pull scraper is all you need to make a door fit or a window operate.


Rags- Old cotton shirts or buy the pack.  Never, ever use a solvent then throw the wet rag away, it can spontaneously combust.  Lay it out or over the edge of a garbage can and let it dry.


Electrical testers.  There are two kinds that are essential.  First, a GFCI circuit tester plugs in the outlet and has 3 lights that tell you different things.  It checks for correct wiring, open ground, reverse polarity, open hot, open neutral, hot on neutral, hot and ground reversed with open hot and ground fault interruption in 3-wire.

Second, there are simple non-contact voltage testers where you just touch the tip to a terminal strip, outlet, or supply cord. When the tip glows red and the unit beeps, you know there’s voltage present.


Thermostats. Switch to the digital kind, you can program it and save energy.


Light bulbs- Forget the hype.  If it glows and saves energy, then use it.  CFL’s have some toxic components, but so does most stuff we buy.  This is a matter of saving resources and using less.  And the more we buy, the faster the technology will improve.


Drips and runs- fix you faucets, toilets and water stuff.  Not only is it annoying but incredibly wasteful.  If you go online and type in the manufacturer’s name and add “specifications” you can narrow it down until you find the diagram or instructions you need.


And the list goes on and on, but this is a good start.

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