Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

Guide to Renting Specialty Tools for Home Improvement Projects

By: Danny Lipford

Watch this video to find out about specialty tools to rent for your next project, as well as some innovative new tools for your shop.

Specialty Tools to Rent

While every DIYer needs a good set of tools to have on hand, sometimes it makes more sense to rent tools you don’t use very often, rather than buying them.

Specialty tools that are available to rent at tool rental centers include:

  • Wet saw
  • Motorized floor scraper
  • Jamb saw
  • Wood floor drum sander
  • Wood floor edge sander
  • Nail gun
  • Paint sprayer
  • Texture sprayer
  • Motorized trencher
  • Plate compactor
  • Lawn aerator
  • Garden tiller
  • Motorized posthole auger
  • Snowblower

Innovative New Tools

We also took a look at some cool new tools you might want to consider for your shop, including:

  • Combo bit screwdriver
  • Screwdriver with LED lighted tip
  • Cordless tools with lithium-ion batteries
  • Adjustable protractor
  • Digital level
  • Inspection camera
  • Boots with traction grip soles

Read episode article to find out more.

Print   Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner we’re checking out tools, but not just any tools, we want the right tool for the job at hand and that means something different for everyone. So stick around we might have the right tool for your next project.

No matter what project you’re taking on at your house it can be a lot easier and you’ll get those professional results if you use the right materials and the right tools. Now for many people when they’re looking for that specialized tool that search starts right here. It’s the tool rental center at the local Home Depot and they have tools in here I’ll bet you didn’t even know existed.

Now, you know a lot of people are taking on ceramic tile projects around their house these days or maybe putting a brick patio out in the backyard, well if you are this is the tool you just have to rent. It’s a wet saw, and it rents for about $55 to $60 a day.

Now here’s why it works so well. You have a specially designed blade that will cut right through that ceramic or brick pavers, and it’ll get a little warm so you have to have water here that is distributed onto the blade to keep it nice and cool and that water re-circulates from a reservoir that you have down below.

Now when you’re at the rental center you’ll want to tell the person there what type of project you’re doing because you may have one blade for ceramic and if you’re cutting these big thick bricks you may need another type of blade but you can just make the project so much more enjoyable and like I say it’ll look like a professional did it.

Now you may be taking on another type of flooring project around the house and they’ve got a lot of tools that will make those jobs a lot easier too. When people remodel their kitchens and baths one of the most popular upgrades is replacing the old vinyl floors with ceramic ones.

The removing that vinyl and the glue that holds it is the most difficult part of the process if you do it by hand. This, however, is a motorized floor scraper, and it’s designed specifically for this job. The vibrating knife-like blade peels up the flooring quickly and efficiently, saving sore muscles and blisters for do-it-yourselfers and the labor costs for the pros.

Adding new flooring often requires you to trim door casings and though it can be done with a handsaw, the quickest way is with a jamb saw. You simply adjust it to the height the molding should be cut, and zip it’s done.

Now, if you’re refinishing wood floors you will, no doubt, need to get acquainted with one of these. Though a drum sander will give you a workout, it’s far less tedious than sanding a floor by hand. But it won’t get you up close to your walls and corners so for that you’ll need an edge sander. Now these two tools help speed up floor refinishing, because they remove material so aggressively, so in other words, be careful or you can really make a mess.

Allen Lyle: One of my favorite tools of all time is the nail gun, so convenient. But before you rush out and buy one, you need to understand there are different types of guns for different purposes. What do you need it for?

Well, this is of course a framing gun, good for three-and-half-inch nails down to what I’m using is actually driving in some little two-inch ring shank siding nails. But for most homeowners I would say try out a finish nailer.

They are great for any type of inside work like hanging baseboards, inside shelving. You can also use them for the hobbyist for making picture frames. They’re great! But before you buy a gun keep this in mind. There’s more of an investment than just the gun.

For example, you’ve got to have a good quality air compressor and of course the hose that goes with it. Now here’s the question you have to ask yourself, is it worth the investment to buy all of those tools?

Well, here’s the way I look at it. You could actually take one of these guns and for maybe, oh, let’s say an hour of your day, take care of the work you need or you can swing one of these for about eight hours. You decide.

Danny Lipford: Now, if painting is a job you want to speed up, then spraying is the way to go. Exterior painting, in particular, can be done much more quickly with the help of an airless sprayer, which is basically a pump that forces paint through a nozzle to coat a surface.

While this is quicker than a brush or roller it also offers less control, particularly on a windy day. You can rent an airless sprayer for between 50 and 75 dollars a day or you can buy one from 600 to 900 dollars.

Now, if you have a smaller project, maybe you’re painting a little piece of furniture or wanting to give your storage building out in the yard a fresh look then a consumer design spray unit like this may be just the thing. They’re available between 100 dollars and 60 dollars.

Now, chances are when you’re painting inside your house you may have a little texture to match. Maybe it’s on the wall or the ceiling and if it’s a small patch on the ceiling you can use acoustic patch that’s available in a can.

If it’s a larger repair that you’re working with you may need to get a hold of one of these. It’s a hopper gun that rents for about 25 dollars a day, or you can buy one for around 80 dollars. And it hooks right to an air compressor, you’re able to mix up some texture, put in here and you’ll able to match exactly the way your ceiling is in your house.

You can also apply the texture to the walls, it’s something that’s very popular these days to create a little more interest on those walls.

You know every week we get some very favorable emails about our Simple Solutions segment. Joe always does a great job, and here’s another great tip from Joe.

Joe Truini: Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a professional contractor, at the end of the day, the electric tools typically look like this with the power cord wrapped tightly around the tool.

Now the problem with that is that it puts undue strain on the cord itself, which can lead to premature failure, and then you have to replace the power cord. So I’ve discovered an easier and better way to keep control of the cord.

What you want to do is first just wrap up the cord itself, not on the tool but just by itself into five or six inch loops and then to hold it in place I use these Velcro bands that I’ve discovered that the super markets have been using on the heads of lettuce. And they’re about half inch long, excuse me about half inch wide and about 18 inches long, so they’re just the right length for holding these cords.

You simply wrap it around, goes around several times, which is good because it holds it really tight and then when you’re done you can see that the cord is intact and it not only works for power cords but also for extension cords and also for rope. And the best thing of all is that it’s totally free.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re talking about choosing the right tool for just about any project that you may be taking on at your house, and that includes those outdoor projects. You know if you have a yard of any size at all it’s a good idea to buy the right mower for your size yard, maintain it real well and the thing will just last forever.

Also I recommend getting a bagger to go along with your lawnmower because that makes keeping all of the leaves off your yard a lot easier than using a rake and a few garbage bags.

Now, there’s other projects that you may do outside that you’ll only do maybe once or twice a year, or in some cases once in the lifetime of your home, and that’s the kind of project we’re about to take on.

This is a trencher, and we’re about to bury several hundred feet of plastic pipe for an irrigation system in the backyard. And this is one of the smaller type trenchers that we were able to rent at the rental center. And it’ll cut a very narrow trench, about 16 to 18 inches deep, perfect for an irrigation system.

But if you’re running some larger pipe, maybe for a drain line or other type of plumbing that’s larger than that you can buy or rent one of the trenchers that will cut that size hole and will go up to about four feet deep. But this should work perfect for all of the plastic pipe we’re about to bury and a heck of a lot easier than using one of these.

Now, if you’re pouring concrete for a foundation, a patio, or a driveway, you want to pack down the dirt, not dig it up. And for that you need a plate compactor to compress the dirt or gravel that your concrete will rest on.

For a healthy lawn you want the opposite effect, and that calls for an aerator. Basically this tool digs hundreds of little plugs out of your yard to loosen the soil so that it can absorb water and nutrients more easily. It also makes for a great workout.

If you’re cultivating the soil for a vegetable garden or prepping the ground to plant a new lawn you’ll want a tiller. And this is another real good time saver, but there’s several different sizes and varieties, so you’ll want to make sure you tell the rental pro exactly what the application is and how much you have to do so that they can guide you to the right model for your project.

The same is true of the cold weather cousin to the tiller, the snow blower. Chances are good you’ll buy one of these things if you live in a climate where it’s needed. But the style and size of the model you choose has everything to do with your situation. In fact it may be that all you really need is a good snow shovel.

When you’re faced with a task of shoveling a little snow this has been the tool of choice for many, many years but there’s a new shovel in town and one that’s ergonomically designed to make it a little easier to take on this task and reduce the chance of injury to your lower back.

With this curved handle you’re able to stand a lot more upright when you’re shoveling, which will reduce that back strain and it’s an extremely light weight shovel so it’s really easy to use.

Big handle allows you to get that gloved hand in there. And it’s made out of material that will prevent snow from sticking to it, so it doesn’t get over weighted and real, real heavy to use. So pretty good way of making this task much, much easier; but where’s Allen when I really need him?

Allen Lyle: Well, I’m not digging in the snow, that’s for sure.

You know they say that good fences make good neighbors. And if you’ve got a project that includes being neighborly and digging quite a few holes, well the one tool that you do not want to use is this. It’s a post hole digger.

Oh, it’ll get the job done, but plan on spending the better part of the day if not longer using it. Some very sore muscles and if you’re not accustomed to this type of work some blisters.

Right here, this is the right tool for this job, it’s called an auger, which is really just a fancy name for a gas powered hole digger. Now to be honest with you, you’re not going to use this very much, so don’t buy one. This is one you want to rent. For a one-man auger like this, about 65 dollars a day.

Here’s a better idea, get someone to help you. For a two-man auger, about 75 dollars a day. You can see it does come with different size bits, starts about six inches diameter and up, really depends on the hole you have to dig.

Now is it worth it? Well consider this. It’s about as easy to operate as a lawn mower, just pull of a cord and you are the king or queen of digging holes. As far as the time you’ll save, well think about this, for every eight hours you’re going to spend on that post hole digger, this will cut it down to about one hour.

Emilie Barta: There are plenty of remodeling mistakes that Danny can tell us about. And one that definitely makes the list is installing items that are not level or plumb. But take a look at this latest offering from Ryobi tools.

This is their new air grip, ProCross, self-leveling laser; and it takes cool to a whole new level, if you’ll pardon the pun. Now, it’s perfect for the do-it-yourselfer and the professional alike.

The three-function laser provides the user with horizontal, vertical, and intersecting laser beams up to 50 feet in any direction. The air grip means that you can place it on almost any surface for a vacuum fit without marring the surface. Or you can just mount it on any standard tripod.

Now since it’s self-leveling, you don’t have to worry about aligning bubbles. And the fine adjustment knob allows rotation of the horizontal housing a full 360 degrees and up to one inch of vertical change without repositioning the tool.

So whether you are putting up chair rails, ceramic tile, or just hanging a picture; the ProCross self-leveling laser is the way to go to make your project mistake free.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re looking at the importance of having the right tool for any job you may take on around your house, and Allen and I have a few more we want to share with you.

Now, no toolbox is complete without a few rolls of tape. Now, sometimes to make some very temporary repairs you need strong tape, like duct tape. This is the traditional type of duct tape that you’re familiar with, and this is a transparent type. They’re available in more and more different colors and all, but when you really want to hold something together that’s the way to go.

But if you want a tape that’s, say, a little more sensitive, if you’re doing a little decorative painting, then the Scotch-Blue tape, painter’s tape, is what you’ll want to use. You can apply that to a surface, take care of all of the painting, and after it dries, pull it right back up without any residue being left on the surface that you’re working on. Whereas regular masking tape can cause you problems when that’s concerned.

Now, here’s another type of material that’s made out of the blue painters tape, that has little corners that allow you to paint around a wooden sash window. And also real convenient to take a couple of these and put over your hinges that you want to keep from painting, so an essential tool for any toolbox.

Allen Lyle: And a lot of applications for tape, but some of the tools we’re looking at are very specific, this is one of them. This is a combo drive screwdriver, and it’s perfect for those combination screw heads.

Danny Lipford: You see those all the time on ceiling fans, anybody that has installed a ceiling fan has seen these things.

Allen Lyle: Little electrical outlets, I used to hate these things. But, I mean, you think about it, OK it’s great for a slot head or Phillips, but both of those do have a tendency to slip. So you take the combo, and actually it fits perfectly in there, grabs and will not let go.

Now, a lot of people, though, are trying to get away from the hand tools, and like me, I’m a little lazy, I like the cordless tools. They also make the same combo drive in the bits for that.

Danny Lipford: Boy the compact drills like this, the cordless drills are really popular for a lot of reasons. You have a smaller handle, it’s just as strong as some of the bigger drills, it’s a lithium-ion battery, it’ll power it real well. Something that a lot of people like is that it’s small enough that you can slip it right in your kitchen drawer so that’s it right there when you need it.

Now, here’s another screwdriver that I received recently from a manufacturer, and the neat thing about this is that it allows you to work in any of those little dark corners, say under a kitchen vanity or maybe you’re working in an electrical box where you need the light. And I can even check on your dental work there Allen, oh yeah looks pretty rough.

Allen Lyle: You know when I first started out in construction, I was doing some carpentry work, finished carpentry, and that of course means the baseboards, chair rail, crown mold. And I found out, and I’m sure you’ve discovered this, too, that not every corner of your house is perfectly square.

Well, to find that angle just right, a protractor is perfect for that because this you can actually set in the corner. One side there against the wall, push that against the other wall, and you will have the exact reading of that angle of the corner.

Danny Lipford: We’ve found these things have been really convenient in a lot of the specialty ceilings that we’ve been working with where you have these recessed areas that you’re wanting to run crown molding. You can use that to really capture that exact angle that you need.

Allen Lyle: Now, if you want to step up the cool factor and get rid of these, check this out. This is also the same thing as a protractor, but it’s the digital readout. Very large, and easy to use.

Danny Lipford: And easy to read. Now, also you still have the level function and everything on there.

Allen Lyle: Right, and you can even use this to find the pitch of your roof.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, OK, so that finds pitches of roofs and different angles. Here’s something that a little technology here that allows you to maybe find that ring that fell down in the drain line.

All right this is from Ridgid, it’s a SeeSnake, has a flexible shaft on it in here. You turn this on and the light comes on on the end, and you can look through the monitor and see exactly what’s lurking down under water, whether it’s a waterway looking at the fish, or looking down in the drain to be able to see what’s there.

Then once you see it you’re going to want to grab it, well it’s got a little hook that clips right on there for you to grab it. Also, has one that’s got a little magnet on it and even one with a little mirror that you can see around the corner. It’s pretty cool.

Allen Lyle: That’s a cool one.

Danny Lipford: Well, what’s the deal here?

Allen Lyle: You’ve been looking at these skeptically.

Danny Lipford: So you needed some new boots, huh?

Allen Lyle: They are, they’re great boots but this is a tool, believe or not. Now, shortly after hurricane Katrina I was doing some insurance adjusting work, I would not get on a roof without these boots. Now, it’s not so much what you see up here, it’s the underside. You’ve got this traction grip sole on these things that are just, I mean it will grab a hold of the roof. I have actually be on a ten, twelve pitch roof and not fallen down.

Danny Lipford: OK, we’ll get the cameras and go out and let you try that out. That should prove to be a pretty good video. Well, you can see there’s so many different tools that are available for those jobs around the house. And of course we have a lot of information on the tools you’ve seen on this week show, as well as others, on our website at dannylipford.com.

Allen Lyle: And speaking of the website that’s also a great place to find out the answers to all kinds of questions you may have. And speaking of that, let’s look at one of your questions right now.

Liz: Hey Danny, my husband wants to buy every tool he sees, can you talk some sense into him?

Danny Lipford: Well, I may not be the best person to answer that, because if I see a tool that I don’t have I just have to have it. But unless you have an unlimited tool budget, this is where it really pays to examine the option of renting that tool.

Now, a good example of that is a garden tiller. For about two or three hundred dollars you can buy one of these. And you’ll have it whenever you need it, and really it’s a great tool to have around the house. But here’s what you need to ask yourself. When would you use the tool again? If the answer is six months or more, then you probably don’t need to buy it.

You can rent this for only about 40 dollars a day, get the job done quickly and not even have to worry about any maintenance. So before making another major tool purchase, ask yourself how often the tool would be used, and consider the option of renting.

This week we’ve looked at several tools that will help you through your next weekend home improvement project, whether that involves putting in some new flooring, dressing up the surfaces inside your home, or maybe putting a fresh coat of paint outside. We even found some tools for the great outdoors that should spare you a few blisters. Not to mention a few new problem solving innovations that are just plain cool.

Allen Lyle: I’m thinking of at least half a dozen things we could have used this for on a job.

Danny Lipford: I know it’s a great idea. I could think of a few myself, but I wonder with it being waterproof like they say, could you really use it as a fish finder, that would be great.

Allen Lyle: Yeah, it’ll help you find the fish, it won’t help you catch them.

Danny Lipford: Oh, come on. Hey, there are so many different tools that are available to make those projects around your house go a little smoother and plus we’ve shared with you a lot of them but there’s more on our website at dannylipford.com.

Hey, thanks for being with us this week, we’ll see you next week here on Today’s Homeowner.

The house has a great view but they need a room to enjoy it from. Next week, a sunroom addition.

If you would like to purchase a DVD copy of this week’s show, visit our website at dannylipford.com, or call us at 1-800-946-4420.



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