DIY Frequently Asked Questions


Loose-Fill Insulation

  • Comes compacted in bags and is poured or blown into walls and between joists of the attic floor.
  • Good for retrofitting insulation into previously uninsulated homes.
  • Each bag is labeled according to federal specifications for both mineral wool and cellulose. Left column lists the R-value, second column tells how many bags are needed to cover 1,000 square feet of attic floor area, the third column gives the minimum thickness after completing the job.
  • Some manufacturers have two columns on thickness for loose-fill and cellulose insulation. The second of these is labeled “settled density”. This is important since cellulose settles quickly.
  • Types include fiberglass rock wool and cellulose. Cellulose is made from waste paper that has been treated to be fire retardant. It is also less likely to cause skin irritation.

Roll Insulation

  • Comes in continuous rolls that vary in width and thickness.
  • Usually installed between open ceiling joists and wall studs.
  • Has a vapor barrier that should be installed with the vapor barrier toward the interior or heated area. Mend torn vapor barriers with tape.
  • Available in R-values of R-11, R-13, R-19 and R-25. Thicknesses range from 3-1/2” to 8”.

Batt Insulation

  • Sold in either pre-cut or perforated into shorter lengths.
  • Use is similar to roll insulation, but best for use where there are many cross beams or other obstructions.
  • Available in R-values of R-11, R-13, R-15, R-19, R-21, R-22, R-30 and R-38. Thicknesses range from 3-1/2” to 12”.
  • Batts installed in wall should not be compressed to fit. Also, do not stuff behind wires. Rather, cut to fit around them.

Encapsulated Insulation

  • Batt and roll insulation encapsulated for easier handling.
  • Encapsulation enables the insulation to breathe and prevents condensation build-up.
  • Easier to handle by reducing dust and other irritants associated with insulation installation.
  • The non-woven type tends to stay in place better than plastic-wrap insulation. This product must meet all building code requirements for flame spread resistance, as it is flammable.

Rigid Insulation

  • Can be used on the interior or exterior of the house, or on basement walls.
  • Usually comes in board form in a variety of sizes ranging from 8” squares to 4’ x 12’ sheets.
  • Some types are made of fiberboard and are popular because of their durability and low cost. Fiberboard repels water, while the asphalt coating eliminates the need for building paper.
  • Another type is made of extruded polystyrene. It is very resistant to moisture and is most highly recommended for below-ground use.
  • Molded polystyrene board is another type that dissipates water well.
  • Another type is polyisocyanurate sheathing that is available with aluminum foil or glass fiber mat facers. This type has the highest R-value per inch of thickness of all insulation products.

Foam Insulation

  • Comes in a liquid spray form that quickly foams and hardens.
  • May have a higher insulating value than blown-in materials, but is more expensive and still subject to shrinking.
  • For use only on closed, properly vented exterior wall cavities. It should be sealed from exposure to the interior with vapor- and fume-resistant paints.
  • Also suited for sealing cracks around windows, doors and constructions seams.
  • Best for professional installation.

Foam Sealant

  • Installs similar to foam insulation, but comes in an aerosol can and is best for do-it-yourself use.
  • Best used for permanently sealing irregular gaps around the home, such as plumbing feed-thrus, electrical outlets, vents, etc.
  • After curing, it can be trimmed, sanded and painted.
  • When installing, only fill the area about 33 percent and the expanding foam will fill and seal the rest of the area.
  • Formulations include triple-expanding for general-purpose sealing and insulating; minimal-expanding for windows and door frames; and fast drying for multi-step projects such as filling a crack before painting.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when applying.
  • Remove wet foam with acetone or acetone-based nail polish remover. Cured foam is difficult to remove from skin and clothes.

Reflective Foil Insulation

  • Radiant BarrierOne type is made of foil and poly to trap air between the sheets of foil, generally using bubble pack.
  • A second type expands when installed between stud spaces. The resistance to heat flow depends on the heat flow direction. This type of insulation is most effective in reducing downward heat flow.
  • Comes in long rolls of various widths.
  • May be used in conjunction with many different building materials and cut to fit any shape.
  • Typically installed between roof rafters, floor joists or wall studs.
  • When a single reflective surface is used alone and faces an open space such as an attic, then it is called a radiant barrier.

Pipe Insulation

  • For insulating water pipes from freezing in the winter. It also helps control heat loss when pipes carry hot water and controls condensation and dripping.
  • Available in preformed insulating tubes that fit over the pipe.
  • Another type comes in batt form, which can be wrapped around the pipe.

Felt Weather Strip

  • Least expensive type of weather stripping, but also has the shortest life.
  • Installs by gluing, nailing or stapling to the frame or molding around doors so the door will close snugly and quietly against it.
  • A good choice when appearance is no concern.
  • Available in a variety of widths, thicknesses and quality.
  • Reinforced felt weather strip is sturdier and designed to last longer.

Adhesive-Backed Foam Tape

  • Installed by pressing into position and sticking permanently.
  • Requires no nails or tools.
  • One type, pressure-sensitive sponge rubber tape, is suited for larger problem areas.
  • Another type, pressure-sensitive vinyl foam or felt, is for average sealing.
  • Closed-cell PVC foam compresses to fill irregular gaps and can be used outdoors.
  • Open-cell foam is for inside use only.
  • High-density foam is extremely durable and long lasting.

V-Type Weather Strip

  • Once the door is closed, the open ends of the V shape close together, with one end of the V touching the door and the other adhered to the door.
  • Forms an airtight seal.
  • Spring-metal tension strips are more difficult to install than adhesive-backed tension strips made of vinyl, but are the best permanent type.

Caulking Cord

  • Temporarily fills large gaps around windows.
  • Consists of soft, rope-like strands of weather strip with the consistency of modeling clay.
  • Easily applied by hand and remains pliable so it can be removed when the weather warms.
  • Paintable and will not harden or dry out.

Vinyl Gasket Weather Strip

  • Weather stripping that cushions as it seals.
  • Can be used in places with warping or irregularities.

Door Jamb Weather Strip

  • Used to seal the sides and top of a door to shut out drafts and insects.
  • Available in a variety of forms, including roll-formed and extruded aluminum with vinyl bulbs or flaps.

Door Sweep

  • Seals the bottom of an exterior door, preventing drafts, water, noise, light and insects.
  • Usually made of aluminum extrusions with vinyl flaps.
  • Screws into the lower part of the door.
  • Some types lift automatically when the door is raised.
  • Another type is an aluminum extrusion with a rain-drip flange to prevent the flow of water off a door from collecting on a threshold and flowing under a door.
  • Another type is an adhesive-backed plastic door sweep.

Door Shoe

  • Made of extruded aluminum and vinyl.
  • Attached to the bottom of a door to help form a seal between the door and the threshold.
  • Used primarily in conjunction with a smooth top aluminum threshold to form a proper seal.
  • More durable and provides a better weather seal than a door sweep.

Aluminum Screening

  • Resilient, rustproof, fire resistant and melt-proof.
  • Comes in three standard finishes: bright aluminum, charcoal and black.
  • The black finish offers the best outward visibility and is recommended for decks, patios, porches or other applications.
  • Standard mesh is 18×16 (the number or strands per square inch). It is small enough to screen out most insects.
  • Standard widths are 24” and 48”, with many manufacturers offering 54”, 60” and 72” as special order.

Fiberglass Screening

  • Rustproof, corrosion proof and flame retardant.
  • Available in a variety of colors and meshes, with silver gray and charcoal and 18×16 mesh being the most popular.
  • A fine-woven 20×20 mesh is used primarily in coastal areas where very tiny flying insects are a problem.
  • Large areas such as a pool enclosure may use a 18×14 mesh.
  • Standard widths are 24” and 48”, with many manufacturers offering 54”, 60” and 72” as special order.

Bronze Screening

  • Offers a nostalgic look for accenting old homes.
  • Made of 90 percent copper and 10 percent zinc.
  • Screen weathers to a dark finish.

Screen Spline

  • Inserted into grooves in screen frame after screen is tucked in to hold screen in place.
  • Tightens screen onto frame by pulling screen tight.
  • Available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses to fit different size screen channels.

Solar Screen

  • Used in place of regular insect screening and blocks out most of the sun’s heat while serving as an insect barrier.
  • Available in aluminum material or as fiberglass ribbed-weave mesh.
  • Helps save energy; aluminum screens can reduce incoming heat by as much as 87 percent and fiberglass solar screen can reduce incoming heat by 70 percent.
  • Available in the same widths and colors as regular screen.

Window Film

  • Plastic used as window film can be used to reduce heat, prevent heat loss to lower heating and cooling costs and to reduce fade and glare.
  • Can block up to 98 percent of UV radiation and about 80 percent of normal heat gain.
  • Film made of polyester is coated with water-activated or pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side and with a scratch-resistant coating on the other side.
  • Dyed films absorb heat and give a tinted appearance.
  • Metallic films can be clear or reflective. Use this type on double-glazed windows.

Glazing Compound

  • Is a long-lasting material used for glazing wood or metal sash.
  • It remains semi-elastic under a smooth, firm, wrinkle-free film that forms when the material sets.
  • It does not dry rock-hard and is easier to remove when reglazing.
  • It resists cold, heat and moisture and is used for patching or sealing small openings or cracks.
  • Glazing can be tinted with oil color.

Drywall Joint Compound

  • Is used in drywall construction as a bedding compound for the joint tape and to finish seams between drywall.
  • It is available in powder or ready-mixed form and comes in quarts, gallons and 5-gallon pails. Some ready-mixed types may also be used as texture paint.
  • One pound is sufficient for four lineal yards of joint surfaces.

Patching Plaster

  • Is a fast-setting powder ready to use by adding water.
  • It dries hard to uniform, white color.
  • It repairs and covers large holes and deep cracks in plaster walls and ceilings.
  • Patching plaster may be drilled, sanded and painted and can be textured to match existing surface.

Plaster of Paris

  • Is a quick-setting white powder used to repair wallboard, plaster walls and ceilings, set bathroom wall fixtures—towel racks, soap dishes, etc.—and for art projects.
  • It usually hardens within 30 minutes.
  • No more water than necessary should be added; when water evaporates, the plaster shrinks.

Rust Remover

  • Cuts through and dissolves rust from metal surfaces to form a metal shield that can be painted.
  • In jellied form, it clings well to vertical surfaces.
  • When brushed on, the rust dissolves quickly.
  • These products are extremely harsh on the skin; protective gloves should be worn.
  • The solution is applied with a stiff brush or aerosol spray and allowed to dry for 12 to 24 hours, depending on humidity (check manufacturer labeling and literature).


  • Fast acting thinner, cleaner and remover for resins, inks, adhesives and contact cement.
  • Also used for thinning and cleaning fiberglass.
  • A heavy degreaser, it can be used as a metal cleaner prior to painting.

Methyl Ethyl Ketone

  • MEKFast evaporating clear, colorless solvent.
  • Has solvent characteristics and strengths similar to acetone but is water soluble.
  • Primarily used to thin lacquers and vinyl acetate and vinyl chloride copolymers.


  • High solvency thinner for oil based paint, lacquers, varnish and adhesives.
  • Also used to thin certain primers and topcoats.
  • Soluble in alcohol and insoluble in water.
  • Dries quickly.
  • Also used to clean tools and equipment.

Naphtha (VM & P)

  • Fast evaporating, clear, colorless solvent.
  • Used primarily to thin oil paints, varnishes and enamels for spray applications where mineral spirits drying time is too slow.

Xylol (Xylene)

  • XyleneMedium evaporating, clear, colorless aromatic hydrocarbon solvent for thinning varnishes and rubber.

White Glue

  • Also known as polyvinyl acetate (PVA).
  • A non-waterproof adhesive used mostly for interior woodworking jobs where a waterproof joint is not required.
  • Usually packaged in plastic squeeze bottles, these inexpensive, milky-white glues dry clear and are fast setting.
  • Bonds paper, fabric, cardboard, cork and leather, as well as wood.
  • Can withstand a moderate amount of strain and cleans up easily with soap and water.
  • Non toxic and non flammable.

Woodworkers’ Glue

  • Carpenters' GlueAlso called carpenter’s glue.
  • Has a faster grab than white glue (set time is usually within 15 minutes).
  • Is usually tinted an off-white or yellow.
  • Woodworkers’ glue is used in applications where better water resistance, heat resistance and ease of sanding are desired.
  • Aliphatic wood glue, a general-purpose adhesive, is also popular among people who are doing woodwork, including those building or repairing furniture.
  • Non toxic and non flammable.

Instant-Setting Glue

  • Super GlueAlso called Super Glue (cyanoacrylates), this glue creates a strong, instant bond with a small amount of glue.
  • Regular cyanoacrylates will bond almost all non-porous materials such as ceramic, some plastics, rubber, metal or synthetics.
  • Comes in gel form.
  • Should be handled with extreme care and kept off of skin.


  • One of the strongest adhesives known, epoxy is designed primarily for the bonding of non-porous surfaces, but can also be used effectively on wood.
  • Available in clear, white or metallic finish.
  • Most epoxies come in two parts: a resin and a hardener (or “catalyst”) which must be mixed together before the adhesive is used. Once mixed, the material will set permanently in a specified length of time—most will permanently bond, even under water.
  • The bond will withstand most solvents when curing is complete.
  • Excellent for sealing gaps and will withstand vibration and shock.
  • Can be used on pipes, radiators, wood, metal, ceramic tile, china, marble, glass and masonry.
  • Since epoxy is toxic and flammable, use extreme caution when handling.

Polyurethane Glue

  • Is a one-part adhesive offering the strength of an epoxy without mixing.
  • Generally requires 4 to 24 hours to fully cure, but it does bond to most materials.
  • Cures in the presence of moisture, so wetting one or both materials to be joined is required.
  • Good for a bond between either similar or dissimilar surfaces an is commonly used in woodworking.
  • Waterproof, sandable, paintable and stainable.

Contact Cement

  • Can be used on many surfaces, but the joints it makes may come apart under a heavy load.
  • Good to bond laminates to countertops and cabinets, or to glue plastic foam, hardboard or metal to wood.
  • Instant adhesion makes contact cement difficult to use. It bonds immediately without clamping and resists water, temperature extremes and fungi.
  • Contact cement is most effective when one or both surfaces are porous or semi-porous.
  • Contains solvents that should be allowed to flash off before assembly. Non-flammable versions are available.

Resorcinol Glue

  • Is two-component adhesive of liquid resin and powdered catalyst.
  • Used in wood joints, it cures under pressure in 10 hours at 70° F.
  • Ideal for exterior structural applications because of its waterproof and weatherproof qualities.

Silicone Rubber Adhesive

  • Ideal for strong, flexible joints on wood, dissimilar surfaces such as metal, rubber, glass, ceramics, brick, wood and polystyrene foam.

Plastic Resin Glue

  • Is powdered urea formaldehyde glue.
  • When mixed with water, it makes highly water-resistant bonds.
  • Frequently used for furniture repair, it is applied to clean, close-fitting surfaces and cured under pressure for at least 10 hours at 70° F.
  • The finished glue is non-toxic and impervious to most materials.

Construction Adhesive

  • Also known as mastic, which is a general term for any thick adhesive.
  • Used in heavy-duty bonding and construction, mastics are usually applied with a caulking gun or trowel.
  • Reduces the need for screws, nails and other fasteners.
  • Flexible and waterproof qualities make them ideal for outdoor applications.
  • Can be used to join flooring and sub-flooring, paneling, drywall and roofing, molding, tile, masonry and concrete, metal and wood.

Water-Based Caulk

  • Latex CaulkGenerally referred to as latex caulks and sealants, water-based caulks are the easiest to work with because they apply easily, are paintable, have little odor and clean up with water.
  • Ideal curing conditions are warm (above 40 degrees), dry weather.
  • Effective for filling gaps in baseboard and trim, as well as for caulking around interior window and door frames.
  • Generally available in cartridges ranging from 10-12 oz. as well as convenient squeeze tubes ranging from 4 oz. to 6 oz.
  • Vinyl Latex Caulk usually effective for five years and is most effective on small cracks in baseboards and little gaps around windows. Vinyl latex is non-flammable and paintable but not very flexible. It hardens over time.
  • Acrylic Latex Caulk is a general-purpose caulk—more flexible than vinyl latex caulks. It is water-based, easy to apply, non-flammable and cleans with water. It adheres to most surfaces—best on wood and masonry—and it can be painted shortly after application. It is available in pigments that allow it to match many surfaces. It remains effective for 10 to 15 years. However, it is not recommended for an area that is subject to excessive water collection. It is flexible and it maintains that flexibility over time. It should not be applied in temperatures of less than 40° F.
  • Tub and Tile Caulk is a specialty performance caulk with added mildewcide to protect against mildew growth in the areas prone to moisture (kitchens, bathrooms). Some tub and tile caulks are more flexible and crack-resistant. Many formulations include adhesives that combine a sealant and adhesive in one. Like other latex caulks, they apply easily, are non-flammable, clean up with water, and are paintable and mildew resistant. They are available in a variety of colors.

Siliconized Acrylic Caulk

  • Combines silicone with acrylic latex formulas for improved water resistance.
  • This medium-performance, water-based caulk can withstand greater movement than acrylic latex.
  • Can be used for interior or exterior with good adhesion, even to glass and ceramic tile.
  • It also comes in a variety of colors as well as clear formulas.
  • It applies easily (though best applied in temperatures above 40° F), is non-flammable, paintable, mildew-resistant and cleans with water.
  • It endures moderate temperature changes, with a life expectancy of about 25-35 years.

Silicone Caulk

  • Is good for use around bathtubs and sinks because it resists mold and mildew.
  • It is water resistant and provides excellent adhesion to smooth surfaces, such as metal, glass and tile, but it does not adhere to masonry.
  • Remains flexible after curing and is not affected by UV radiation.
  • Paint will also not stick to most silicones and it is difficult to apply.
  • Does not adhere well to wood.
  • Non toxic.
  • Can be applied at nearly any temperature.
  • Must be cleaned up with solvents.

Polyurethane Foam

  • Used for a variety of jobs, most often around electrical outputs, pipe penetrations and large voids or openings where the elements can infiltrate a structure.
  • It expands to fill gaps, holes and voids and is good for insulation purposes.
  • It is easy to apply, cures quickly, is paintable and offers good adhesion.
  • Available in different expansion rate formulas.

Butyl Rubber Sealants

  • Are solvent-based, with a life expectancy of two to 10 years.
  • Butyl rubber is good for sealing out water in lap joints, such as gutters. It is also a good choice for metals and masonry, as well as outside for chimneys.
  • Probably the best waterproofing sealant for below-grade applications, such as foundations.
  • Stringy, difficult to apply and slow curing, they are most efficient when applied to openings between similar surfaces.
  • Not recommended for openings wider or deeper than 1/4″ or in 90° corners.
  • These sealants offer low to moderate movement capabilities.

Synthetic Rubber Caulk

  • A relative newcomer to the caulk category, synthetic rubber caulk is perhaps the most flexible product on the market.
  • Cures clear and is ideal for exterior joints that typically expand and contract.
  • Can be applied in adverse weather conditions (wet and cold).
  • Stretches easily without breaking and recovers easily.
  • Great for use on roofs, wood siding and joints that frequently show movement.
  • Can be painted with latex paint.
  • Due to higher VOC content, can’t be used indoors in some parts of the country, although manufacturers have introduced low VOC formulations to the marketplace.

Modified Silicone Polymers

  • Delivers excellent performance on vinyl, fiber cement, aluminum and wood siding.
  • Combines the best characteristics of polyurethane, silicone and water-based products, offering permanent flexibility.
  • Great for applying in wet weather and low temperature applications for caulking around exterior windows, doors and vents.
  • Can be painted with latex paint.


  • Male threaded on one end with a smaller diameter female thread on the other.
  • Inserted inside a coupling to reduce the size of the pipe.
  • With a Reducer Bushing, any number of reductions can be made to reduce and couple to another size of pipe.
  • As Adapter Bushing connects different types of pipe, such as PVC to CPVC.


  • Attaches directly to pipe threads to reduce pipe size.
  • Female threaded.
  • Can refer to couplings, tees, or elbows.



  • Three female openings in a T shape.
  • Straight tees have the same size openings.
  • Reducing Tees have two openings of the same size and one of a different size.
  • Sanitary Tees are used in waste lines. They have a curved branch designed for a cleanout plug and are designed to prevent obstruction of waste.
  • A Cross has four female openings of equal size.
  • A Wing Tee has lugs for fastening the fitting to a wall or stud.
  • A Compression Tee uses compression fittings on two or more ends.
  • A Test Tee has a threaded opening to be used in conjunction with a threaded plug for a cleanout opening on a drain pipe.

Wye Bend

  • Also called a Y Bend.
  • Has three female openings. Two are straight in a line; the third is at a 45∫ angle.
  • A Reducing Wye has two openings of the same size and the third Y opening of a different size.
  • A Double Wye has four openings.


  • A three-part fitting that connects any standard size pipe where it may be necessary to disconnectt later, such as on a water heater.
  • Connects to male threaded ends.
  • Also known as a ground joint union.
  • A Transition Union joins different types of tubing, such as CPVC to brass.


  • Connects a pipe to a wall, floor or any flat surface.
  • Flanges are threaded onto pipe and tightened. Four screw holes allow the flange rim to attach to a flat surface.
  • A Closet Flange is made to connect toilets to drain and vent systems.
  • Another type is the Offset Closet Flange that is used when the drain pipe has been incorrectly positioned.
  • The adjustable ring on some closet flanges allows for easier toilet alignment.

Saddle Tee

  • Joins a smaller drainpipe to a larger one, such as a 1-1/2″ pipe to a 3″ pipe.
  • Used when installing a drain on existing plumbing. Saves the labor of cutting and rejoining the main pipe.
  • Some types are made for joining a PVC pipe to a cast iron drain.

Drop Ear Elbow

  • Provides a rigid installation for mounting an elbow to a wall.
  • Usually used for installing a shower arm or washer hose valve.
  • Some variations include fittings that can transition from plastic to brass or copper.
  • Also known as a wing elbow.

Countertop Lavatory

  • Offers the advantage of storage space under and next to the sink.
  • The mounting for vanity sinks can be self-rimming, flush-mounted, undermounted or integral. Integral sink basins are typically made of solid surfacing or cultured stone, and any damage to the sink will mean replacing the entire unit.
  • In addition to cultured stone and solid surfacing, bath sinks are made of enameled steel, vitreous china, glass, cast iron and stainless steel. Vitreous china is the most common material, since it provides a high-gloss finish and is durable and sanitary.
  • For bath vanities, 34″-36″ is a more comfortable height for adults than the typical height of 30″-32″.

Pedestal Lavatory

  • The bowl rests on a pedestal and does not have storage space underneath.
  • The most common type of pedestal is made of vitreous china, but manufacturers offer other high-end types as well.
  • More difficult to install than countertop vanities.

Utility Sink

  • Also called a laundry sink.
  • Provides an extra deep, multi-purpose single bowl for pre-washing laundry or washing out items like paint brushes not suitable or other more expensive sinks.
  • Sturdy, durable and often made of fiberglass.

Garbage Disposal

  • Uses a high-speed rotating table powered by a sealed motor, it flings kitchen waste against a stationary shredder, cutter or grinder.
  • This action, together with a full flow of cold running water that must be used while the disposal is operating, reduces the garbage to fine particles and flushes them down the drain to the sewage system.
  • Fits standard 3-1/2″ to 4″ sink drain openings and are installed under the sink drain.
  • Cold water congeals grease and prevents it from coating the drain line. Hard particles, such as bone and eggshell, actually scour the drain line as they whirl down and help keep it clean.
  • One type is the Continuous-Feed disposals. Garbage can be fed while the machine is in operation. These disposals are controlled by a wall switch and operated with a continuous flow of cold water.
  • A flexible splashguard at the disposal opening stops backsplash and helps to catch non-food items that may accidentally fall into the opening.
  • Batch-Feed disposals grind or pulverize food waste one load at a time. The hopper is filled and cold water added. When the cover is put in place, the unit begins operating. Some models have a magnetic switch control in the cover; others require a locking turn of the cover to activate the unit. No other switch is necessary. The safer design of batch-feed disposals makes them more attractive to homeowners with children.
  • A sealed motor requiring an electrical hook-up powers most garbage disposals.
  • The typical disposal has an overload switch that shuts off the motor if something is jammed.
  • Disposals will grind most garbage–from the sink and the dishwasher–but they are not intended for glass, crockery, leather, metal, newspaper, paper cartons, rubber or plastic.


  • The standard Drop-In tub installs within a tile or solid-surface surround within three walls of the bathroom, while the old-fashioned Clawfoot tubs are freestanding.
  • Standard size for tubs is 60″ wide, 30″ deep and 14″ high.
  • Whirlpool and deep tubs are designed for soaking and relaxation. These tubs can be separate or incorporate a shower combination.
  • Cast iron tubs are the most durable and do not stain or scratch easily.
  • Acrylic is a better insulating material so the water takes longer to cool, and its light weight and flexibility makes it a better choice for larger tubs.
  • Fiberglass tubs are easy to install, but are more apt to fade and scratch.
  • Tub and shower combinations are typically made of reinforced fiberglass with a polyester finish.

Tub Surround

  • Attaches to drywall, plaster or most any solid surface.
  • Comes in three or more pieces that snap or caulk together for a leak-free fit.
  • Inexpensive alternative to tile and good solution for keeping bathroom walls around the shower easy to clean.
  • Don’t forget the caulk!

Shower Stall

  • Some units come in one piece, mainly for new construction or major remodels.
  • Some units come in multiple pieces that snap or caulk together to be a leak free.
  • Easy to clean and some manufacturers claim they will not chip, crack or peel.
  • Don’t forget caulk.

Towel Bar/Towel Ring

  • Often sold in a style that matches other bathroom accessories, and some manufacturers will match them to light fixtures.
  • Mount on the wall or shower door.
  • Fancier models are stand alone and heated.
  • Sold in a variety of finishes.

Soap Dish

  • Often sold in a style that matches other bathroom accessories such as towel bars.
  • Comes either stand-alone or wall-mounted.

Grab Bar

  • Installed for safety around tubs to help prevent falls.
  • Also used as a handrail to help anyone who may have trouble sitting down or standing up.
  • Never use a towel rod in place of a grab bar.
  • Never install diagonally, as a person’s hand might slide if footing isn’t secure.

Fiberglass Asphalt Shingle

  • Has a base mat of glass fibers covered with ceramic-coated mineral granules.
  • Some types may use a polyester or fiberglass blend for the base mat.
  • An inorganic shingle.
  • Features a better fire rating and often has a longer warranty than other types of shingles.
  • Does not absorb water and resists cracking.
  • Most come with seal-down strips. These are most effective when applied in warm weather, which allows the asphalt in the strip to soften and adhere to the next shingle.
  • An inorganic-based shingle usually has a Class A fire resistance rating from the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL also tests for shingle performance in high winds. To qualify for the wind-resistance label, shingles must withstand test winds of at least 60 mph for two hours without a single tab lifting.

Three-Dimensional Asphalt Shingle

  • Also known as a laminated asphalt shingle, or architectural shingle.
  • An inorganic shingle.
  • Characterized by a more rugged texture than a standard three-tab shingle.
  • Weighs and costs more than standard shingles.
  • Made of two or more layers that are laminated to create the three-dimensional look, giving it the appearance closer to wood or slate roofing.

Roll Roofing

  • Less expensive than shingles.
  • Used on lower-slope roofs or as a supplement to shingles.
  • Comes with either a smooth or mineral-covered surface on a heavy felt base that has been saturated with asphalt and then coated on both sides with more asphalt.
  • Easy to install.
  • A typical roll roofing, known as 90-lb. granule-coated, will cover 100 square feet.
  • A 45-lb. smooth roofing, without granules, will also cover 100 square feet.
  • A properly applied roll roofing should last from 10 to 20 years.

Metal Roofing

  • Steel panels designed to cover the roof in place of shingles.
  • Designed with either exposed or hidden fasteners.
  • Metal roofing can be coated with zinc or a mixture of zinc and aluminum for rust prevention. The best steel panels are manufactured with zinc.

Clay Tile

  • A roofing material known for its durability, as it can last up to 50 years.
  • May be flat or rounded in shape, and may even have a glossy surface.
  • Can be made of clay or concrete.
  • Colors include reddish brown as well as blue and green.

Wood Shingle

  • Typically made of cedar, although composite wood shingles are available.
  • Flat shape and a smooth texture.
  • Usually 1/2” thick.
  • Wood shakes are similar, but have a rougher texture. They are usually 1/2” or 3/4” thick.
  • More difficult to install than asphalt shingles.
  • Features may include a fire-retardant coating, which only reduces, not eliminates, its flammability.


  • Strips of sheet metal or roofing material.
  • Used to make waterproof joints on a roof.
  • Some flashing may be called a “boot”. This kind is specially made to fit around a vent pipe. They are often made of plastic. It fits snugly over the pipe and then slides under the shingles for a waterproof joint.
  • Seals with flashing sealant, usually sold in a tube and applied with a caulk gun.

Drip Edge

  • L-shaped weather-resistant metal.
  • Installed at exposed roof edges (eaves) to help shed water and to protect the roof’s wood parts.

Felt Paper

  • Also called building paper.
  • Installed under shingles.
  • Composed of a tough, fibrous base saturated with asphalt.

Reinforcing Fabric

  • Used with roof cement to add strength and flexibility to surface repairs.
  • Used with cold-applied roof coatings, meaning they can be applied direct from the container with little to no heating required for application.

Plastic Roof Cement

  • A trowel-grade, general-use sealing compound.
  • Makes flashings, seams or patches in roofs and gutters water-repellent.

Cold Process Adhesive

  • Also called lap cement roof adhesive.
  • Designed to form a water-resistant and waterproof bond with most coated roll roofing products.

Ridge Vent

  • Vents exhaust from the attic and extends the life of the roof.
  • Typical widths are 9” and 12”.
  • Helps keep the attic cool and reduces air conditioning costs.
  • Helps prevent ice dams.
  • Shingle-over ridge vents incorporate shingles that match the roof and are nailed over the vent.
  • Pre-drilled holes make installation easy.
  • Most types feature baffles because ridge vents without baffles can allow wind and moisture to enter the attic.

Soffit Vent

  • An air intake on the soffit or eave.
  • Helps balance the flow of air into the attic from the ridge vent.
  • Usually made of either aluminum or PVC.
  • Reversible soffit vents can be flush or recessed mounted.

Gable Vent

  • Designed to complement most brands of vinyl siding.
  • Installs before or after the siding.
  • Requires little maintenance.
  • Features open louvered joints and built-in screens to keep out bugs and birds.
  • Comes in a variety of shapes, including octagon, pentagon, round, square, half-round or rectangular.

Power Ventilator

  • Turbine vents that consist of a turbine mounted on a sheet metal cylinder.
  • Installed like roof line vents along the face of the roof.
  • When the wind blows, it spins the turbine, which in turn draws air up out of the attic.
  • Their effectiveness depends on whether the wind is blowing or not.

Foundation Vent

  • Used to ventilate basements and crawl spaces.
  • May be constructed of steel, aluminum or plastic.
  • Used with brick, block or frame construction.

Roof Louver

  • Used for bathroom fan exhausts, kitchen duct outlets and attic ventilation.
  • Usually made of aluminum or plastic.
  • One type, wall louver, has louvered vanes and can be flush or recessed mounted.
  • Another type, the midget louver, helps contain moisture in sidewall construction or other areas.

Dryer Vent

  • Provides an exhaust for the dryer.
  • Most models feature flaps or louvers that remain closed when not in use.
  • Available in a kit that includes the vent, ductwork and dryer attachment.

Mounting Block

  • Offers a waterproof surface for installing outlets, lighting and plumbing fixtures with new siding.
  • Used with wood, aluminum, vinyl, stucco, brick or shake siding.


  • Changes the direction of a run of gutter.
  • An outside mitre is used for an inside turn of a gutter.
  • An inside mitre is used for an outside turn of a gutter.

End Cap

  • Used to stop a run of gutter.

Spike & Ferrule

  • Used to hold a gutter to the eave of the roof.
  • The spike is inserted through the ferrule.
  • The ferrule helps hold the width of the gutter constant throughout the run.


  • Used to attach the gutter downspout to the side of the house.

Splash Block

  • Diverts water away from the foundation of the house.
  • Only works if the grade of soil is already pitched away from the house’s foundation.


  • Vinyl siding is available in a variety of colors, textures and profiles.
  • Benefits include easy installation and low maintenance. Color is solid throughout, so scratches don’t show. Available in widths up to 12” in lap.
  • Aluminum siding is used less frequently than vinyl siding. Has a baked-on enamel factory finish that fades over time and needs to be repainted. Can be installed over any structurally sound surface.
  • Must be grounded with a No. 8 or larger wire to the cold-water service or the electrical service ground.
  • Wood siding typically comes in redwood and cedar. Wood is a natural insulator and adds to the R-value of the wall. Not as popular as other types of siding as it is high maintenance. May be stained or painted.
  • Fiber cement siding looks, feels and installs similar to wood.
  • Created by mixing Portland cement, sand, clay and wood fiber and forming it into siding panels with various textures, including wood grain, smooth or stucco texture. Usually comes primed and ready to paint. Has a Class 1 (A) fire rating and resists rot and wood-boring insects.

Corner Post

  • Outside corner posts provide a more finished appearance at the outside corner of adjoined walls.
  • Inside corner posts provide a more finished appearance at the inside corner of adjoined walls.

Soffit & Fascia Panel

  • Soffit panels enclose the underside of an eave.
  • Fascia panels enclose the front of an eave.


  • Used to trim out the ends of siding panels where they meet a door or window.
  • Also used to cover cut edges of panels around windows and under the eaves.

Hollow-Core Wood Door

  • Has wooden or cardboard ribs inside for stability.
  • Primarily used as interior doors, as they will warp or disintegrate from weather.
  • Size is usually 1-3/8” to 1-3/4” thick, and usually 30”, 32″ or 36” wide.
  • Common height is 80”.

Solid Wood Door

  • Made of a tempered hardboard, wood or particleboard with or without a veneer, and from several kinds of solid wood.
  • Ash, birch, mahogany, hemlock and pine are commonly used for solid doors.
  • Comes in standard widths for front and rear entrances. Narrower widths are sometimes used between house and garage and/or breezeway.
  • More fire resistant than hollow-core doors. Particleboard is more fire-resistant than natural wood and it resists warping because of its higher density.
  • Available pre-hung, which means the door is hinged in a framework that includes the header and side jambs of the door and the casing trim. The door may also be predrilled for the lockset.

Steel Door

  • Typically galvanized steel facing with polystyrene, polyurethane, wood or particleboard cores.
  • Offers more insulation, durability, fire-resistance and security than wood doors.
  • The steel exterior provides structural strength and eliminates cracking and warping.
  • Usually used as exterior doors.

Fiberglass Door

  • Easy to maintain and requires less time to refinish.
  • Will not rot, crack or split.
  • Comes in a variety of styles including sidelights, transoms and glass.

Folding Door

  • One style is woven, which is used when ventilation is necessary and usually consists of natural wood or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
  • Another style is laminated, the more durable of the two, which is usually PVC-laminated to steel.
  • The most common size is 32” x 80”.
  • Two units or an expansion set can be combined to fit larger openings.

Bifold Door

  • A door that comes in two sections.
  • Each section is hinged to its side of the doorway with a single fold down the center of each. When closed, they meet in the middle of the doorway.
  • Usually designed for an extra-wide doorway between rooms and on closets.
  • Constructed of metal, wood or composite wood. It can also feature decorative glass or mirrored glass for decorative effect.
  • Louvered bifold doors are an assembly of slats—or sometimes a combination of panels and slats—that slope downward to permit ventilation while preserving privacy.

Sliding Door

  • Made with safety or insulated glass and comes with a screen for hot-weather use.
  • Low-E glass offers protection from ultraviolet rays and is more energy efficient than regular glass.
  • Frames may be wood, aluminum, fiberglass or PVC vinyl in a variety of finishes.
  • Aluminum patio doors are generally the least expensive as they are the least durable and energy efficient.
  • May be two-, three- or four-panels wide. A two-panel door has one active (sliding) panel and one inactive (stationary) panel. A three-panel door has one active and two inactive panels. A four-panel door typically has two active panels in the middle and two inactive panels on the outside.

Swinging Door

  • Café DoorAlso known as a café door.
  • Hinged to attach to each side of the doorway and swing freely without a latch.
  • Features two or three panels and is available in wood, PVC vinyl or insulated steel or fiberglass.
  • Tends to be more secure and energy efficient than a sliding door and can be easily installed by the homeowner.

French Door

  • Also known as a garden door.
  • Is hinged at the outside of the unit and contains at least two active panels that swing in or out from the center.
  • Made of wood, fiberglass or steel.
  • Comes in a wide range of glass styles.
  • Uses a three-point locking system for improved security.

Storm Door

  • Provides extra security to the exterior door and protects against weather and stops drafts through door openings.
  • Made of solid wood or has a wood or foam hollow core inside an exterior skin of metal, aluminum or vinyl.
  • Glass should be tempered to safety glass, while fiberglass screens offer durability and do not rust.
  • Available in a variety of colors.
  • Self-storing models store the windows and the screen at the same time, with many models allowing ventilation at the top or bottom.
  • Interchangeable models have the glass and screen removable to allow ventilation through the entire opening.
  • Common styles are full view, full lite, crossbuck, traditional and security.

Pocket Frame Door Kit

  • Pocket doors are ideal for wardrobes, dining rooms, bedrooms or anywhere space is at a premium. It frees up floor space by allowing the door to recess into the wall.
  • The pocket door kit includes all the pieces needed to convert a regular doorframe into one that will accept a pocket door.
  • The door is sold separately, and is typically either a solid wood or hollow frame door that is slightly smaller than the size of the frame where it is being installed.
  • Kit includes tracks, rollers, steel/wood wall studs and miscellaneous hardware.

Garage Door

  • Hinged panels allow overhead garage doors to roll up and down with ball-bearing rollers and a rope pulley on a steel track.
  • Some panels have a polystyrene and/or air space between panels to insulate and deaden sound.
  • Some doors feature steel frame construction and a wood-grain raised-panel design, while others combine hardboard panels with a wood frame.
  • Comes with extension springs to help the door lift and balance, as well as safety containment cables to guard against injury.
  • Vinyl or aluminum bottom weatherseal counteracts uneven garage floors and protects against weather intrusion.

Double-Hung Window

  • Has a two-sash system
  • Each sash slides vertically in a channel common frame.
  • It opens from the top and bottom.
  • A popular variation is the single-hung window that has a sash that slides vertically. The second sash remains stationary.

Casement Window

  • Has a single sash hinged at one side to swing open by means of a crank or lever.
  • Tends to be more weathertight than double-hung, single-hung or sliding windows.
  • Utilizes a cam-type lock to draw the sash tightly against the frame when closed.

Awning Window

  • Has a single sash hinged at the top.
  • Opens at the bottom with a hand-turned crank.
  • More durable than casement windows.
  • One type is the basement utility window that is made with a block frame for easy installation in a masonry wall.
  • Another type is the ranch unit, which has the window framed in a brick mold for installation in garages, cottages and utility buildings.
  • Another type is the hopper window, where the window is hinged at the bottom.

Bow and Bay Window

  • A bay window is made of three windows: one large unit in the middle and two flanking windows that are usually placed at 30- to 45-degree angles.
  • A bow window is made of four or more windows that, all together, form a shape that curves outward. It looks like a bay window, but is free of sharp angles.

Picture Window

  • A fixed window.
  • Has no moving parts or sashes and does not open.
  • Sometimes used with another window type, such as an awning window.
  • Usually a fixed window available in various shapes, such as an oval, arch, ellipse, octagon or circle.

Glider Window

  • Slides horizontally to open.
  • Durable, since the sash is fully supported in the frame.
  • The nail-on frame style uses nailing flanges and is used mainly in new construction.
  • The block frame style is used either as a replacement window or in block construction.

Storm Window

  • Sometimes called combination windows because they combine the functions of storm and screen windows.
  • Typically made of aluminum
  • Easy to install and usually attached directly to the exterior casing surrounding the window.
  • The single-track type consists of a piece of glass in a lightweight sash, fixed permanently in a nail-on frame.
  • The dual-track style has a glazed sash and screen. The glazed sash is in the top half of the outer track and the screen is in the lower half. Another glazed sash in the inside track covers the screen and can be raised to uncover the screen for ventilation.
  • The triple-track storm window has two glazed sash and a screen panel, all in a separate track. This is best for second floor windows.


  • A window installed on a sloping roof. Also called a roof window.
  • Can be stationary or vented.
  • Sizes range from 18” to 60” wide to 18” to 60” long. Usually, there should be only one square foot of skylight for every 20 square feet of floor space.
  • Opening the window can be controlled by a manual crank,sometimes reached with a long pole, or by a remote electronic operation.
  • A tubular skylight is one type designed for rooms where a larger, standard skylight may not be practical. Easy to install, it features a one-piece flashing system to eliminate the possibility of leaks.
  • A self-flashing or curb-mounted roof window works best with asphalt or fiberglass shingles.

Gypsum Wallboard

  • Consists of a core of gypsum plaster covered with two sheets of heavy paper.
  • Panels are 4’ wide and range in length from 6’ to 16’.
  • Boards 1/4” thick are normally used for recovering old walls and ceilings.
  • Boards 3/8” thick are used in two-ply construction.
  • Boards 1/2” and 5/8” are used in single-ply new work. 5/6” boards provide better fire resistance and sound control.
  • Benefits include low cost and ease of installation. The plain-papered face provides an excellent surface for paint or wallpaper.
  • The edges are typically made with a slight taper, which allows for a filled and tapered joint.
  • Greenboard is a type of gypsum wallboard that has a water-resistant (not waterproof) facing and is used in bathrooms and areas that will be exposed to water or steam.

Premixed Concrete

  • Contains all the elements needed to mix concrete except water.
  • Generally comes in 40-, 60- or 80-lb. bags.
  • Typically used for minor concrete repairs or projects such as setting a post or replacing a section of a sidewalk.

Premixed Mortar

  • Contains masonry cement and sand, everything but water needed for a mortar.
  • Used for laying brick and block as well as patching and filling in around masonry.

Latex Patching Cement

  • Used to patch cracks in concrete.
  • Can also be applied in layers as thin as 1/16” to make it useful for smoothing rough surfaces.
  • Comes as a powdered cement and latex liquid, which is mixed.

Vinyl Patching Cement

  • Used for patching concrete.
  • Consists of a powder mixed with water.
  • It has greater adhesive strength than cement and sand mixtures and a greater resistance to cracking and chipping.
  • Not affected by repeated freezing and thawing.
  • Can be applied in layers as thin as 1/16”.
  • Bonds to brick, tile, marble and concrete.

Epoxy Patching Cement

  • Fortified with epoxy to make it one of the toughest masonry patchers available
  • Comes in a kit of emulsion, hardener and dry cement
  • Bonds to ceramic tile, glass and steel.
  • Not the ideal choice for minor patching jobs.

Anchoring Cement

  • Used for setting bolts, handrails or anything to be set in concrete.
  • Develops a strength greater than concrete.

Concrete Patch

  • A combination of cement and fine sand that the user mixes with water.
  • Some products come ready-mixed. They can also come in convenient containers or caulk tubes that make dispensing easy.
  • Used to repair cracks and holes in concrete walks, foundations and chimneys.

Hydraulic Cement

  • Used to plug running leaks in masonry surfaces.
  • Stops water leaks under pressure and can be used under water.
  • Fast setting.
  • Used inside or outside, above or below the ground.

Blacktop Sealer

  • Used to maintain outdoor asphalt surfaces.
  • The ultraviolet rays of the sun damage the asphalt binder used as the paving material. The sealer protects asphalt against oil, tar and gasoline and keeps water from settling in pores.
  • Apply at 70°F or higher and require 24 to 48 hours to dry before use.
  • The coal tar type of sealer needs to be resurfaced yearly and may contain hazardous chemicals.
  • The acrylic sealer type is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.


  • Usually constructed of nylon. Polyester, wool, acrylic and polypropylene are also used.
  • Styles include level loop pile (Berber), multi-level loop pile, cut and loop pile, cut pile and sisal.
  • Quality of carpet depends on the density of construction (the denser the better) and the twist, or how many fibers have been intertwined to make the yarn (the tighter the twist, the better the carpet).
  • Use with carpet padding to extend the life of the carpet.
  • Installation products will include tack strips, a sharp razor-type knife, a chalk line and a straight edge.
  • Usually comes in 12’ widths.

Carpet Padding

  • Installed underneath the carpet.
  • Prolongs the life of the carpet and adds to comfort.
  • Usually made from felted cushion, urethane, foam rubber or sponge rubber.
  • Weight, density and thickness vary by type and the amount of traffic in the area to be carpeted.
  • Typically available in 36”, 54”, 72”, 108” and 144” widths.

Vinyl Flooring

  • Generally available in large, 12’ rolls in varying lengths, or in square tiles.
  • Available in a variety of patterns and colors.
  • Most floors have a no-wax surface, although most manufacturers recommend specially formulated floor finish to enhance or restore shine and provide added protection.
  • Quality depends on the thickness of the material. In general, urethane floors last longer than vinyl.
  • Installed by gluing to the subfloor with an adhesive made for the material.
  • The square tile type often has an adhesive backing that makes for easier installation.

Hardwood Flooring

  • Available in planks or parquet tiles.
  • Some types install with nails, others with glue.
  • Popular types of wood are oak, maple, beech, birch and pecan.
  • Has tongue and groove joints for a tight installation.

Engineered Flooring

  • A popular alternative to solid hardwood flooring.
  • The surface veneer is made of hardwood such as maple or oak, while tongue-and-groove strips underneath are constructed of plywood.
  • Easy to install because it can be installed without a subfloor and requires no sanding or finishing.
  • Usually installed by gluing to the subfloor, although some types snap together and do not require glue.
  • The size of the veneer will determine the floor’s durability. High-quality engineered floors feature surface veneer of 5/32” to 1/8”.

Laminated Flooring

  • Consists of thin layers of wood or paper products adhered to a resilient foam core.
  • Designed to look like wood, stone or marble.
  • A coating of aluminum oxide provides hardness for the flooring.
  • Easy to maintain and resists scratching, denting or staining.
  • A glueless, interlocking design offered by some manufacturers makes it easy to install.
  • Not recommended for bathrooms since it can swell when exposed to water.

Ceramic Tile

  • More durable and easier to maintain than vinyl or wood flooring.
  • Glazed tile is made of clay that has been single fired at a high temperature, a process that makes color and shape permanent and a surface that is resistant to stains, burns and scratches.
  • Comes with a durability rating from 1 to 4+. Class 1 is the least durable, while 4+ is intended for commercial applications with heavy traffic.
  • Available in a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Comes in sizes 12” x 12”, and accent pieces can be 2”x 2”, 4” x 4” or 6” x 6”.

Marble Tile

  • Made of natural marble.
  • Slick and easily scratched, although scratches can be buffed out.
  • Tiles should be sealed after installation.
  • Types include travertine (for exterior use), while (translucent) and green (usually installed with water-free epoxy mortars.

Granite Tile

  • Made of solid granite.
  • Similar to marble, but harder, denser and more durable.
  • Must be sealed after installation.
  • Commonly used on countertops.
  • More difficult to harm than marble, but also more difficult to restore when damaged.

Slate Tile

  • Made of shale with a natural cleft finish.
  • Must be sealed after installation.

Quarry Tile

  • Has a shale body, extruded then cut to size with edges ground smooth.
  • Can be glazed, but is usually sold unglazed.
  • Must be sealed after installation.
  • Very durable, and often used in institutional settings.


  • Poured between the joints of a tile installation.
  • Must be sealed after installation.
  • Made of cement and is either sanded or non-sanded, some are polymer modified.
  • Pre-mixed grout is also available and is for repairs in dry areas only.
  • Color of the grout will coordinate with the color of the tile.

Interior Plywood

  • A laminate made from thin sheets of wood called veneers.
  • Layers are glued perpendicular to the next, creating a strong, stiff panel.
  • Varying thicknesses are available. The most common are 1/4” and 3/4”.
  • Sheets usually measure 4’x 8’. Other sizes may be available.
  • Most common wood type is Douglas fir and Southern pine.
  • Available in a wide range of grades, with the most common being C-D, Exposure 1 (usually called CDX or sheathing).
  • Another popular grade is A-D Exposure 1, which is suitable when only one paintable side is needed.

Exterior Plywood

  • Plywood construction acceptable for outdoor use.
  • A popular grade is A-C EXT, which has one paintable surface and can be used outside.
  • Type A-A EXT is also available if both sides will be exposed.
  • Plywood siding is also available, and comes in standard patterns such as texture 1-11, reverse board and batten and others.
  • A “shop-grade” panel is one that, after its manufacturing process, failed to meet the specifications of a specific grade. The piece can still be used for some applications, but should not be recommended for structural applications.
  • A “mill certified” panel does not carry the approval of a quality control agency, but may be used for non-regulated projects such as storage sheds or shelves.

Oriented Standboard

  • Known as OSB.
  • A structural-use panel used for roof sheathing, subfloors, underlayment, single-layer floors, exterior siding and wall sheathing.
  • Composed of elongated, thin strands of wood that are bonded with resin under intense heat and pressure.
  • A uniform panel free of knotholes that holds nails and screws securely.
  • Available in 4’ x 8’ panels in thicknesses of 3/8”, 7/16”, 15/32”, 19/32” and 23/32”.
  • Three grades are available: sheathing, single floor and siding.


  • Also known as wood fiber substrate.
  • Made from wood chips that are mechanically reduced to wood fibers and then bonded together into panels through heat and pressure.
  • Panels are thin, grainless, dense, uniformly textured, strong and bone-dry.
  • Used as an exterior siding, interior paneling, as a garage door panel, perforated boards, for furniture, toys, cabinets, floor underlayment and many other items.
  • Can be sawed, shaped, routed and drilled and will accept paint and varnish.
  • Not recommended for use in areas with high temperature or humidity because warping can occur.


  • A hard, dense composition board made of very small particles of wood bonded together with resin under intense heat and pressure.
  • Comes in various thicknesses from 3/8” to 3/4” and in panels 4’ x 8’; 10’ and 12’lengths are also available.
  • Often used in non-structural applications such as interior construction in closets and as an underlayment because it does not warp.
  • Should be cut with a carbide blade.
  • May swell if it gets wet.

Laminated Veneer Lumber

  • Known as LVL.
  • Engineered to span longer distances and support heavier loads than ordinary lumber.
  • Common applications include headers, beams, columns and posts.
  • Made from veneers glued up to 1-3/4” thick, then sawed to the required size.
  • Beams range from 5-1/2” to 18” deep, in lengths up to 66”.
  • Will not shrink, twist or split like ordinary dimension lumber.
  • This type of lumber may cup when exposed to wetting on one side.


  • Made from standard dimension lumber glued face to face.
  • Lengths are as long as 150’, using finger-jointed materials.
  • Frequently used as garage door headers and girders.
  • A recent development is a glulam that uses fiber-reinforced plastic in the lower part of the beam to create a lighter, stronger and less expensive timber.


  • Composed of thin OSB or plywood web that is bonded to the top and bottom flanges of lumber or LVL.
  • Typically 9-1/4” to 30” deep and up to 60’ long.
  • Used as a structural component in roof and floor systems.
  • Some come with pre-drilled knockouts for easier plumbing and electrical installation.


  • Softwood paneling comes in either knotty grades (2 & Better Common and 3 Common) or clear grades (Superior, Prime, Select, C & Better Select or D Select).
  • Hardboard panelings have vinyl, printed or paper surfaces that make them look like genuine wood. Woodgrain finishes are the most popular, but other varieties are available in solid colors, marbleized patterns and novelty designs.
  • Another type is plywood wall paneling. On the back of these panels, a stamp will indicate information such as glue type, fire resistance, wood species used and structural description.
  • Comes in 4’ x 8’ sheets in thicknesses from 1/8” to 5/32”.
  • Have either smooth or V-grooved edges.
  • Perforated paneling is a hardboard that comes in 4’ x 8’ sheets in thicknesses of 1/8” or 1/4”. Thicker panels will support more weight.

Western Lumber

  • Known for its ease of workmanship and nailing as well as strength and dimensional stability.
  • Western lumber includes more than 15 commercially important Western softwood species.
  • Most common species are Douglas fir and Hem-fir.
  • Can be classified as High Quality Appearance, General Purpose Board or Radius-Edged Patio Decking Grade.
  • The Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) has a rigorous inspection and quality control process. Lumber with the WWPA logo indicates the lumber has passed that quality control process.
  • Lumber with only the “WWPA Rules” stamp indicates the lumber has been graded according to the WWPA rules, but not been inspected by WWPA.


  • Most redwood sold is heartwood and sapwood grade. Each type comes in several grades, from a fine finish appearance to a rougher, less attractive finish.
  • Heartwood contains natural barriers to termites and decay and is suited for applications that come into contact with the ground.
  • Sapwood contains cream-colored streaks. It should not be used in contact with the ground.
  • Architectural redwood is the strongest redwood. It is normally kiln-dried and used for structural and finish applications.
  • Garden redwood comprises lower grades that are not kiln-dried and are commonly used for decks, fences and other outdoor garden uses.

Southern Pine

  • Has high strength, resistance to wear and holds fasteners well. It is often used in homes and other structures.
  • Descriptions for this type of wood range from 1 through 4.
  • No. 1 has the highest quality and best appearance.
  • No. 2 is characterized by tight knots and is generally free of holes.
  • No. 3 is good, serviceable sheathing, usable for many applications without waste.
  • No. 4 contains usable portions at least 24” long.

Pine Shelving

  • Lumber 1” thick and of varying widths and lengths.
  • Most consumer inventories range from 1” x 1” to 1” x 12”, up to 12’ long.
  • From 1” x 1” to 1” x 6”, increments increase by 1”. Then, lengths increase in 2” increments from 1” x 8” to 1” x 10” and 1” x 12”.
  • Most consumer sales will be in 4’ and 6’ lengths.
  • No. 4 grade pine is commonly called “garage shelving”. Many consumers use it for basements and garages where looks are not important.

Treated Lumber

  • Lumber treated to resist weather, termites and fungus.
  • Treatment involves chemical preservatives forced deep into the cells in the wood under pressure.
  • Wood used for decks and other outdoor consumer use is generally treated with an inorganic chemical. In 2004, the EPA outlawed the use of arsenic as a method of treating wood. ACQ and copper azole are the current popular chemicals used.
  • Treated wood still absorbs water, and the treatment is not considered waterproof, but rather decay-proof.
  • Wood species typically used include Ponderosa pine, Lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Hem-fir and Southern yellow pine.
  • Always wear respiratory protection when cutting treated lumber.

Wall/Ceiling Junction

  • The trim used where the wall and ceiling meet.
  • Common types include cove, crown, bed, attic and picture.
  • Available in many different widths, from 1/2” to over 5”.
  • Several types can be combined for more elaborate trim work.
  • Picture molding is placed below the ceiling and traditionally was used to support a wire that held picture frames. Today, they are used mostly decorative than functional.

Floor/Wall Junction

  • The trim used where the floor and wall meet.
  • The most complete is a combination of a base, base shoe and a base cap on top. Often, just a base is used.
  • Another popular type is the quarter round.
  • Most types are available in many different widths, from 1/2” to over 5”.
  • Combination of pieces often depends on the type of flooring in the house or preference of the owner.
  • The base shoe looks like a quarter round molding, but is not. It is not an even length on both sides.

Corner Bead

  • Used to protect and decorate the outside corners of an interior wall.
  • An alternative to clear plastic corners


  • Sometimes referred to as window or door casing.
  • Used around windows or doors for trim.
  • Styles include colonial, oval, R2E, ranch and molded.

Top of Paneling

  • When paneling goes only part way up the wall, it is called wainscot.
  • The raw edge at the top is finished with this piece of molding.
  • Several styles are available, including wainscot cap, ply cap or Dado cap.


  • Used to conceal joints when plywood panels or boards meet.
  • Many plywood panels are v-grooved and hide the joint. If they’re not, use this trim.

Corner Blocks

  • Installed at the corners where two runs of molding meet.
  • Makes installation easy, as installer doesn’t have to cut a miter joint.
  • Styles include rosettes and plinth blocks.

Extension Ladder

  • A non-self supporting type of ladder with two similar sections that are linked with internal guides on the bottom of base section and external guides on the top.
  • Sections are pulled apart to increase length.
  • Used for working in high areas and primarily for exterior applications.
  • Available in heights ranging from 16’ to 40’.
  • Smaller extension ladders are extended manually and secured with gravity spring lock brackets
  • that rest on the selected rung.
  • Larger extension ladders are extended by means of a rope and pulley running down the side of the ladder and secured with a cleat.
  • Generally available in all aluminum and fiberglass with aluminum rungs.
  • Rungs can be round or flat and are usually serrated for enhanced slip resistance.
  • Ladder shoes pivot to allow full contact with ground. Shoes can also be turned up to penetrate soft ground for extra stability.
  • Quality classifications include consumer (household), commercial (mechanic) and industrial grades.

Incandescent Bulbs

  • Produce light by passing current through a thin coil of wire called a filament. As the wire heats, it becomes white hot and emits visible light. Vacuum filled.
  • Use for general and task lighting around the house.
  • Wattage indicates the amount of electric power used by a bulb to produce light. Generally, the greater the wattage, the greater the light output. Some bulbs produce more light per watt than others.
  • Standard household bulbs have an average life of 750 to 1,000 hours, which can be lengthened or shortened by the treatment they receive. For example, a 120V bulb operating on a 125V circuit may produce more light but won’t last as long as one on a 120V circuit.
  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tags on fixtures designate the maximum allowable wattage. A mercury or fluorescent system is typically limited to a single bulb size.
  • Long-life bulbs may last longer than ordinary bulbs, because they have heavier filaments that do not burn out as quickly. However, these bulbs do not produce as much light as standard bulbs.
  • Manufacturers disclose average light output (in lumens) and average bulb life (in hours) on package labeling.
  • The filament vaporizes as a result of current flowing through it, and generally, the bulb “burns out.” Three-way bulbs lose two light levels when one filament burns out because two filaments are used in the bulb separately for two of the levels and together for the third.
  • Bulb designations denote size and shape. The figure following the bulb shape letter designation is the bulb’s maximum diameter in eighths of an inch. Thus, A-19 would mean an A-shaped bulb with a diameter of 19 x 1/8″, or 2-3/8″.
  • Most standard bulb envelopes are made of lime glass, but bulbs that must withstand greater heat are made of harder, heat-resistant glass. Hard-glass envelopes are used in many high-wattage bulbs and in bulbs recommended for outdoor use where there is danger of thermal shock from condensation.

Halogen Bulbs

  • Like incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs produce light by passing current through a coiled tungsten wire. The tungsten wire is enclosed in a small quartz or high-temperature glass tube, which is then filled with gases, including a halogen gas.
  • The advantages of tungsten halogen bulbs compared with standard incandescent bulbs include less loss of light over lamp life; smaller physical size for better directional light control; whiter, brighter light; more light per watt; and longer life.
  • Like incandescent bulbs, halogen lights have the advantage of instant-on light. They are easy to use with dimmers for energy savings.
  • Typical halogen lamps last 2,000 to 4,000 hours compared to 750 to 1,000 hours for incandescent lamps. Wattage levels for home use run from 5 watts to 500 watts.
  • More energy-efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. They generate up to 30 percent more light for the same electricity.
  • Halogen bulbs blacken much less than incandescent bulbs and stay brighter as they age. Because of their brilliant white light, they are excellent for use in displays.
  • Be careful not to touch the glass on halogen bulbs. This can degrade their lifespan and they can also be extremely hot within seconds of being turned on.

Fluorescent Bulbs

  • Current flows through an atmosphere of inert gas and mercury vapor, producing ultraviolet energy that is invisible to the human eye. A phosphor coating on the inside of the tube transforms the ultraviolet energy into visible light.
  • Fluorescent bulbs can vary from straight tubes 6″ to 96″ long to U-shaped tubes and circular tubes. Wattages for home use range from 4 to 75 watts.
  • Tubes also come in a variety of diameters. Several common types are available in reduced-wattage versions that consume 15 percent to 20 percent less energy. The most common tube is the 1-1/2″ used in most bulbs from 15″ to 96″ long. The smallest diameter is 1/2″, used in low-wattage twin tube designs. The largest is 2-1/8″ used for some high-wattage, non-residential installations.
  • Produce up to 105 lumens per watt, compared with a 100-watt, type A incandescent, which produces around 18 lumens per watt.
  • Features include a long lamp life, relatively low brightness and low heat content and glare, compared with incandescent lamps.
  • Fluorescents work well for area lighting, especially in kitchen, bath and task areas.
  • Available in many shades of white and colors. Color is determined by the type of phosphor used in the bulb. Soft white fluorescent bulbs are recommended for living areas, baths and kitchens since they offer good color rendering. Warm white bulbs are good for living areas, although not in areas where color discrimination is important. Cool white bulbs are used for work areas.
  • Use a ballast. Dim only with special equipment that is relatively expensive. Standard household fluorescents are also sensitive to temperature, and therefore work best indoors. High-output fluorescents are for outdoor use and commercial application.
  • Ballasts have sound ratings— “A” is the quietest; “C” is the loudest. Often noise made by fluorescent fixtures can be reduced by replacing the ballast.
  • Electrical connections to the bulbs are made to the bases at each end. The most common is the two-pin base, designated miniature bi-pin for small diameter bulbs, medium bi-pin for average size bulbs and the mogul bi-pin for industrial bulbs. Single-pin bases are used for instant start bulbs, and recessed double contact bases are used on rapid–start bulbs longer than 48″.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

  • CFL BulbCompact fluorescent bulbs offer different style and performance from standard fluorescent bulbs. Their color nearly equals that of Soft White incandescents, and they offer superior energy efficiency and long life.
  • Can be as small as 4.5″ long, and some are the same size as their incandescent counterparts. Not all fixtures designed for incandescents may have enough room inside the shade or glass for the bulb.
  • Cannot be dimmed. Their life will be maximized if they are used in locations where a light stays on for hours at a time.
  • Reflector-shaped compact fluorescents can replace standard R30 and R40 shaped incandescent reflector bulbs.
  • Globe-shaped compact fluorescents can replace standard G25 bath and vanity globes or G30 decorative globes that are used in pendants.
  • Decorator or flame-shaped bulbs can replace similar incandescent bulbs in chandeliers, sconces and outdoor fixtures.
  • Stick-shaped compact fluorescents can replace standard Type “A” bulbs in portable lamps.
  • Twist-shaped compact fluorescents can replace standard Type “A” bulbs in virtually any application.
  • When choosing a compact fluorescent bulb to replace an incandescent bulb, compare the lumen output of the two bulbs. For maximum energy efficiency, select a bulb with the highest lumens and lowest wattage combination. For example, replace a 100-watt incandescent household lamp that produces 1600 lumens with a 25-watt compact fluorescent lamp that also produces 1600 lumens.

High Intensity Discharge Bulb

  • HID BulbProduces light when current flows through a conducting gas. Uses ballasts to start the bulb and to control its operation. Unlike fluorescent, most of the light comes from the arc itself rather than through the work of the phosphor.
  • Used primarily for area and security lighting. They feature a lifespan of 20,000 to 24,000 hours. They come in a variety of shapes and in medium and mogul bases.
  • One type is the mercury vapor lamp. These are used for exterior area and security lighting, such as dusk-to-dawn residential lighting. Mercury vapor lamps provide twice the light output per watt as incandescent lamps. Along with the higher output, they also have a longer lamp life, in some cases up to 30 times as long. They are also more expensive than incandescent or fluorescent. Mercury vapor bulbs produce a bluish white color. Self-ballasted mercury lamps can be used with a ballast in incandescent fixtures and are available for 120V systems in the lower wattages (up to 250 watts) and for 240V systems in both lower and higher wattages. These lamps deliver slightly more light output per watt as the incandescent lamps but have the long life of mercury lamps.
  • Metal halide lamps feature medium efficiency, with 50 to 110 lumens per watt. They provide good color characteristics (similar to cool white fluorescent lamps) along with higher light output.
  • High–pressure sodium lamps provide even higher light output per watt than metal halide (50 to 150 lumens per watt), with a golden yellow light. Residential applications include security and landscape lighting.
  • Low–pressure sodium bulbs feature the highest efficiency, with 100 to 180 lumens per watt. They produce an orange light.
  • When replacing HID bulbs, you must replace it with exactly the same type of bulb.


Drill Press

  • Used for boring holes in precise, repetitive cuts. With the appropriate accessories, the drill press can also shape, carve, sand, grind, buff and polish.
  • Consists of a base and a column rising upward to a head holding the motor and drill. A radial arm holds a worktable that adjusts vertically. A feed handle enables the user to direct the drill chuck up and down.
  • On a radial drill press, the head rotates 360º around the column and can drill at an angle or horizontally.

Incandescent Fixture

  • Styles vary widely, but the basic purpose is to hold an incandescent light bulb. Fixtures can be mounted on a stand, on the wall or on the ceiling.
  • The basic wall or ceiling fixture mounts onto an electrical box. The most common type of box contains a threaded stud (or threaded rod) that attaches to the fixture with a part called a hickey. Or, instead of a threaded stud, the fixture may use a crossbar hanger.
  • Various styles of lights can be used for four basic purposes: task lighting (to illuminate specific areas for activities such as reading or preparing food), ambient lighting (for general illumination of a room), accent lighting (focused, directional light generally on artwork or architectural features), and utility lighting (used to flood an area with light, often outdoors or in work areas).

Fluorescent Fixture

  • Used to house fluorescent lamps, and can be rectangular or round.
  • The rapid start type has a starter (a small aluminum barrel that is a type of automatic switch) and ballast in one piece and turns on the instant the switch is flipped.
  • The starter type has a small ballast and a starter and will flicker for a moment before turning fully on.
  • The instant type turns on after a momentary pause.
  • Fluorescent lights are less expensive to operate than incandescent, and most of the parts are replaceable.


  • Provides localized light for specific activities such as reading, writing, sewing and food preparation.
  • The light should cover the entire task area and be located so shadows are reduced to a minimum.
  • Available in a wide variety of styles.

Track Lighting

  • A system of movable lights wired to a metal track that makes a great accent lighting choice for living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms.
  • Available in many colors, sizes and shapes, is easy to install and flexible since the lights can be moved around and repositioned.

Can Light

  • Also known as recessed lights.
  • Provides ambient lighting.
  • Ideal for rooms with low ceilings and can be used to supplement existing light in kitchens and bathrooms.

Landscape Fixtures

  • Designed to accent or light steps and pathways. It also serves a decorative function and is relatively easy to install. Don’t install landscape lighting with extension cords, which are for temporary use only.
  • Mushroom lights, named for their sloped shades, are commonly used along pathways or in gardens. The bulb ranges from 5 watts to 60 watts, and light is reflected downward to give a soft illumination to the immediate area near the fixture. Opaque, tiered lens attachments shield light from the eyes and direct it downward.
  • Bollard lights are cylindrical in shape, with the faceted lens being part of that cylinder. The lens diffuses light in a 360° pattern to create a soft glow. Lens shields can limit lighting to a 180° range.
  • Globe lights have spherical lenses, so they cast light in all directions, providing subtle illumination that can cover a large area without glare. They are often used around outdoor living areas.
  • Deck lights are designed to fit under steps, benches and railings. They can be mounted in many other ways as well. Many other kinds of fixtures can be recessed into steps or planters to directly illuminate pathways.
  • Landscape boulders blend naturally into the environment and glow from within, casting illumination for pathways. The faux boulders contain low-voltage lamps and UL-listed components that are easy to wire, can be installed on their own system or added to an existing low-voltage system.

Outdoor Fixtures

  • Primarily serve a security function, but there are a wide variety of systems, including: high–intensity discharge (HID) systems for mercury, metal halide and high–pressure sodium light sources; incandescent and tungsten halogen fixtures; low-voltage lighting systems; and incandescent or halogen PAR spotlights and floodlights.
  • HID lighting provides considerably greater illumination than other lighting commonly available. Its cost is also higher, although operating costs for lumens output is generally less.
  • Lumens are the measurement of light output.
  • Fixtures to be used outdoors must seal moisture and dust from wiring and switches. Fixtures with photocells provide automatic activation from dusk to dawn.
  • Spotlights or floodlights are used for security. They can also be used with a colored lend as decorative lighting. Weatherproof sockets are essential because the fixture is often mounted on the ground and pointed upward. Only install when the ground is completely dry.
  • Motion lights use sensors that activate the light when they detect heat and motion up to 40 feet away. They can attach to a power pack and mount on walls or fences 6 to 8 feet above the ground.

Low Voltage Lights

  • Safe for many outdoor lighting applications. Because of the low voltage, users will not receive an electric shock even if they touch the bare wires or cut a buried cable with a garden tool. Consequently, these systems are harmless to children and pets and do not require cables to be buried.
  • A power pack is the heart of the low-voltage system and should be located outdoors by installing a weatherproof outlet cover to keep snow and rain out. Power packs typically range from 88-watt capacity up to 900-watt capacity.
  • May be one of several types. Bayonet base lamps feature a copper base that twists into the fixture socket, while the wedge base lamp plugs into the socket. Halogen lamps provide the most energy efficiency.
  • Remote photo control automatically turns lights on at dark and off during daylight hours.

Trouble Lights

  • Have a strict standard for safety. All lamps with metal guards must be permanently grounded to the guard. Some lamps have plastic guards that solve the grounding problem, reduce heat build-up and prevent scratching of painted surfaces.
  • Some models do not have built-in cords. These models attach to a user’s extension cord and are easy to store and convenient to use.
  • In all cases, handles must be tightly fitted to the cage and meet crush-resistance testing and heat-factor requirements.


  • Available in a variety of sizes and styles. Popular features include high-intensity, adjustable spot-to-flood beams with a simple twist of the wrist.
  • Mini-flashlights operate with AA or AAA cell batteries. Standard flashlights use two 6D cell batteries.
  • Flashlights with LEDs (light emitting diodes) will last much longer than standard incandescent bulbs. LEDs do not have a filament that will burn out. Instead, they use a semiconductor material. They’ve long been used in the electronic industry, and manufacturers are new using them in consumer flashlights.


  • Fluorescent lamps require special auxiliary equipment to provide reliable starting and to assure proper electrical operation. The principle function of the ballast is to hold operating current within proper limits and to provide enough voltage to start the lamp.
  • Instant-start ballasts provide sufficient voltage to start fluorescent lamps without preheating and are commonly used with single-pin lamps and some special lamp types.
  • Rapid-start ballasts heat the cathodes continuously from a low-voltage transformer within the ballast. This is the most common type of ballast in use today for 40-watt lamps and for all lamps that use recessed double-contact bases.
  • Reduced wattage lamps operate on most existing ballasts, which can reduce wattage 14 to 20 percent. In addition, new ballasts developed to minimize the wattage consumed by the ballast itself further reduce electrical consumption.


  • A small silver-colored cylinder found mostly in older fluorescent lamps.
  • Allows the electrodes to heat up prior to the lamp starting.
  • When the lamp in an older fluorescent begins to flicker, both the tube and the starter should be replaced.
  • Starterless operation is achieved with instant-start and rapid-start ballast designs.


  • Different than cable. Cable refers to two or more wires or conductors grouped together in a jacket.
  • Copper or tinned copper is the most common conductor in home wiring because it has minimum resistance at reasonable cost.
  • Wire is grouped by gauge number, running from 0000 to No. 40. The smaller the number, the thicker the wire. For home use, the most common gauges are between 10 and 20.
  • Larger wire carries more current. Forcing too much current through a wire will cause it to overheat and trip a breaker.
  • Wire is also characterized by letters that correspond to the insulation type and electrical capacity.
  • Grounding wire provides a path of least resistance from the frame or case of an appliance to the ground to guard against electric shocks. Both two- and three-conductor cables can carry grounding wires.


  • Refers to a collection of two or more strands of wire or conductors.
  • Basically, cable has a “hot” line to carry the current and a “neutral” line to complete the loop. They often have a third wire as that acts as a grounding wire.
  • Classified according to the number of wires it contains and their size or gauge.
  • All cables are marked with a series of letters followed by a number, a dash and another number. The letters indicate the type of insulation (cord, wire and insulation). The first number indicates the resistance of the wires in the cable, and the number following the dash indicates the number of individual conductors in the cable.
  • If the designator “G” follows the series it means that the cable is also equipped with a non-current-carrying ground wire. Hence, the designator USE 12-3/G indicates an underground cable containing three separately insulated wires capable of carrying 20 amps of current plus a grounding wire.
  • The most common jackets are NM-B (Non-Metallic Building Indoor), UF-B (Underground Feed) and BX, which is flexible metallic cable.
  • Two-conductor cable contains one black wire and one white wire. The black wire is always the “hot” wire and must be fused. The white is always neutral and must never be fused. When current bridges the gap from the 110V hot wire to the neutral, it results in a 110V input to the appliance.
  • Three-conductor cable contains a red wire in addition to black and white. The black and red wires are “hot,” carrying 110V each, and both must be fused. The white remains neutral. This three-wire circuit is increasingly common in home wiring; it accommodates major 220V appliances, such as ranges and air conditioners.
  • BX cable is armored metallic cable. It consists of two or three insulated wires individually wrapped in spiral layers of paper. The steel casing acts as a ground wire. There is also a bond wire included in the casing that acts as a ground if the casing breaks.
  • Romex® cable is a flat, beige thermoplastic jacket surrounding two or three wires. Each wire is wrapped in insulation and a spiral paper tape. Type NM means it can be used indoors. Type NMC means it can be used indoors or outdoors. Type UF means it is suitable for use underground outdoors.

Thermostat Cable

  • Used in low-voltage control, alarm and communication systems. Most common types are braided, twisted and plastic-jacketed types. All three use solid copper conductors and are twisted and insulated with plastic.
  • Although thermostat cable is low voltage, it carries an UL-listing for being flame-retardant, since it is installed in the wall. Wiring used in security alarm and smoke detection systems must be UL-listed.
  • Twisted cable, which has no outer braid, is used in doorbells, burglar alarms, intercom telephones and public address systems.
  • Braided cable is covered with cotton braid and is used primarily in thermostat controls and other low-voltage, remote control circuits.
  • Plastic-jacketed cable is also used in similar low-voltage applications.

TV Wire and Accessories

  • Television lead-in wire connects the receiving set to the antenna. Good quality 300-ohm wire is used for both VHF and UHF receivers.
  • A TV set coupler is a loss-producing device for connecting two or more TV receivers to the same antenna. The loss introduced into the circuit is small, but can be critical in “fringe area” reception. In such areas, you should be aware of this small loss and to expect a slight reduction in signal strength at the receiver.
  • A lightning arrestor mounts on the outside of the house as close to the TV receiver as possible to protect the receiver against lightning damage. The lead-in wire is attached to proper contacts and the ground rod to ground connector. Lightning will jump the gap inside the arrestor and flow into the earth if the circuit is properly installed.

Home Networking

  • Home networks connect multiple computers in the home, satellite dishes, cable TV, sophisticated audio systems and home.
  • The heart of these systems is the networking hub. Usually thought of in conjunction with computers, the home network hub differs in that it provides central control of computers, peripherals, phones, TVs and audio components. This is the unit where most of the wiring from different locations comes together to meet.
  • Most home networks use coaxial, Category 3 and Category 5 cable. Coaxial cable is used for TVs, VCRs and satellite equipment. Category 3 cable is used for telephones while Category 5 is used for telephone, fax and computer systems. Some cables combine different functions into one cable.
  • “Structured” wiring refers to a bundle of cables that runs from the networking hub to meet a home’s future information-carrying needs. This wire bundle may consist of some combination of Category 5 cables, fiber-optic lines, Category 3 cables and coaxial lines.
  • Jacks are used to terminate the cable. There are different jacks for telephones, computers, satellite, audio and video equipment. Many of these jacks and cable connectors require special tools for installation.
  • Patch cords are used to connect different computer and audio/video devices with one another or with a central networking device such as a hub.
  • Binding posts are used to connect bare speaker wire, while F-Connectors are used with coaxial cable.

Extension Cord

  • Indoor extension cords come in two-wire cords in lengths from 6′ to 15′. White and brown are the basic colors.
  • Outdoor extension cords are used for outdoor power tools and exterior lighting. They come in 16/3, 14/3 and 12/3 wire, and the most common lengths are from 25′ to 100′. Heavy-duty extension cords should be used with high-wattage appliances.
  • Any UL-listed cord will carry a UL label near the female end. Many companies are now using an alternative method of labeling allowed by UL, which permits the UL markings to be molded into the cord ends. This ensures a permanent marking that cannot be provided with a label. It is important to check for this UL insignia, whether it is a label or a permanent marking. Non-listed cords can be similar in appearance to listed ones.
  • To be UL-listed for outdoor use, three-wire round cords must have connector and cap molded to the cord and a lip on the end of the connector to prevent misuse. Beginning in 1998, UL-listed outdoor cords began appearing with the “SJTW” marking on the cord, not “SJTW-A” as was previously used. For a period of time, either marking will be acceptable for outdoor use.
  • Grounding cords are available in both heavyweight and heavy-duty construction differing from standard cords, because they have three conductors instead of two and are equipped with a three-prong grounding plug and connector.
  • Step-saver cords have built-in pendant switches to control appliances and lamps across the room.
  • Wind-up reels keep tangled, foot-catching cords off the floor.

Appliance Cords

  • Combine cord and connector. The difference between cord sets can be in type of connector and/or cord used.
  • Free-end attachment cord sets without connectors are used in re-wiring direct attachment irons, toasters and similar small appliances. They have pre-tinned ends to speed up wiring.

Range and Dryer Cords

  • Range and dryer cords are free-end types, commonly called “pigtails,” attached directly to the appliance. Free ends are fitted with cable terminals that connect to screw terminals of the appliance to assure positive connections. A metal clamp attached to the cable serves as a strain relief at the point where the cable enters an appliance and a cord protector.
  • Heavy-duty attachment plugs for ranges and dryers are much larger than standard attachment plugs. Most are “L” shaped with a power cord feeding out the side of the plug.
  • Sizes range from 30 to 50 amps for dryers and ranges. The different amperage attachment plugs are not interchangeable because of a difference in their configuration.
  • A recent change in the National Electrical Code requires new range and dryer receptacle installations to be 3-pole, 4-wire grounding receptacles. The neutral (grounded circuit conductor) can no longer be used to ground the frames of electrical ranges and dryers.

Thin-Wall Conduit

  • Also known as EMT (electric metallic tubing).
  • Steel pipe used to carry house wiring in places where it is exposed.
  • Comes in inside diameters of 1/2” to 4”. 1/2” is most common.
  • Do not use underground.

Heavy-Wall Conduit

  • Also known as rigid conduit.
  • Comes in the same sizes as EMT but has thicker walls.
  • Has threaded ends for connections.
  • Use for carrying wire outdoors and underground.

Plastic Conduit

  • Easy to use.
  • Use inside and outside.
  • Best for burying underground as it will not corrode with water.

Greenfield Conduit

  • Also known as flex conduit.
  • A hollow spiral metal jacket that resembles BX cable.
  • Use for installing wiring in the home.

Conduit Connectors

  • Used to connect lengths of conduit.
  • Can make straight or bent connections.
  • Conduit can also be bent to a 90º curve using a conduit bender.

LB Fitting

  • Connects at a 90º angle.
  • Has thick gaskets to make it impervious to moisture.
  • Generally, an LB fitting is placed outside at the point where the conduit leaves the house.
  • This fitting should not be used to make wire connections.

Conduit Fasteners

  • Use to fasten conduit to a wall or other framing member.
  • Staples can be used to fasten conduit or bare cable.
  • Straps are another type. They can be either one-hole or two-hole.
  • Generally, staples are best used inside the house, straps are best used outside.

Wire Channels

  • Use to fasten conduit to a wall or other framing member.
  • Staples can be used to fasten conduit or bare cable.
  • Straps are another type. They can be either one-hole or two-hole.
  • Generally, staples are best used inside the house, straps are best used outside.

Plug Fuse

  • Also known as Edison base fuse, plug-in fuse or glass fuse.
  • A safety device that breaks an electrical circuit when it is overloaded.
  • The most commonly used fuse. Available in 5- to 30-amp sizes.
  • It has a threaded base like a light bulb and a small window to view a metal linkage. Electricity flows through the linkage. When the circuit is overloaded, the linkage melts and turns black, cutting off the flow of electricity through it. The fuse then must be replaced.

Type S Fuse

  • Also known as Fustats® or Nontamperable
  • Similar in design and use to a plug fuse. However, it prevents anyone from replacing a lower-rated fuse with a higher one.
  • Has two parts: the fuse and the adapter. The adapter has a different diameter for each fuse ampere rating. Once the adapter of a particular size fuse has been inserted into the fuse socket, it cannot be removed. Only fuses with the same rating can be used in that socket.

Cartridge Fuse

  • Cartridges fuses for circuits above 60 amps are also known as knife-blade cartridges. They look like rifle cartridges with metal caps and blades sticking out of each end.
  • Cartridges fuses for circuits 60 amps or less are also known as ferrule contact or round cartridge fuses. They look like rifle cartridges with plain, capped ends.
  • Used in high-current applications, such as in the main service box and in clamp- or bar-type fuse boxes that serve electric ranges, water heaters, clothes dryers and air conditioners.
  • Unlike plug fuses, you cannot tell if the fuse is blown by merely looking at it.
  • Use a special pair of pliers known as fuse pullers to remove these fuses.

Time Delay Fuse

  • Similar in appearance to a plug fuse.
  • Provides a minimum time delay for small household motors that cause an electrical surge when started. That surge would cause a regular fuse to blow needlessly.

Circuit Breaker

  • Two styles are available: Push button (less common) and toggle.
  • Breakers can be single, double or thin.
  • Contains a bi-metal strip that breaks the circuit when a current exceeds a predetermined rating.
  • A breaker indicates a broken circuit when the switch is in the mid-point, or tripped, position.
  • Reset the circuit breaker after correcting the overload problem. Switch it to the off position, then to the on position.
  • Another type of circuit breaker is a screw-in type that looks similar to a fuse, but has a button on the top. The button pops out when the circuit is broken.

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter

  • An arc fault occurs when the insulation surrounding wire and cable is damaged or deteriorates. The arc fault can flare at temperatures in excess of 10,000ºF and ignite surrounding combustible material.
  • Standard circuit breakers do not respond quickly enough to arc faults. An arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) recognizes an arcing fault and acts instantly.
  • The National Electrical Code® (NEC) requires AFCIs be used in new construction on all bedroom circuits, family rooms, dining rooms, closets and hallways.

Circuit Breaker Box

  • Also called the electrical house panel or service panel.
  • A metal cabinet used to hold a series of circuit breakers.
  • Usually found near the main service entrance of the house.

Single-Pole Switch

  • Controls power to lights and devices by turning off the hot side of the circuit.
  • Mounted in an electrical box.
  • Has two brass terminal screws.
  • Controls current from one circuit from one point.

Double-Pole Switch

  • Controls power to lights and devices by turning off the hot side of the circuit.
  • Mounted in an electrical box.
  • Has four brass terminal screws

Three-Way Switch

  • Controls power to lights and devices by turning off the hot side of the circuit.
  • Mounted in an electrical box.
  • Has three brass terminal screws.
  • Controls one circuit from two separate points. For example, a light that can be turned on in either the house or garage.
  • It may also include a green grounding screw.

Four-Way Switch

  • Controls power to lights and devices by turning off the hot side of the circuit.
  • Mounted in an electrical box.
  • Has four brass terminal screws.
  • It may also include a green grounding screw.
  • Used in connection with three-way switches to control one circuit from three or more points.

Specialty Switches

  • Rocker Switch operates the same as a standard switch, but instead of a toggle, it operates with a rocker action.
  • Delayed Action Switch keeps the circuit open for a few minutesafter the switch is turned off. A good use is in a garage where, after the user turns off the switch, it allows the light to remain on in time exit.
  • Photoelectric Switch operates with a photoelectric cell. It turns off during the day and turns on during the night.
  • Motion Switch turns on the light as you enter the room. Good for both convenience and security.
  • An Illuminated Switch has a small light that is on when the switch is off so it can be easily found; these are usually used at entrances to rooms and in hallways. Another version is the Pilot Light Switch.
  • An Outdoor Switch features a turning lever inside a weatherproof box cover with a toggle switch.
  • Voice-Activated Switch operates with a voice command.

Dimmer Switch

  • Controls the amount of current in a light circuit and allows for varying levels of light.
  • Usually may be installed in place of standard switches.
  • They are available in a variety of types, including rotary, toggle and slide.
  • Dimmers may also interfere with radios and TVs and cause the light bulb to hum. Some dimmers are manufactured with a filter that eases this problem.

Line Switch

  • Used to interrupt the flow of electricity on cords, most often for lamps and appliances.
  • A variety of styles are available, and they can operate with a toggle, rotary or push-button action.


  • Turn on lights and appliances at specified intervals and times.
  • Available for indoor and outdoor applications.
  • Spring-wound timers for bath fans and spas have a manual on-off switch.


  • Taps the electrical circuit to provide power at a given location.
  • Available in flush- or surface-mounted designs.
  • A single- or double-wipe contact refers to the area of the inserted prong where the contact is made.

GFCI Receptacle

  • Stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
  • Also known as a GFI or ground fault interrupter
  • Used to protect against ground faults, which occur when a person comes into contact with a live electrical wire. This may be caused by worn insulation on a wire or by operating a faulty appliance or power tool.
  • The GFCI interrupts power quickly enough to help prevent a lethal dose of electricity.
  • To turn the GFCI back on after it trips, push the reset button located in the middle of the switch.
  • They can be installed as a receptacle or at the main power panel.


  • Connects to the power supply through the receptacle.
  • Technically, it is a male receptacle.
  • Available in polarized and non-polarized versions. In the polarized version, one blade is larger than the other to help reduce the potential for shock.
  • Three conductor plugs have three blades, one of which is a grounding pin.
  • Large appliances have plugs with specific configurations.
  • Can use to build extension cords or to replace plugs on appliances or power tools or other devices requiring a plug.


  • The opposite of a plug. It has slots or openings on the inside designed to receive male receptacles or plugs.
  • Technically known as a female receptacle.
  • Larger appliances have special configurations (often called NEMA configurations). The configuration of the slots must match the configuration of the prongs on the plug.

Table Tap

  • Also known as a plug-in strip or plug-in outlet adapter.
  • Increases the number of outlets available at a single outlet.
  • One side plugs into an outlet and the other provides two to six pairs or outlets.
  • A smaller version is the cube tap, which is in the shape of a cube and provides two or three receptacles in the place of one.

Multiple Tap

  • Like the table tap, it plugs into an existing outlet to increase the number of outlets at a location.
  • It typically has four to six plugs.
  • Some models may contain circuit breakers or surge protectors, but may not be suitable for computer equipment.

Multiple Outlet Strip

  • Also known as a surge suppressor or a power strip.
  • Achieves the same purpose of a tap, but has a cord that plugs into an outlet and a strip of outlets contained in a metal or plastic box.
  • Better models have built-in surge protectors that protect electronic equipment from sudden surges of electricity.
  • A surge protector does not protect against a lightning strike.

Socket Adapter

  • Screws into light sockets to adapt them for use as two outlets while keeping the function of a light socket.
  • Also known as a current tap or socket switch.
  • Some models have a switch or pull chain that turns off the bulb without turning off the outlets.

Plug Body

  • Adapts a light socket for use as a single outlet.

Twin Light Adapter

  • Adapts a single light socket for a double light socket.
  • Y-shaped and holds bulbs at an angle from one another.


Grounding Adapter

  • It allows you to use a plug with three prongs in a receptacle that has only two slots.
  • Cube-shaped plastic or rubber.
  • Has a small U-shaped piece that is to be attached to the screw in the middle of the receptacle.

Wall Box

  • Used for housing switches and receptacles.
  • Made of metal or plastic and have the capability to be mounted to a wall or stud.
  • The holes in the side of the box where the conduit enters the box are called knockouts. In metal boxes, conduit can also be secured to the holes.
  • Four-Inch Square and Shallow boxes are other types only 1-1/2“ or 2”deep for places too shallow to mount a standard box.
  • Handy box is surface mounted and has rounded corners for safety.
  • Drywall box has expandable arms and can be mounted on drywall.
  • Plastic box is best for new installation and often has a nail built-in for quick attachment to the stud.
  • Gem box is a commonly made box, usually 2” wide, 3”high and 2-1/2” deep and made of metal. Deeper boxes are available.

Ceiling Box

  • Also known as a junction box or splice box.
  • Used to anchor ceiling fixtures and serves as a junction box where wires can meet and run to other areas of the room.
  • They are either 4” octagonal or round shaped, and either 1-1/2” or 2-1/8” deep.
  • They also may include adjustable mounting hangers that attach to rafters in the ceiling and allow the box to be placed anywhere between.
  • Hangers also provide the short nipple or threaded rod that secures lighting fixtures.

Weatherproof Box

  • Also known as an outdoor box.
  • Used for exterior switches or receptacles.
  • Thicker than interior boxes and has a rubber gasket between the cover and the box to keep out water.
  • Covers are screw-on or snap-on.

Wall Plates

  • Also known as faceplates or covers.
  • A flat metal, plastic or wooden piece that covers the openings in the wall made by receptacles and switches.
  • The openings in the cover match the type and number or receptacles or switches being covered. Blank covers are also available.

Alkaline Battery

  • Longest lasting all-purpose battery.
  • Used for high and continuous current drain applications.
  • Disposable and operates well in low temperatures.
  • Voltages range from 1.5V to 9V.
  • Lasts as many as five years on the shelf.

Lithium Battery

  • Holds power for eight to 10 years on the shelf.
  • Available in 9V.
  • Used for cameras, watches and other items used repeatedly over a long period of time.

Heavy-Duty Battery

  • Short life and best used for low-drain applications such as remote controls and wall clocks.

Rechargeable Battery

  • A commonly used type is the nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery.
  • Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are another alternative, and they outlast NiCd batteries by up to 40 percent.
  • Rechargeable batteries will lose their charge if not used for an extended period of time (30 to 60 days).


  • Some models are battery operated and are wireless. They are easiest to install.
  • If not battery operated, they require AC step-down transformers to reduce household voltage to the proper operating voltage.
  • Standard doorbells operate at 10V or 16V.

Lamp Holder

  • Used to hold light sockets where design is not a concern. Often used in garages or basements, or as a temporary fixture.
  • One type has a pull chain to turn it on. The other, a keyless lampholder, does not have a chain. Another type has a socket, two receptacles and a pull chain that turns off the lamp but not the receptacles.
  • Typically is a round porcelain fixture with a socket with prewired leads ready for connecting to a circuit. It also has screw holes for mounting it to a box.
  • Another type is the Pigtail. It is merely a socket with wire leads and without a fixture. It is also used for temporary lighting or for testing.

Voltage Tester

  • Also known as a test lamp, a circuit tester, a neon tester or a test light.
  • Consists of two insulated wire probes and a small neon light.
  • Designs vary widely.
  • Used to determine if there is electricity running through a circuit or if it is properly grounded.
  • Recommend as a basic tool for every toolbox.

Continuity Tester

  • Used to determine if a wire or circuit can carry electricity from one end to the other.
  • Generally consists of two probes (one of them being an alligator clip) and an indicator light powered by a battery.
  • Can also be used to test cartridge fuses.

Receptacle Analyzer

  • Analyzes a receptacle to determine whether or not the wiring is sound, if it is grounded and if the receptacle is receiving power.

Fish Tape

  • Also known as a snake.
  • Used for pulling the electrical cable or wire through the wall or through electrical conduit.
  • Often comes in lengths of 25 or 50 feet, 1/2” or 3/4” wide with a hook on one end. Also comes coiled in a case.
  • Also used to probe wall cavities to determine the best path for routing a cable.

Electrical Tape

  • Most common type is plastic, usually 3/4” wide.
  • Handy for many uses. In electrical work, it is used to cover bare wires after they have been exposed.

Wire Nuts

  • Used to connect the bare ends of two wires inside a box. At least two are required at every circuit connection.
  • Available in a variety of sizes and colors.
  • Connects wires with a twisting action.

Fuse Puller

  • Used to remove cartridge-type fuses.

Range Hood

  • Comes in many styles and is used to draw grease, heat, steam, smoke, odor and hazardous gasses away from the stove and out of the kitchen.
  • A complete system consists of a hood, a blower system and ducting.
  • Downdraft models are built into the stove of surrounding counter and are less efficient than updraft hoods.
  • Updraft hoods hang above the cooktop and easily vent air outdoors.
  • An island range hood is used for stoves that are part of cabinet islands. They are suspended from the ceiling.

Appliance Receptical

  • Used for heavy-duty plugs and appliances.
  • Contains vertical and slanted slots in various configurations.
  • Configurations are different, so make sure to bring the plug with you if you don’t know the exact configuration you need.

Nail Hammer

  • Used for general carpentry, household chores and nail pulling.
  • Should be used only with non-hardened, common or finishing nails.
  • Curved claw offers leverage in removing nails and can also cradle a 2×4.
  • Choose 16 or 20 oz. weights for general carpentry; choose 7, 10 and 13 oz. weights for fine cabinetry or light-duty driving.
  • Available with smooth or waffled (serrated) faces. Milled face is for finishing jobs while waffled face provides more control when hammering large nails into lumber. Some claw hammers feature a side notch on the head for easier pulling of small nails and fasteners.


Rip Hammer

  • Also known as a Rip Hammer
  • Used mainly by professionals for ripping apart wooden components and demolition work.
  • Should be used only with non-hardened, common or finishing nails.
  • Choose weights from 20 to 32 oz. for framing and ripping.
  • Available with milled or waffled faces to grip the nail head and reduce the effect of glancing blows and flying nails.


Finishing Hammer

  • Used for general carpentry, finishing and cabinet making.
  • Head size generally between 7 oz. and 16 oz.
  • Smooth striking face so errant strikes don’t leave marks on the wood.

Tack Hammer

  • Used for furniture upholstery and to drive small nails and tacks.
  • Features a magnetic face used to hold small tacks. The other face is used to drive them.

Ball Peen (Ball Pein) Hammer

  • Ball Pein HammerUsed with cold chisels for riveting, center punching and forming unhardened metal work.
  • Striking face diameter should be about 3/8” larger than the diameter of the head of the object being struck.
  • Designed with a regular striking face on one end and a rounded or half ball on the other end instead of a claw.
  • Sizes range from 2 oz. to 48 oz. with 12 and 16 oz. the most popular.
  • Variations include a cross-peen hammer (with horizontal wedge-shaped face) and a straight-peen hammer (with vertical wedge-shaped face).


Soft Face Hammer

  • Used for assembling furniture, setting dowels and wood projects that require non-marring blows.
  • Available in weights ranging from 4 oz. to 22 oz.
  • Feature replaceable heads, typically one soft and one hard.


Bricklayer’s Hammer

  • Used for setting or splitting bricks, and chipping mortar from bricks.
  • Features a curved, chisel-like pick and a small, square striking surface.


Shingler’s Hammer

  • Drives roofing nails, assures proper shingle spacing, trims composition and fiberglass shingles.
  • Typically includes slotted, replaceable cutting blade.


Drywall Hammer

  • Drywall HammerUsed to score, sheet and set nails for drywall work.
  • Features a scored head and a notched blade instead of a claw.
  • Notch in the blade is used to remove exposed nails.



  • Has rubber, plastic, wooden or rawhide head.
  • Used to drive chisels or hammer joints together.
  • Sizes are specified in head weight or diameter with the exception of wooden mallets, which are specified by head diameter only.
  • Comes in variety of shapes and sizes for specific tasks.
  • Carpentry mallet features angled head to reduce fatigue; shop mallet with octagonal head is used for flat strikes; rawhide mallet is used in furniture assembly.


Box-Joint Pliers

• General utility tool with up to eight adjustments, allowing for jaw openings up to 4-1/2″.

• Either multiple hole or tongue-and-groove designs available.

• Straight and curved jaws are available.

• Most common type of box-joint (multiple slip-joint) is 10″ water pump pliers.


Crimping Pliers

• Used for crimping sheet metal or metal duct work.

• Used in HVAC work to reduce one end of a metal pipe, gutter or duct so two pieces of the same size will fit together.

• May have a straight or angled head.


Cutting Pliers

• Can be side, end or diagonal types.

• Side cutters have a cutting blade on one side only and are available in long-, curved- and short-nose types.

• End cutting nippers have cutting blades on the end and are used to make sharp, clean cuts close to the surface on wires, bolts and rivets.

• Diagonal cutters have two cutting blades set diagonally to the handle. They offer leverage when pulling cotter pins and are used by mechanics and electricians for general cutting.

• Some cutting pliers are made with a spring in the handle to open automatically after each cut.


Fence Pliers

• Used to pull and cut staples in fencing and other work involving wire.

• Only tool needed for work on wood posts.

• Feature flat, heavy head for hammering, staple-pulling hook, wire cutters on each side and pliers jaws to pull wire.


Linemen’s Pliers

• Also called electrician’s pliers. Used by professionals engaged in electrical, communications and construction work.

• Used for cutting, holding, shaping and twisting wire.

• Heavy-duty, side-cutting pliers designed for all regular wire-cutting needs.

• Have gripping jaws in addition to cutting edges.

• High-leverage lineman’s pliers have rivet placed closer to the cutting edges to provide more leverage.

• Two head patterns are available: standard (bevel nose) and round nose, which is more streamlined.

• Sizes range from 6-1/4” to 9-1/4”.


Locking Pliers

• Adjustable, vise-type locking pliers that can be locked on to a work piece and operate like a clamp.

• Features an adjustment screw that changes the jaw size to apply the correct clamping pressure.

• Available in various sizes and shapes: curved jaw puts pressure on any style nut or bolt head; curved jaw with wire cutter also allows user to cut wire; straight jaw provides maximum contact on flat, square or hex work; long nose provides easy access in hard-to-reach places; large jaw is used by plumbers, welders and mechanics working with large objects; and bent nose is for work in tight places.

• Some use a mechanism that allows one-handed release; others require two hands to disengage.

• Many locking pliers provide a wire-cutting function, some from a full range, others from a restricted range of jaw settings.


Needle-Nose Pliers

• Also called long-nose pliers, they have a pointed nose for doing work in tight places.

• Used frequently for electrical and electronics work.

• Most have side cutters for cutting wire.

• The jaws and cutting blades meet evenly.


Midget Pliers

• Include straight, chain, round, end-cutting, diagonal-cutting and flat-nose pliers in extra-small sizes.

• Used by professionals such as electronic technicians who work with small objects in confined areas.


Self-Adjusting Pliers

• Feature an adjustable pivot with handles that allow compound movement.

• They have deep teeth and curved jaws that stay parallel as the handles are squeezed.

• Designed to provide additional leverage and gripping power.


Slip-Joint Pliers

• General utility pliers with two jaw-opening size adjustments.

• Some have a shear-type wire cutter to cut small-gauge wire.

• Available in regular or thin-nose design to reach into tight places.


Thin-Nose Pliers

• Also called bent-nose pliers, since the nose is bent at about an 80-degree angle so it can be used to grip and force wire through odd angles or reach around objects.

• Provide firm grip on fine work in tight places.

• Feature serrated jaws.


Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

• Features multiple size adjustments.

• Good for gripping and applying limited torque to round, square, flat and hexagonal objects.

• Jaws may be straight, smooth or curved.

• Sizes generally range from 4-1/2” to 20-1/4” in length.

• Widely used by plumbers, electricians and other professionals.


Wire Strippers

• Used for general-purpose wire cutting and stripping insulation from wire.

• Feature adjustable stops to remove wire insulation without damaging conductors.

• Feature pre-cut holes to cut different wire gauges.
Plier-style nose permits pulling and looping of wire.


Standard Slotted-Tip Screwdriver

• For driving and removing standard, slotted screws

• Slots generally range in size from 1/6” to 1/4”.

• Tip is flared at shoulder of blade so it is wider than the driver bar.

• Blades should not taper too sharply from the tip, because an improperly tapered tip has a tendency to rise out of the screw slot.

• Can have a square or round shank.


Cabinet Slotted-Tip Screwdriver

• Similar to standard slotted, but tip is straight and has no flare.

• For use with small screws and countersinking screws where regular tips with a flare would mar the wood or material on the side.


Phillips® Tip Screwdriver


  • Used on cross-slotted screw heads with modified U-shaped slots of uniform width.
  • Sizes range from 0 to 4, with 0 being the smallest.
  • Similar tip configurations include Frearson tips that have cross slots that are V-shaped slots with tapered sides, and Pizidriv® with additional, smaller slots at 45-degree angles to the main cross slots.


Square Tip (Robertson) Screwdriver

  • Have square tipped heads to help grip the screw on all four sides to provide more torque.
  • Range in sizes from 0 to 3 and jumbo.
  • Popular with decking projects.


Clutch-Head Screwdriver

  • Tips have four points of contact.
  • It locks into the screw head when turned counter-clock-wise.
  • The driver is unlocked by turning it in the opposite direction.
  • Because of the many contact points, the tip will not damage the screw head under high torque situations.


Hex Nut Driver

  • Similar to a screwdriver, but has a tip like a wrench socket.
  • Used mainly on small hex nuts and in confined areas such as electronic equipment, car ignitions and plumbing jobs.
  • Available in several sizes and styles, with a fixed-size or variable-size “socket” at the end to adjust to various nut sizes.


Offset Screwdriver

  • Designed for removing and inserting screws in places where it is impossible to use a straight shank screwdriver.
  • Available in two- or four-blade varieties, with one end slotted and one end Phillips
  • Some models available with reversible ratcheting mechanism to turn screw tip and magnetized tips to guide screws into holes or otherwise inaccessible areas.
  • Others have split-points that can be expanded in width to fill the screw slot and hold screws when guiding into inaccessible areas. A spring clamp that fits over the screw head, holding the bit in the slot, serves a similar purpose.


Ratcheting Screwdriver

  • Features a reversible ratchet mechanism in the handle that eliminates the need to grip and re-grip during the driving process.
  • Usually comes with interchangeable tips.


Spiral-Ratchet Screwdriver

  • Also called Yankee Screwdriver or Yankee Push Drill.
  • Drills and removes screws using a ratchet mechanism similar to a push-pull drill, with driving action provided by pushing straight down on the handle.
  • It has an adjustable chuck to permit interchanging different size driver tips and drill points.


Hex (Hexagonal) Tip Screwdriver

  • Also called a hex key or hex wrench.
  • It is used to tighten socket set (hex head) screws and usually comes in sets.
  • Some hex sets are attached to and fold into a metal carrying case.
  • Other variations include T-shaped hex tools with vinyl grips and L-shaped keys for greater torque power.

Multi-Bit Screwdriver

  • Allows the user to have a number of different types of tips in one tool.
  • Some models store the interchangeable tips in a self-contained unit.


Jeweler’s Screwdriver

  • Has a rotating head that is held by the forefinger to steady the screwdriver while the thumb and middle finger turn the screwdriver to remove or install small screws.
  • Mainly used by jewelers and hobbyists and others who often work with very small screws.
  • Generally manufactured in sizes ranging from .025” to .1”.
  • Usually available in sets with Phillips and slotted tips.


Bit Brace

  • A hand-drilling tool with a crank handle generally used to drill large holes in wood.
  • Drilling is done by turning the handle or center section in a circular motion. Pressure is applied to the knob or head of the bit brace with the heel and palm of the hand.
  • The knob or head of the bit brace is mounted on ball bearings so that it will turn freely from the rest of the brace and remain stationary when turning the tool.
  • Generally used with auger bits.
  • Can also be used as a powerful screwdriver.
  • Direction ratchet control in some models permits turning the bit in one direction and not the other which can be useful in tight spaces.


Push Drill

  • Operates by a push-pull movement using a spirally threaded shaft and chuck to hold the bit, similar to a push-pull screwdriver.
  • Generally has space in the handle for storing extra drill bits.


Hand Drill

  • Also called an eggbeater drill, the drilling action comes from turning a hand crank on the side of a drill frame.
  • Features adjustable drill chuck to permit easy changing of drill bits ranging in size from 1/16″ to 1/2″.
  • Usually has drill bit storage in handle.
  • Generally used for precise drilling in fine woodworking applications.



  • Used to make screw-starting holes for drilling, screwing or nailing when lightly tapped by palm of hand or with hammer or soft-face mallet.
  • Also used for scribing or scoring along a straight edge to produce a sawing or layout line on wood or soft metal.
  • gimlet is a variation of the awl with threads like a screw on the tip.


Open-End Wrench

  • Provides gripping power on two sides of the head with another side open so the wrench can be placed on a nut, which might not be accessible to a closed or box wrench.
  • Has different size openings on each end and should fit the nut exactly to prevent mutilating the nut edges.
  • Some types, called flare nut wrenches, are flared to fit hex fittings and flare nuts.
  • Generally available in sets.


Box (Box-End) Wrench

  • Has enclosed head and provides more leverage by completely enclosing the nut.
  • Some are offset to provide knuckle room and clearance over obstructions.
  • Ranges in size from 4″ to 16″ long and is available with either 6- or 12-point rings.
  • Some models have ratcheting capabilities.


Combination Wrench

  • Has a box and an open end on opposite sides of the same wrench. Both ends are usually the same size.
  • Used for working on machinery and is the most popular of all fixed-end wrench styles.
  • Also available is a reversible ratcheting combination wrench that allows the user to quickly tighten nuts and bolts without lifting the wrench off and repositioning it after each rotation.


Adjustable Wrench

  • Comes in two styles: locking and non-locking.
  • Non-locking styles feature an adjustable end opening with little provision made for slippage.
  • The locking style also has an adjustable head, but uses a locking mechanism to secure jaws in desired position, eliminating the need for constant readjustment. When properly adjusted to a nut or bolt, it will not slip.


Pipe (Stillson) Wrench

  • Screws pipes into elbows or other threaded devices.
  • Jaws actually bite into the surface to hold it for turning.
  • They should never be used on plated pipe installations because they will badly mar the finish.
  • Aluminum pipe wrenches are popular among professionals because of their lighter weight, but they are more expensive.

Socket (Hinge Handle) Wrench

  • Combines an offset handle with a male drive piece that has a spring-loaded bearing to lock on various size sockets. They can be used at almost any angle since handles may be attached to the head by a jointed hinge device.
  • The most common type is the detachable socket wrench, with square drive for hand use. Common square drive sizes are 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″, and these are normally used in conjunction with a ratchet wrench.
  • Sockets are available with 6-, 8- and 12-point gripping ends, in a full range of inch and metric sizes.


Hex Key Wrench

  • Hex-key wrenches are short, L-shaped tools designed to turn bolts or screws with hexagonal heads.
  • They generally come in sets of different sized wrenches.


Ratchet (Socket) Wrench

  • Available in a variety of handle shapes and lengths and used with sockets to make turning nuts and bolts easier than with a conventional wrench.
  • Available in 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive sizes and are used with socket wrenches.
  • Available with a round or teardrop-shaped head and contains a reversing mechanism to facilitate tightening or loosening a fastener.
  • Popular accessories include flex handles, speeder handles, T-handles, extensions of various lengths and universal joints to work on fasteners in hard-to-reach locations.


Locking Wrench

  • Through a locking action, jaws can be locked in a holding position with pressure up to 1 ton.
  • Can also be used as hand vises, holding clamps, pipe wrenches and hand vise pliers.
  • Available with both curved and straight jaws.


Torque Wrench

  • Designed to permit an operator to determine applied torque on bolts, nuts and other fasteners.
  • Torque value (generally measured in foot pounds) is set to a micrometer scale on the handle or preset by an adjusting screw in the handle.
  • Typically has square drives to use standard detachable 3/8” and 3/4” sockets.
  • Available with audible signal (clicking sound) or visual display.
  • Many torque wrenches are available with dual scales for conventional and metric measurements.

Chain Wrench

  • A pipe wrench used for tightening and loosening odd-shaped objects, such as pipes and square objects.
  • Has an adjustable chain that wraps around the object, with ends that connect teeth of chain to engage and turn the object.
  • Some models feature a locking mechanism with ratcheting action for turning in either direction.


Wood Chisel

  • Comes in a variety of sizes and styles. The butt chisel has a short blade that ranges from about 2-1/2″-3″ long. It is used by pattern makers, cabinetmakers, carpenters and do-it-yourselfers for carving and paring, particularly in tight spots. It can be used with hard-faced hammers.
  • A firmer chisel is square-sided, medium-duty chisel and has a longer blade, usually from 3-1/2″-6″ and is used mainly for cutting deeply into wood. It should be used with soft-faced hammers.
  • Paring chisels are for light-duty, detailed work such as trimming cabinets.


Cold Chisel

  • Also comes in a variety of styles, including flat (the most widely used), cape, diamond-point and round-nose.
  • A cold chisel should be used only for cutting and chipping cold metal (unhardened steel, cast and wrought iron, aluminum, brass and copper), never masonry.


Masonry Chisel

  • Used when cutting masonry, such as concrete block and brick.
  • Some models available with teeth for cutting soft stone.
  • One variation is the star drill, used for making holes in masonry to anchor fasteners.


Floor Chisel

  • Designed to remove flooring material
  • Larger head design, generally 3”, increases striking area.
  • Some models available with a target guard to protect against mishits.


Retractable-Blade Utility Knife

  • General-use tool designed to cut materials such as drywall, cardboard cartons, laminates and plastic.
  • Blade retracts into body of knife for safer operation and storage.
  • Some models have up to 3 different blade positions for different cutting depths.
  • Higher-end models have rubber grips and ergonomic designs for better gripping.
  • Handle generally unscrews or swivels open to permit blade changes.
  • Many models have extra blade storage in handle.
  • Some models have spring-loaded blades that automatically retract when the knife is released.

Fixed-Blade Utility Knife

  • Blade locks between the halves of the knife to provide more blade stability than retractable models.
  • Handle generally unscrews or swivels open to permit blade changes.
  • Higher-end models have rubber grips and ergonomic designs for better gripping.
  • Unlike retractable knives, accepts larger or special-purpose blades that can’t retract into the handle.


Snap-Blade Knife

  • Blade sections snap off (generally between 8 and 13 per blade) without having to open the tool to change blades.
  • Generally used for cutting light- and medium-duty materials such as wallpaper, rubber, vinyl and leather, or materials with adhesive backing that will stick to the blade and prevent sharp, accurate cutting.

Carpet Knife

  • Designed for trimming and cutting carpet and other flooring materials.
  • Angular design provides easier access to hard-to-reach places.
  • Many models feature retractable blades and blade storage in handle.


Precision Knife

  • A pencil-sized tool used for precision cutting of lightweight materials, such as paper or poster board.
  • Also called a hobby knife or X-Acto® knife.
  • Ultra-sharp blades made from surgical steel come in a variety of sizes in triangle and curved shapes.
  • Contains a built-in chuck to hold and secure blades.
  • Some models feature blade storage in the handle.


Straight Snips

  • Also called regular snips.
  • Used for all straight-line cutting jobs.
  • Cutting edges are sharpened at 78 degree to 85 degree angles.
  • Range in size from 7” to 16” in length.


Combination Snips

  • More versatile than regular snips.
  • Used for straight and moderately irregular cuts in either direction.
  • Range in size from 7” to 16” in length.


Duckbill Snips

  • Also called circular snips.
  • Feature long nose design.
  • Used for cutting tight circles or other curved designs in either direction.

Aviation Snips

  • Also called compound leverage snips.
  • Available in right-handed, left-handed or straight models corresponding to the various directions of the cut.
  • Cuts easier because of double fulcrum, compound leverage action.


Offset Snips

  • Have offset handles to keep hands above work.
  • Cut easier because of compound leverage.
  • Designed especially for long, inside cuts and are available for right or left cutting direction. However, both models will make straight cuts as well.

Bolt Cutters

  • Are heavy-duty cutters that cut bolts, threaded rods, cables and other metals from 1/16″ to 5/8″ thick.
  • Made from drop-forged tool steel and range from 12″ to 36″ long. 24” and 30” are most common.
  • The longer cutters have greater strength.
  • Special leverage joints allow great pressure to be applied with minimum effort.
  • End-cut cutters operate similarly to end-cut pliers, with special jaws available to cut special metals.


Bench Plane

  • An adjustable tool used for trimming, beveling, fitting and shaping wood, and smoothing rough spots left by sawing and drilling.
  • Blades are positioned bevel side down at a 45-degree angle.
  • Models range in size from 9″ smooth planes to 24″ jointer planes.
  • Smooth planes are smaller (generally 9” to 10”) and lightweight and used for flattening and smoothing the face of boards and other all-around work.
  • Jack planes are longer (12″ to 17″) and heavier than smooth planes, have more cutting capacity and are used for smoothing and squaring rough lumber surfaces.
  • Jointer planes, the longest (approximately 22” to 24” long) and heaviest of planes, are used to shape edges of doors or long boards so two boards may be joined together to make a close fitting joint.

Block Plane

  • Is much smaller than bench planes and used for smoothing the end grain of boards and shaping small pieces of wood.
  • Blades are positioned bevel side up and set at a low angle (12 degrees in low angle models and 20 degrees in standard models) to permit very thin shaving of work piece.
  • Available in both adjustable and non-adjustable models, adjustable block planes feature steel screws, usually on the end of the plane, to vary the height of the cutting iron.
  • Some block planes have an adjustable mouth to vary chip thickness. A very narrow mouth is best for fine finishing, while a wider mouth allows quick stock removal on less critical work.

Trim Plane

  • Smaller plane, generally 3-1/2: long.
  • Ideal for light detail work, including model work and sculpture.


Surface Forming Plane

  • Also called a pocket plane, the blade files away material like a cheese grater.
  • Blade design makes them much safer than most cutting tools and easier to use than a conventional plane.
  • Used for quick, single-handed trimming and cutting, particularly on drywall and PVC.
  • Leaves a rough surface on wood.
  • Available in regular, round and half-round patterns.


  • Used for detailed shaping of curved work, such as chair legs and seats, as well as for chamfering edges.
  • Replaceable cutters adjust for depth of cut and shaving thickness.
  • Generally 10” in length.

Rabbet Plane

  • Also called a rebate plane.
  • Lightweight tool (generally 4” long) used by cabinetmakers and do-it-yourselfers to cut rectangular recesses (called rabbets or rebates) out of the edges of boards and to make grooves in flat surfaces.
  • Has an adjustable mouth for either fine or course work.
  • Cutter is positioned at front of plane to enable tool to fit closely into corners


Router Plane

  • Used to make dados or grooves in areas inaccessible to a regular plane.
  • A variety of blade styles are available.
  • Requires two-handed operation.
  • Can be adjusted to control size and depth of cut.


Framing Square

  • 90 degree L-shaped tool made from one piece of material (steel or aluminum), with the long end (blade) usually 24″ and the short end (tongue) 16″.
  • Also known as carpenter’s or rafter square because this tool is generally used for laying out rafters and marking stair stringers.
  • Similar squares are also available in other sizes (8″ x 12″).
  • Generally has framing tables (rafter and Essex tables) etched into the body to provide information on roof framing.
  • Also has ruler increments printed on the inside and outside edges.

Try Square

  • An L-shaped tool used as a guide for pencil markings of 90 degree cuts and to check the edges and ends of boards for squareness.
  • Also used to determine whether a board is the same depth for its entire length.
  • Try squares have broad 6″ to 12″ blades set at right angles, with wood, plastic or metal handles.
  • Also available is a try/miter square, which features a 45º corner edge.

Combination Square

  • Has a grooved blade and head that can be adjusted (by loosening the thumbscrew) to many locations along the 12” blade to provide different measurements and for scribing.
  • One edge of the head (which is usually metal or plastic) has a 90-degree fence for crosscutting while the other has a 45-degree angle for use as a miter square.
  • The head also contains one level vial to check for level and plumb and a scratch awl for scribing.
  • Some combination square sets are available with an attached protractor that is movable throughout 180º for setting the blade at any angle within that range.

Sliding T-Bevel Square

  • Used for locating and transferring any angle between 0 to 360 degrees.
  • Has a movable blade that can adjust to any angle by loosening and tightening wing nut or locking mechanism.
  • Available with plastic or wooden handles.
  • Also used for bisecting angles for mitering when used with a compass.

Speed Square

  • A small triangle-shaped square with a flanged edge for butting against the edge of a work piece to draw 90-degree or 45-degree angles.
  • It has different angle measurements marked on its surface and edges.
  • Also used as a cutting fence for circular power saws.
  • Markings on diagonal edge correspond to layout dimensions for rafters and stairs.
  • Generally available in 7” and 12” sizes.

Drywall Square

  • Useful tool for measuring and marking 4’x8’ sheets of drywall, plywood and other 4’x8’ building materials.
  • Often used as a guide to score drywall.
  • Some models available with adjustable bevel for marking and scoring angles.

Folding Square

  • Square that conveniently folds for easy storage.
  • Locking mechanism locks tool securely for use.
  • Angle markings from 0 to 60 degrees.
  • Often used in tiling projects.
  • Generally available in sizes ranging from 12”x12” to 48”x48”.

Tape Reel

  • Typically 100′ long and designed to measure long distances.
  • Tape is contained in durable case and is generally rewound by a crank on the side of the case, with a small hook on the end for hooking onto objects to be measured.
  • Common tool of builders for measuring foundations.

Retractable Tape Measure

  • Ranges in blade length from 6′ to 35′, with 10’, 16′ and 25′ being common sizes.
  • The concave blade measuring rule varies in width from 1/4″ to 1-1/4″—wider tapes are easier to extend over longer distances without collapsing.
  • A spring mechanism contained in the housing automatically retracts the tape.
  • A locking mechanism locks the tape in place. Some models have buttons that slide to lock the blade, while others have levers and toggles that permit the tape to retract when squeezed.
  • Many have markings for laying out studs on 16″ centers or other specialized markings.

Digital Tape Measure

  • Similar to a conventional tape measure but with electronic features added, such as a digital readout to make measurement readings more precise and the ability to convert fractions to decimals or even metric equivalents.
  • Another useful feature is a function that compensates for the size of the tape case when taking inside measurements, such as a window frame or a door jamb.
  • Some models have a memory function which holds a measurement without having to write it down. Other models have a voice recorder to make it easy to keep track of multiple measurements.

Ultrasonic Measuring Device

  • Tapeless electronic devices allow a single person to measure interior spaces (generally up to 50 feet) without assistance.
  • These electronic tapes often include built-in calculations for area (square footage) and volume (cubic footage) and can store measurements in memory.

Folding Rule

  • Measuring device consisting of 6″ to 8″ hardwood, steel or aluminum lengths connected by spring joints that unfold for measuring distances.
  • Some models include an extension slide for measuring closed-in areas such as doorways and window frames where a regular folding rule will not work. The rule is unfolded as far as possible, then the slide is extended and its measurement added to the overall measurement for a total measurement reading.
  • Different models are designed for specific measuring needs of masons, engineers, carpenters and plumbers.

Measuring Wheel

  • Consists of a wheel, handle and odometer designed for lengthy exterior measurements—up to 10,000 feet.
  • Features include collapsible or telescoping handles, gear-driven counters, a variety of wheel sizes, different types of tread materials and optional carrying cases.
  • A push button reset returns the counter to zero.
  • Wheel diameters range from 4” to 25”, with professionals generally opting for the large-wheeled units that are suitable for rough terrain.

Yardstick Metal Rule

  • Used for measuring and cutting roll and sheet material using straight edge as a fence.
  • Also called a straight-edge rule, as thicker, rigid models can be used as a saw guide.
  • Some models measure in 1/8” and 1/16” increments on one side and in 1/32” and 1/64” increments on the other.


  • Tool consisting of two curved pieces of metal that are joined at one end with a pivot that has a screw to adjust the distance between the two pieces.
  • Used for transferring measurements from a model or prototype to a part being produced.
  • Can also be used to measure the inside or outside of holes or objects that cannot be reached easily with a graduated measuring device.
  • Common models include inside and outside calipers.

Dial Calipers

  • Tool used for measuring inside and outside diameters of cylinder-shaped objects, such as drill bits and pipe.
  • Dial readout provides accurate measurements in 1/64” or .01”.
  • Metric models are also available.
  • Other models include vernier calipers, which don’t have a dial and require the user to read from measurements on linear scale, and electronic digital calipers, which have a digital display readout.


  • A caliper shaped like the letter “P” used for close tolerance work on tools such as drill presses and lathes.
  • These devices can make inside, outside and depth measurements to within .001″.

Pitch Gauge

  • Used to determine the exact thread pitch needed for replacing screws and nuts.

Stud Finder

  • Stud finders are devices that help locate wall studs, enabling you to hang pictures, mirrors and shelves securely.
  • Come in two basic types—electronic, which finds the stud by measuring the density of the wall, and magnetic, which detects nails and/or metal studs in the wall.
  • In addition to wood and metal studs, some advanced electronic stud finders will locate pipe, conduit, electrical wires and even reinforcing bar buried up to 6” in concrete.

Carpenter’s Level

  • Tool that employs bubble vials positioned in the center and both ends to check vertical and horizontal surfaces for level or plumb.
  • Made of either hardwood with brass binding, metal (aluminum, magnesium) or high-impact plastic.
  • Typically 24″ to 48″ long, but some models (generally mason’s levels) are longer and can be up to 72” in length.
  • Some models include split level or graduated vials that have two sets of lines, with the outside line representing a 2 percent grade that conforms to the slope required for gutters and waste lines to drain properly.
  • Some models include electronic features to calculate angles on sloped surfaces (roof pitches, stair slopes and drainage angles) and display reading in degrees, percent slope or inches per feet (rise/run).

Torpedo Level

• Usually 9″ long and 1” wide, it is used for obtaining readings in close quarters where a typical carpenter’s level won’t fit.

• Because of its compact size, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, hobbyists and homeowners often choose torpedo levels.

• Enhancement features include magnetized models and models incorporating a battery-operated light for working in dark areas.


Laser Level

  • Also called laser chalk lines, they are used to level and provide reference lines for hanging pictures, tile work, etc.
  • New features for electronic levels include having preset angles commonly used in construction, a self-leveling feature, and offering a graphical display that tells the user the direction and extent to rotate toward level or plumb.
  • Accessories include a variety of mounting devices such as clamps and magnetic mounts that make setup and use easier and more convenient.

Plumb Bob

  • A small, tapered, pointed weight suspended from string or cord used to measure true vertical plumb or depth.
  • Commonly used in construction and framing.
  • Many chalk line reels can also be used as plumb bobs, hanging the tool from its string.

Line Level

  • Used for checking level over distances, such as when installing a patio, floor or a suspended ceiling, and when there is no flat surface available.
  • Generally attached to a string stretched between two points, allowing the user to make an accurate height comparison between the two points.

Circular Level

  • Circular in shape, this tool is used for leveling flat surfaces over a 360 degree plane, such as table tops and appliances.
  • Also called Bull’s Eye or Surface Level.
  • When bubble appears in center of circular vial, piece is level.

Angel Level

  • Locates angles and pitches (slopes) from 0 to 90 degrees.
  • Commonly used when installing drain lines to check for proper fall of pipe.
  • Generally reads slope or pitch with inches per foot rise scale.

Post Level

  • Used to set and plumb posts and columns
  • Attaches to post and displays level in two directions.
  • Also available in magnetic models for positioning waste lines in plumbing applications.

Rotary Laser Level

  • Rotates 360º and projects a level reference point on all vertical surfaces within range
  • Most units come with either a self leveling or manual leveling  base as well as floor and wall mounts.
  • Generally accurate to 1/4 ” at 100’ for manual leveling units and 1/8” at 100’ for self-leveling units.

Laser Plumb Line

  • A self-leveling device that projects a vertical laser line onto any surface
  • The laser line is always visible because it is not covered up with a pencil mark and it is not affected by wind like a plumb bob.

Single-Bit Axe

  • Most popular style of axe, the single-bit axe is used to fell, trim or prune trees, to split or cut wood.
  • The easiest and safest axe for inexperienced woodcutters to use because it only has one cutting edge.
  • The other end of the head, the poll, forms a hammer for driving wooden or plastic stakes. It should never be used to strike splitting wedges, steel posts, stone or any hard object.
  • Handles for single-bit axes are curved to help increase leverage. Axe handles are made of hickory and range from 20″ to 36″ long. The most common is 36″.
  • Common head patterns include Michigan, Dayton, Kentucky, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Double-Bit Axe

  • Performs the same function as single-bit axe, but has two cutting edges—one on each end of the head.
  • Generally used by professional lumbermen.
  • Double-bit axes have straight handles because the handle must be symmetrical with the double-edge head.
  • Common head patterns include Western, Michigan, Swamping and Reversible.

Carpenter’s Hatchet

  • Also called a half hatchet.
  • For general use of felling and trimming trees or notching wood.
  • Other popular hatchet models include Hunter’s Hatchets, Broad Hatchets, and Camping Hatchets.

Shingling Hatchet

  • Generally used for installing wood shakes and shingles made of wood, fiberglass and composition.
  • Some models have a replaceable adjustable gauge that helps installer determine the exposed length of a shingle.
  • Many models also include nail slots and draw knives built into the head.
  • Handles can be made of hickory, fiberglass, tubular steel or solid steel.

Splitting Maul

  • Similar to a sledgehammer, but one end of the head is wedge-shaped.
  • Used to make a starting notch in wood.
  • A wedge is then inserted and struck with the hammer end of the maul head to finish splitting the wood.

Splitting Wedge

  • Tool used to finish splitting wood when struck with splitting maul after a starting notch is made.
  • Made of steel, aluminum and plastic.
  • Steel wedges are forged from a solid piece of high-carbon steel and may be heat-treated.
  • Aluminum and plastic wedges are designed primarily for use with chain saws and crosscut saws to hold the kerf apart to prevent binding.
  • Wedges should be struck with a sledge or woodchopper’s maul having a larger striking face than the head of the wedge.
  • Never strike the steel wedge with the cutting edge of the maul.

Rip Saw

  • Has large, chisel-shaped teeth, usually 5-1/2 teeth per inch, and is made to cut with the wood grain.
  • Blade lengths measure from 24″ to 28″. • Teeth are cross-filed to ensure that the chisel point is set square to the direction of cutting for best performance.
  • This saw is best held at a 60º angle to the surface of the board being cut. The ripping action of the saw produces a coarse, ragged cut that makes the saw unsatisfactory for finish work.

Crosscut Saw

  • Designed for cutting across wood grain and produces a smoother cut than rip saws.
  • Has teeth shaped like knife points to crumble out wood between cuts.
  • The most commonly used crosscut saws are 10- to 12-point for fine work and 7- or 8-point for faster cutting. 10 teeth per inch is considered general purpose
  • Blade lengths range from 20″ to 28″, with 26″ the most popular.
  • Can also be used to cut plywood.
  • Best cutting angle for this saw is about 45º.


  • Is a fine-toothed saw designed to cut metal or plastic. Hacksaws consist of a blade held in a steel frame with relatively high tension to hold the blade rigidly straight. High-tension models (with tension to 32,000 p.s.i.) are also available.
  • Blades come in coarse-, medium (18 tpi), fine (24 teeth per inch and very fine-toothed (32 tpi). Regular or standard blades are used for general-purpose cutting; high-speed or bi-metal blades for cutting hard, extra-tough steel.
  • Most models can be adjusted to hold various blade lengths. Some have both horizontal and vertical positions for blades. Others provide blade storage.
  • A close-quarter (or utility) hacksaw holds and positions a hacksaw blade so it can be used effectively in narrow spaces and slots.
  • Replacement blades include rod saw blades capable of cutting through most hard materials—spring and stainless steel, chain, brick, glass and tile.

Compass or Keyhole Saw

  • Cuts curved or straight-sided holes.
  • Saw blades are narrow, tapered nearly to a point to fit into most spaces.
  • Blades come in three or four styles that can be changed to fit the job.
  • Some models have induction-hardened teeth for longer life without sharpening.
  • Keyhole saws are small compass saws with finer teeth that can cut metal.
  • Turret head keyhole blades can be rotated and locked in several positions for easier cutting in tight, awkward spots.

Coping Saw

  • Used for cutting irregular shapes, curves and intricate decorative patterns.
  • Name comes from saw’s usefulness in coping back the joints of molding when fitting two pieces together.
  • Saw consists of a thin blade and a C-shaped steel tension frame.
  • The removable blade is typically 6-1/2″ long.


  • Is a thick-bladed saw with a stiff, reinforced back to provide the rigidity necessary in precision cutting.
  • It varies in length from 10″ to 30″ and is found in tooth counts from seven to 14 teeth per inch.
  • Used with miter boxes to cut miters.

Bow Saw

  • Consists of a tubular steel frame and a saw blade for fast cutting of all woods.
  • The bow saw’s frame is important, since the thin blade, usually 3/4″ wide, must be held under high tension for fast cutting.
  • Advantages of this general-purpose saw are its all-around utility and light weight.
  • Some bow saws are designed to hold hacksaw blades as well as standard bow saw blades. These multi-purpose saws can be used to cut wood, metal or plastic.

Dovetail Saw

  • Similar to a backsaw, with stiff reinforced back, only smaller with finer teeth.
  • Used for fine finish cuts, such as cutting dovetail joints in woodworking.
  • Common saw for trimming molding and furniture repair.
  • Can also be used to cut plastics and laminates.

Toolbox Saw

  • Also called Panel Saw or Short Cut Saw.
  • Good for ripping, crosscutting and general cutting of lumber, plywood and particleboard and plastic materials.

Plywood Saw

  • Is specially designed for sawing plywood, veneers, laminates and moldings.
  • The blade, which cuts on the push stroke, is curved downward at the end to allow user to start cuts in the center of a board.
  • Not designed for cutting solid wood.
  • Standard saw lengths are 12″-13″, generally with 14 teeth per inch.

Pull Saw

  • Is similar to most traditional saws except the teeth are designed to cut with a pulling motion.
  • Pull saws cut wood faster and with less effort because of the thinner and more flexible blade.
  • The saws feature teeth diamond-ground on three cutting edges.
  • Because of the flexibility of the blade and the minimal set to the teeth, the saws are excellent for flush cutting.
  • Mini pull saws that cut sharply on the pull stroke are used for precision carpentry.

Retractable Saw

  • Comes in a variety of designs and is engineered for the blades to either retract or fold back into a plastic or wooden handle.
  • Also called a folding saw.
  • Some models have combination features, such as utility knives, on end opposite saw blade.

Plastic Pipe Saw

  • Designed to cut PVC and ABS plastic.
  • Can also cut wood and drywall.

Miter Box

  • Used to help cut exact angles for wood trim and rafters.
  • Better models provide a mechanism for a backsaw.
  • They are made of plastic, hardwood or aluminum.
  • Some boxes feature magnetic mount guides. The magnets grasp and hold the saw to the miter box saw guide or hold the saw blade to the plane of the saw guide.


  • The most common type of clamp—consists of a C-shaped frame, made of either forged steel or cast iron, into which an adjustable screw is assembled to change the jaw opening.
  • The size of a C-clamp is measured by its jaw capacity—the dimension of the largest object the frame can accommodate with the screw fully extended. Most range in jaw capacity from 2” to 10”.
  • Also important is depth of throat, the distance from the center line of the screw to the inside edge of the frame. C-clamps range from 3/4″ to 14″.
  • Most have a sliding cross-pin handle or a wing nut that is used to tighten the screw.

Bar Clamp

  • Has a clamping device built on a flat bar, which is usually made of steel.
  • The length of the bar determines the capacity of the clamp, which is the dimension of the largest object that can be accommodated between its clamping jaws.
  • “Reach” is the distance from the edge of the bar to the end of the clamping jaws.
  • Screw pressure applies the final clamping load.
  • Bar clamps are used for clamping large objects, making them popular with woodworkers and hobbyists.

One-Handed Bar Clamp

  • These are bar clamps designed with a pistol grip to allow the user to tighten or loosen the clamp instead of screwing it.
  • Can be adjusted by using just one hand on a trigger switch.
  • Perhaps the most significant innovation to come about recently in the area of clamps.
  • Available in jaw openings from 6″ to 50″ and a variety of sizes

Pipe Clamp

  • Can be mounted to standard threaded or unthreaded pipe to clamp boards together while gluing.
  • Clamping can be performed from one end or both, and jaws can be positioned at the ends or anywhere along the pipe.
  • Pipe clamps can also be quickly converted from a clamp to a spreader.
  • A hardened steel set screw holds the head firmly on the pipe, but is easily loosened. The 3/4″ size has a crank handle, and depth from screw center to pipe is 11/16″. The 1/2″ size has a crosspin handle, with depth from screw center to pipe of 7/8″.

Handscrew Clamp

  • Also called a cabinetmaker’s clamp, it consists of two hardwood clamping jaws adjusted to the work by two opposing steel screw spindles assembled into the jaws.
  • The jaws adjust to a variety of angles and come in a wide range of sizes up to 10”.
  • They are used for clamping wood, metal, plastic and fabrics.
  • Handscrew adaptors can be used to convert handscrews into miter clamps.
  • Also available are handscrew kits so woodworkers can make their own jaws.

Corner Clamp

  • Designed to hold miter or butt joints at a 90º angle.
  • They can be used for gluing picture frames, cabinets, molding and trim.

Spring Clamp

  • Similar to a clothes pin, this clamp consists of two metal jaws to which clamping pressure is applied by use of a steel spring.
  • They are designed for use with thin materials.
  • Spring clamps are versatile enough for home, hobby or professional use indoors or outdoors, holding round or odd-shaped objects.
  • They typically come with 1″, 2″ or 3″ jaw openings.

Web Clamp

  • Also called band clamps, they apply even clamping pressure around irregular shapes or large objects to hold tight by means of a spring-loaded locking fixture.
  • Commonly used on cylinder-shapes and to hold chair legs while gluing.

Hold-Down Clamp

  • Is the screw portion of a “C” clamp, designed to be secured onto any surface, with the screw used to apply clamping pressure.
  • Also available in locking models, similar to locking clamps.

Edging Clamp

  • Three-way clamp resembling a C-Clamp with a third screw located in the middle of the throat.
  • Used to apply pressure at a right angle to the side of the work surface.
  • Commonly used for installing molding and trim on furniture and countertops.

Welding Clamp

  • Also called Locking “C”-Clamp or welder’s pliers.
  • A unique type of clamp ideal for holding work while welding.
  • Typical jaw opening sizes range from 2-1/8″ to 8.”

Bench Vise

  • Tool that mounts on a workbench or table to hold work pieces securely in place between two flat jaws.
  • Generally used in light-duty applications.
  • Available in both stationary and swivel models to hold work at various angles and positions.
  • A threaded spindle opens and closes the jaws of the vise to hold and release work piece.
  • Generally has jaws ranging in length from 3″ to 8″.
  • Jaw opening ranges from 4” to 12” in different models.

Woodworking Vise

  • Has jaws made of wooden pads to hold work piece securely in place without marring surface of work piece.
  • Generally mounted to the side of a workbench
  • Some woodworking vises have a fast-acting screw arrangement for the rapid positioning of the movable jaw prior to clamping.
  • Smaller vises have continuous screws and are light and easy to clamp on a workbench or sawhorse.

Utility Vise

  • Similar to a bench vise.
  • Generally has jaws ranging in length from 3″ to 6″.
  • Better models feature swivel bases so the vise may be turned to the best angle for each particular job.
  • Some utility vises either have cast-in pipe jaws or permit special curved-face pipe jaws to be inserted between the regular jaws to add versatility.

Angle Vise

  • Contains marked adjustments to permit clamping at different angles.
  • Can also be adjusted to a flat position and used as a regular vise.
  • Can be locked into any position with a thumb screw, and bolts can be tightened for permanent positioning.

Clamp Vise

  • Is a combination fixed and portable vise, featuring a bottom clamp for easy attachment to workbenches, sawhorses or tables.
  • The best choice for portable use.

Drill Press Vise

  • Great for holding work piece still when drilling, tapping and reaming on a drill press.
  • Most models have grooves machined on both sides for mounting to machine table.
  • Used for 90-degree machining of sidebodies.

Vacuum Vise

  • Light-duty vise that has a lever-operated suction cup on the bottom to secure to tabletop or other work surface.

Staple Gun

  • Also called manual power staplers, this tool shoots a variety of staples (and many times brad nails) with a one-hand lever operation.
  • Good for a variety of jobs requiring material to be held with one hand and fastened with the other, such as lining closets, installing insulation, tacking ceiling tile or fastening roofing paper.
  • One new design features a handle that is squeezed toward the front instead of the rear, making it easier to use and control.
  • Other models are designed to fasten a variety of materials, such as different types of wire, including telephone wire, heavy-duty wire and insulated wire, etc.
  • Electric and cordless staple guns are also available. They have the same uses as the hand-operated guns but the staples are ejected automatically with the pull of a trigger.

Hammer Tacker

  • Also called a “slap tacker,” this tool resembles a hammer in design, with the stapling mechanism in the head and the staples stored in the handle.
  • The unit is used like a hammer and automatically drives a staple with each blow.
  • Commonly used by construction crews to install roll felt roofing paper under roofing materials.

Desk Stapler

  • Common household and office tool used to staple paper and other lightweight materials together.

Plier Stapler

  • Similar to a desk stapler, but is generally used in heavy-duty work.

Glue Gun

  • Electrically operated glue guns consist of a heating element, nozzle and glue chamber.
  • Glue or caulking sticks are put in the chamber, where they are melted by heat and released through the nozzle. The adhesive cures by cooling. Cordless models are also available.
  • Some models require the operator to maintain pressure on the glue stick with the thumb. Others are self-feeding. The trigger mechanism on some models closes the nozzle to prevent dripping.
  • There are a variety of glues available—both with a gun and in replacement packages including heavy-duty types for wood joints requiring about 60 seconds drying time and lightweight for paper, etc., with shorter drying time.

Rivet Tool

  • Plier-type tool that fastens materials together using rivets. The tool flattens the rivet heads to create a flange that sandwiches the material together.
  • Can be used in place of screws, nails and other fasteners in many applications, such as thin metal, leather and canvas.
  • It is usually purchased in a set containing one or two interchangeable nosepieces that set 1/8″ steel or aluminum rivets or 3/16″ aluminum rivets. Fixed nosepiece models are only capable of setting 1/8″ steel or aluminum rivets.
  • Many rivet tools feature self-storage of the extra nosepieces. Other features include sliding latches to lock handles closed for storage, spring opening handles to make constant usage easy and epoxy finishes to protect the tool.

Tool Box

  • Is available in a variety of configurations and made from a variety of materials, with steel being the most popular.
  • Plastic toolboxes are available in a number of styles as well. Some are suited for light-duty use, while others are comparable to steel in quality.
  • The highest quality plastic boxes are constructed of polypropylene, and some models can hold up to 75 lbs. of tools.
  • Some carpenters and precision tool users use hardwood chests because the wood absorbs rust-producing condensation.
  • Carpenters’ toolboxes are specially designed so carpenters can carry hand saws and framing squares in the same box with other tools.

Tool Caddy

  • Plastic revolving storage container that holds tools and items such as nails, bolts, screws, glue and wire in tiers of circular trays.
  • The caddies are made of a high-impact plastic and feature a ball bearing base plate, allowing the unit to revolve easily.

Work Belt

  • Is generally constructed of leather or nylon and has compartments to keep tools and fasteners organized.
  • Can be purchased as a single unit that comes complete with a belt and separate compartments and pouches for various tools, or as individual components with the belt and pouches sold separately.
  • Most work belts come equipped with a steel or leather hammer loop, a tape measure compartment or clip, and various nail pouches as well as individual compartments for tools and fasteners.
  • Belts generally fit waist sizes from 29” to 46” and even 52” and are constructed of leather or padded nylon for comfort.
  • Some come equipped with compartments for cell phones.

Nail/Tool Pouch

  • Comes in a variety of configurations for holding tools and fasteners.
  • Main pockets generally hold fasteners and smaller, individual compartments hold tools.
  • Generally constructed of leather or nylon.
  • Belt, which is sold separately, fits into slots in pouch.

Wrecking Bar

  • Also known as ripping bars or crowbars, these tools are used in construction, demolition and where pulling nails, ripping wood and similar tasks are done.
  • Those with curved ends are also known as gooseneck bars.
  • Because of their length, usually 24″ or 30″, they have more leverage than hammers, enabling them to pull much larger and longer nails.

Pry Bar

  • Smaller and flatter than a wrecking bar and not designed for heavy-duty prying.
  • Features beveled notches in each chisel-like end and ranges in size from 6″ to 21″.
  • Useful for removing nails with exposed heads and for prying paneling or molding without marring the surface.
  • One type of pry bar features an extra curve, which makes it useful for lifting and holding such things as drywall panels in place.
  • Double claw models provide equal force on push or pull.

Cat’s Paw

  • Tool used to pull nails when nail heads are buried beneath the wood’s surface.
  • Forked chisel end is hammered into wood surrounding nail head until the nail head is positioned between notches. It can then be pulled from below the wood surface.

Nail Set

  • Used to countersink nails before filling with putty, plastic, wood or other filling materials for a smooth surface.
  • Nail sets are sized by 1/32″ and range from 1/32″ to 5/32″.
  • It is important that the correct size set be used for each size nail to prevent enlarging of a small nail hole by too large a set.
  • The pointed end of the nail set should be cupped or hollowed out to avoid splitting the nail head. Self-centering nail sets are available.

Pin Punch

  • Used for driving or removing bushings, pins and keys that have been loosened.
  • Also called a drive pin punch.
  • Shaft has a long taper to the tip, which is flat.

Prick Punch

  • Used to make a very light starter mark that can then be enlarged by a different type of punch (usually a center punch).
  • Also used to mark layout lines.
  • The point of a prick punch has a long bevel.

Starter Punch

• Used to make a starter mark that can be enlarged with a pin punch.

• Generally ranges in length from 4” to 7”.


Center Punch

  • Also known as a nail punch, the point of a center punch has a short bevel.
  • Used for starting holes in wood or metal, or to align rivet or bolt holes.
  • Also used for driving rivets after rivet heads have been removed.
  • Good all-around punch that is useful for most jobs requiring a punch.

Automatic Center Punch

  • Punch that is not stuck by a hammer. It has a spring-actuated internal drive that pushes the attached punch point into the material to be center punched.
  • These punches are available in different sizes and with replaceable screw-on points.

Brick Trowel

  • Punch that is not stuck by a hammer. It has a spring-actuated internal drive that pushes the attached punch point into the material to be center punched.
  • These punches are available in different sizes and with replaceable screw-on points.

Pointing Trowel

  • Used by bricklayers for pointing up their work.
  • Pointing and margin trowels are used for patch work and for cleaning other tools.
  • High-quality pointing and margin trowels are forged in one piece and constructed the same as a brick trowel.
  • The length of pointing trowels may be from 4-1/2″ to 7″. Best sellers are the 5″ and 6″ lengths.
  • A 5″ x 2″ is the most popular margin trowel size.

Concrete Trowel

  • Also called a finishing trowel, this tool is used to compact and finish the surface of the concrete to the required smoothness.
  • Concrete trowels are narrower and longer than plastering trowels.
  • The blade is slightly convex.
  • Blades range in width from 3″-5″ and in length from 11″-20″. Most popular sizes are 14″ x 4″ and 16″ x 4″.

Corner Trowel

  • Used to form inside and outside corners.The most requested sizes are square and 1/2″ radius.

Tiling Trowel

  • Used for spreading mortar on substrate before laying tile.
  • Includes models that make both square and “V” notches.
  • Notch sizes range from 1/8” to ¼”.

Brick Jointer

  • Used to strike joints of brick walls for a finished appearance.
  • Because it receives hard wear, the tool is heat-treated.
  • Each end is a different size to make different size rounded joints.
  • The most popular combinations are 1/2″ x 5/8″ and 3/4″ x 7/8″.


  • Is made of aluminum, magnesium, wood, cork or rubber.
  • The most popular with concrete finishers is wood and magnesium.
  • The best-selling sizes in wood are 12″ x 5″ and 16″ x 3-1/2″ while the popular magnesium float is 16″ x 3-1/8″.

Bull Float

  • Used by concrete finishers to float large areas of concrete.
  • The most popular sizes are between 42″ and 48″ long and are 8″ wide.
  • Handle sections either 5′ or 6′ long can be joined together so that a finisher can reach out 15′ to 20′ over a slab.

Grout Float

  • Used to push grout into spaces between tile.
  • Consists of a handle with a thick foam rubber pad that is generally ¼” thick.

Tuck Pointer

  • Also called a joint filler, these tools apply new mortar between old bricks.
  • They are usually 6-3/4″ long by 1/4″-1″ wide.
  • The best models are constructed in one piece.

Concrete Edger

  • Tool that produces a radius at the edge of a concrete slab to minimize chipping.

Concrete Groover

  • Is used for cutting joints in concrete to control cracking.
  • Common groove sizes range from ¼” to ½”” wide and are generally ½” deep.

Flat File

  • Rectangular-shaped file with a single set of teeth used for general sharpening of metal objects.
  • Common types include millflat and hand, depending on thickness and the taper.
  • A flat double-cut file is commonly used to sharpen mower and axe blades where a mill bastard file is commonly used to sharpen shovel blades.
  • A hand single-cut file is used for more precise smoothing and for deburring metal and plastic.

Round File

  • Also called a rat-tail file.
  • Cylinder shaped tool used to remove stock from round holes in order to make them larger or smoother.
  • Also used to remove burrs from the inside of pipe.

Half-Round File

  • File that is flat on one side and round on the other.
  • Used for removing stock and rounding edges on curved metal pieces.
  • Can be used on concave, convex and flat surfaces, depending on side being used.

Taper File

  • Triangular shaped single-cut file generally used to sharpen gullets between saw teeth.
  • Also called a taper saw or a triangular file.
  • Generally 6” in length with a tapered body.

Chain Saw File

  • Is made for both round-hooded and square-hooded chain saw teeth.
  • For round hooded teeth, the file must be held level against the bevel of the cutting surface of the tooth at an angle of 25° to 45° with the saw blade.
  • File direction is off the cutting edge, pressing back and slightly up during the stroke.


  • Type of file used to shape wood.
  • Teeth are rougher than a file’s teeth for rapid removal of wood stock.
  • Rasp-cut files have individually punched teeth shaped like pyramids that are entirely separate from each other.

Hand File

  • Also called a shoe rasp or four-in-hand rasp/file.
  • Features four files in one, including a file section and a rasp section on the flat side, and a file section and a rasp section on the half-round side.
  • Handy for a wide variety of filing jobs.

File Cleaner

  • Also called a file card, this tool contains a brush used to clean out file grooves.
  • Generally used on finer cut files to remove sawdust and metal particles.

Sharpening Stone

  • Available in diamondoiled and dry models, these tools are used to sharpen various blades of cutting tools.
  • Diamond whetstones sharpen using the diamond dust from the stone.
  • Oil stones must be oiled to avoid accumulation of the metal particles from the tools being sharpened. To oil the stone, put a drop or two or lightweight household oil on the stone before each use. Also, new stones should be soaked in a bath of oil for several days before use.
  • Flat whetstones are the most common type of oil stones with both a smooth side and a coarse side for various sharpening requirements.
  • Drystones wear out much faster than oil stones because the stone’s surface crumbles away when sharpening.
  • Be sure to study manufacturer literature to recommend proper stones for different types of blades.

Drywall Taping Knife

  • Is used for taping drywall joints and spreading drywall joint compound between wallboard seams.
  • Tempered stainless steel blades bow for feathering.
  • It can be used in covering nail spots and other indentations in the board as well.
  • Blades range in size from 4” to 14”, with the most popular blade widths being 8” and 10”.
  • Handles are constructed of either wood, plastic or ergonomic foam rubber for added comfort.


  • Trowel designed for holding plaster and drywall joint compound during application.
  • Generally made of lightweight aluminum or magnesium in 13″ or 13-1/2″ square sizes.

Drywall Finishing Trowel

  • Designed for smoothing the various layers of joint compound when finishing drywall.
  • Has a slight concave bow in the blade that helps to feather mud when making drywall joints.
  • The tempered, flexible steel blade is securely attached to a lightweight aluminum mounting.
  • Handle varieties include smoothly turned basswood handle and ergonomic plastic.
  • The most popular size is 11″ x 4-1/2″.

Drywall Corner Trowel

  • Is used in applying compound to both sides of a corner at one time.
  • Comes in both inside and outside corner models.
  • A flexible one-piece blade of stainless steel eliminates tape snagging.
  • The blade angle is set at 103° to give perfect 90° corners when flexed in use.

Drywall Pole Sander

  • Is used for sanding drywall joints, especially ceilings and side walls without having to use a ladder or stilts.
  • Swiveling head design allows for excellent maneuverability and easy access into corners.
  • Some models feature a hammerhead tip to easily set drywall nails.
  • Sandpaper or sanding screens clamp to head.
  • Extension pole is often sold separately.

Drywall Hand Sander

  • Used for hand sanding drywall joints.
  • Generally accepts ½ sheet of sandpaper or sanding screens.
  • Some models come equipped with a 6” flexible hose adapter that can be connected to a shop vacuum to suction drywall dust during sanding.


  • Used with either a 3/8” or 1/2 ” drill for mixing drywall mud.
  • Has blades attached to a shaft that is inserted into power drill.
  • Shaft lengths generally range between 16” and 28”.

Mud Masher

  • Hand powered device used to mix drywall joint compound.
  • Features hardwood handle and square, grooved head.

Mud Pan

  • Pan for holding drywall joint compound in hand during application process.
  • Generally 12” in length with tapered sides for easily applying joint compound onto taping knife.
  • Plastic models generally have a replaceable scraping bar for cleaning excess joint compound from taping knives and trowels.
  • Galvanized steel models feature watertight seams and sheared sides.

Screening Tool

  • Used when installing door or window screening.
  • Has a cylindrical handle and bladed wheels on each end.
  • One end is tapered at the edge to help push the screening and spline into the proper slot of the frame.

Straight Edge Rake

  • Used to pull leaves and debris toward the user.
  • Also used to gather up heavy trash such as sticks and stones.

Sweep Rake

  • Used like a broom to pull leaves and debris past the user.
  • Fan-shaped.
  • May have a straight or round leading edge.

Shrub Rake

  • Used to rake around small plants and shrubs.
  • The flexible tines may have a straight or rounded edge.

Landscape Rake

  • Has a wide head braced with brackets attached to the handle.
  • Used for spreading dirt, gravel and sand.

Level Head Garden Rake

  • Has a level head set close to the handle.
  • Used to break up and smooth soil after it has been spaded and cultivated.
  • Has sharp, curved steel teeth to pulverize dirt clods.
  • The straight back is good for leveling the soil for planting.

Bow Head Garden Rake

  • Rake head is attached to the handle with a long, curved bows extending from each end of the head.
  • Handles are usually 48” to 54” long.
  • Used to break up and smooth soil after it has been spaded and cultivated.
  • Has sharp, curved steel teeth to pulverize dirt clods.
  • The straight back is good for leveling the soil for planting.

Bamboo Rake

  • Lightweight and inexpensive.
  • Used to gather light debris such as dry leaves or grass.
  • Teeth should be evenly bent for best raking results.

Thatching Rake

  • Used to remove thatch and dead grass from the lawn.
  • Pointed on one side for pulling and rounded on the other for pushing.
  • The wheeled version rolls along the ground. It digs as it is pushed forward and cleans itself of debris as it is pulled backwards.
  • The half-moon version does not have wheels. The user drags it along the ground. The pull stroke digs up the thatch, while the push stroke cleans.

Hand Truck

  • Also known as a dollie.
  • Use to haul trash cans, packages, firewood, etc.
  • Capacity ranges from 100 to 400 lbs., depending on the model.
  • Has either a solid metal toe plate or tubular shape to support the load.
  • Handle styles include pin, safety, continuous or upright.
  • Variations include a bag truck. It performs the same task as a hand truck but also incorporates a hoop to hold plastic trash bags with an elastic cord encircling the hoop. The hoop attaches to the frame to hold varying sizes of lawn bags.

Compression Sprayer

  • Most popular type of sprayer.
  • Also known as a pump sprayer or pressure sprayer.
  • When the sprayer is pumped, air pressure builds in the tank and forces the spray material through the hose, valve, wand and nozzle.
  • The nozzle adjusts spray pattern and the wand facilitates spraying under leaves and other hard-to-reach places.
  • Can be carried by hand, over the shoulder or mounted on a caddy.
  • Do not use galvanized steel sprayers for strong acidic solutions.
  • Plastic sprayers resist corrosion, are lightweight and easy to handle.
  • Typically available in 1- to 5-gallon capacities.

Hose-End Sprayer

  • Plastic or glass container with a spray nozzle.
  • Attaches to the end of a hose.
  • Best for jobs such as foliage feeding or applying fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides to lawns or gardens where large volumes are needed.
  • Spray pattern is normally a wide fan for lawns.
  • Uses a special attachment to prevent drift when spraying herbicides.
  • Comes with an anti-siphon backflow protector to prevent harmful chemicals from backing up into the water supply.

Knapsack Sprayer

  • Carried on the user’s back.
  • Used mostly for commercial applications.
  • Made of either polyethylene or metal.
  • Operates similar to a compressed air sprayer, but can handle a larger capacity.
  • Steady pumping maintains a constant pressure, which produces a uniform discharge rate and spray pattern. Some models only require intermittent pumping.
  • Capacity ranges from 3-1/2 to 5 gallons.

Slide Pump Sprayer

  • Operates by a two-handed, telescopic plunger action that draws the spray material from an open container and discharges it through an adjustable nozzle.
  • Develops pressure up to 150 lbs. and nozzles adjust for spray patterns up to 25’ or 30’.
  • Pump has continuous or intermittent action.

Hand Sprayer

  • One type produces a fine, floating spray suited for controlling insects.
  • Another type produces a wetter, heavier spray for treating exposed surfaces where insects feed, lodge or crawl.
  • Another model, a plant mister, produces mist for indoor plants.
  • Features intermittent, continuous or hydraulic pressure pumping action.

Power Sprayer

  • Powered by a gasoline or electric motor to assure greater application efficiency.
  • Tank is large enough to cover large areas with one filling.
  • Some models can be towed by garden tractors.
  • Used on shrubs, flowers, vegetables and trees.
  • Cordless electric models with 1- to 5-gallon tanks eliminate the work of pumping while spraying.

Plunger Duster

  • Ideal for pest control or for use on flowers or roses.
  • Capacity ranges from 1/4 to 1 lb. for home use and up to 3 lbs. for commercial use.
  • Discharges on the forward stroke of the plunger.
  • Volume of dust discharged and range or carry is controlled by the size of pump and speed of pumping.

Crank Duster

  • Provides a constant flow of dust while the crank is turned.
  • Capacity ranges from 2 lbs. for home use to 15 lbs. for commercial use.
  • Discharge is either in front of or behind the operator.
  • Larger models are carried by straps over the shoulder.
  • A regulating device controls volume of dust discharged.

String Knit Gloves

  • Used for general purpose work applications.
  • Provides cut and abrasion resistance.
  • Some styles are coated with a polymer to provide added protection or to provide a better grip.
  • May be constructed of cotton, a cotton/polyester blend, synthetic fibers and high-performance fibers.

Cotton Gloves

  • General-purpose glove for performing a variety of tasks around the home and garden.
  • Offers good comfort and breathability.
  • Quilted style is good for heavy, multi-purpose applications and added heat protection.
  • Chore gloves are for general purpose work.
  • Some gloves may be marketed for specific tasks, such as garden gloves with patterns or designs to attract certain types of buyers.
  • May be cotton or cotton/polyester blend, canvas, jersey or terrycloth. Often has a knit wrist.
  • Some styles may have PVC dots to improve gripping ability and durability.

Leather Gloves

  • May be solid leather for heavy-duty applications or have a leather palm.
  • Durable and long lasting glove. Handles a wide variety of applications.
  • Construction materials include cowskin, pigskin, goatskin and deerskin.
  • Driving gloves offer dexterity when operating equipment.
  • Welding gloves offer protection from heat and sparks in welding applications.
  • Gunn pattern leather palm gloves offer protection from rough objects, sparks and for cushioning blows.
  • Clute pattern leather palm gloves offer the best economy in leather protection.

Supported Gloves

  • Protects against solvents and resists chemicals, cuts punctures and abrasions.
  • May be constructed of neoprene, nitrile, PVC, rubber or vinyl.
  • One style is a coating over a lining of cotton or other fabric. The fabric helps insulate and adds comfort.
  • Another style is dipped, where the PVC or other material does not have a fabric lining.
  • Neoprene offers the most chemical protection and flexibility.
  • Nitrile offers good abrasion resistance.
  • PVC offers good liquid and solvent protection.
  • Rubber offers good gripping power and cut and puncture resistance.
  • Vinyl offers breathability, gripping power and minimizes absorption.

Glass Paint Scraper

  • Used to scrape excess paint off windows.
  • Can accommodate either single- or double-edge razor blades.
  • The most popular type has a retractable blade that slides out of the handle and back in for safety purposes when not in use.

Vinyl Patching Kit

  • Contains a patching material that forms a permanent patch over holes, tears, etc., in vinyl.
  • Some kits require heat, while other patching material cures in air and requires no heat.
  • Also included in these kits is an assortment of “graining paper,” used to reproduce any design in the vinyl.
  • With a backing behind the hole in the vinyl, patching material is brushed over the hole and proper graining paper is laid over the patch.
  • With material that requires heat, an iron is then pressed over the graining paper to apply the proper heat to the patching material, causing it to take on the pattern of the vinyl and to set properly.
  • An assortment of touch-up colors is available to blend the patch into the color of the vinyl.

Fiberglass Repair Kit

  • Contains fiberglass fabric for patching and waterproofing.
  • It remains flexible after application, preventing reappearance of the same crack.
  • Kits includes fiberglass tape and oil-based mastic.
  • After the tape is applied over the crack, the mastic is brushed over the tape.
  • The edges are then feathered to blend with the surface being repaired.
  • Recommended for repairing rain gutters, roofing, interior walls and wood surfaces.

Heat Gun

  • Aids in removal of paint and varnish, as well as flooring, adhesives and frozen nuts and bolts.
  • Either comes in one setting (generally 750 degrees F or variable heat settings ranging from 200 degrees F to 1,100 degrees F.
  • Higher heat settings are for removing paint and varnish.
  • Lower heat settings are for removing flooring, adhesives and bending or molding plastics.
  • Resembles a hair dryer.

Caulk Gun

  • Tool that applies caulk from cartridges to work area.
  • Ratchet Guns are less expensive, but are more difficult to use. To stop caulk flow on the ratchet gun, the user must turn the piston so the ratchet disengages.
  • Smooth Rod Guns are more expensive, but are easier to use. With a smooth rod gun, the user simply disengages a quick-release thumb plate to stop the flow of caulk. Drip-free smooth rod caulking guns allow the piston to back up slightly after each squeeze so the user does not have to turn the piston or depress a lever to stop the flow of caulk.
  • Some models use an automatic vacuum action to draw any unused caulk back into the nose of the tube.
  • Power Guns that operate with a rechargeable battery pack are becoming popular with pros and serious d-i-yers.


  • Comes in five general types, including garnet, emery, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide and alumina zirconia. Of these, the first two are natural minerals or abrasives; the others are synthetic materials that are tougher and longer wearing than the natural abrasives.
  • All U.S.-manufactured sandpapers conform to the same numerical system for grading coarseness. The smaller the number, the coarser the grit.
  • Coarseness generally runs from 12 (extra coarse) to 1500 (ultra-fine). Grit finer than 600 is usually measured on the European FEPA scale, and identified with a “P” immediately before the number.
  • The back of each sandpaper sheet contains important labeling information, including product and lot number, abrasive type, grit size, whether it is open or closed coat and backing. The backing weight is rated by letter. “A” is the thinnest weight, while “C” and “D” are the best options for hand sanding of wood. “X” is effective for heavy-duty sanding.
  • Manufactured on a variety of backings, including paper, cloth and fiber.
  • Garnet is a reddish-brown natural abrasive. By special heat treatment, a tougher, sturdier grain is produced. Garnet is used almost exclusively in the woodworking field; it is not suitable for use on metal.
  • Emery is a black natural abrasive that can polish metal surfaces. Emery is typically used in conjunction with an oil lubricant.
  • Aluminum oxide is the most common general abrasive. It is a synthetic brown that is hard and long-wearing. It is used on wood, metal or painted surfaces and is well suited to finishing high-tensile materials such as steels and bronzes, as well as some hardwoods.
  • Silicon carbide is hard and sharp—effective in sanding low-tensile materials such as cast iron, aluminum, copper or plastic. It is also useful between coats of finish.
  • Alumina zirconia is harder than silicon carbide and tougher than aluminum oxide. It should be used for grinding and shaping metal and wood—not for polishing.
  • Sandpaper comes in two styles: open coat (OC) and closed coat. “Coat” refers to how densely the grain is adhered to the surface. “Closed coat” means 100 percent of the surface is covered with grain. Open-coat sandpaper has greater spacing between the grains, which prevents it from clogging up as quickly with sanding residue. Closed-coat sandpaper, however, fills more rapidly with the substance being sanded and must be discarded sooner.
  • Many styles available in sheets as well as sizes for various sanding power tools.

Steel Wool

  • A popular accessory item. It should be used before painting on any glossy surface.
  • Uses include removing grime and sludge prior to refinishing, preparing new surfaces, removing old coatings on raw wood and for application in between coats of enamel, paint, shellac or varnish.
  • Also removes paint from glass, furniture, tile and other surfaces.
  • Comes in grades ranging from fine to coarse.
  • More water-based strippers and finishes have led to a man-made synthetic steel wool product. This product will not cause spotting in wood, as standard steel wool can when used with water-based finishes.
  • Bronze wool is a popular alternative to steel wool.

Wallpaper Activator Adhesive

  • Ready-to-use product that promotes adhesion and acts as a wetting agent.
  • Gives excellent slip for matching patterns.
  • Helps prevent seam pops.
  • Eliminates water trays.

Wallpaper Paste

  • Enables wallpaper to adhere to wall.
  • Water soluble, so cleans up with soap and water.
  • Special formulas designed for boarders where vinyl to vinyl adhesion is needed.
  • Some have tinting agent that ensures complete coverage.
  • Be sure to check the kind of paper before you buy paste. Some coverings require wheat paste, while others use liquid vinyl adhesive or a vinyl paste.

Wallcovering Scoring Tool

  • Hand tool that perforates existing wallpaper so remover solution can penetrate and attack dried paste.
  • Generally has a round handle and rotating scoring blades that are randomly run across wallpaper.

Smoothing Brush

  • Brush used to smooth out wallpaper after it is applied to wall.
  • Removes any air bubbles behind paper for a smooth finish.
  • Generally has polypropylene bristles.
  • One-piece handle.

Wallcovering Water Tray

  • Long, narrow tray used to wet pre-pasted wallpaper.

Wallcovering Stripper

  • Used when wallpaper is particularly difficult to remove. Features a razor-sharp replaceable blade.

Wallpaper Removers

  • A liquid spray-on solution that uses enzymes to break down the paste and destroy its adhesive strength.
  • Also available in a water-based gel formulations that can be applied with a brush or roller.

Belt Sander

  • Sands using a continuous belt or abrasive material.
  • Used for aggressive removal of stock.
  • Uses two pulleys, a drive pulley that drives the belt and an idler pulley that guides it.
  • Two handles allow the user to push or pull the machine with little effort.
  • Comes in sizes of 2-1/2” to 4” wide belts; 3” wide is the most common size.
  • Some models have dust collection systems to help control the dust from sanding.
  • Most models have an adjustment feature that automatically maintains the belt in the center of the pulley during operation to eliminate belts that wander off the pulleys.
  • When using, take care not to gouge or ripple a soft wood surface. This sander can remove material rapidly.
  • Use open-coat sandpaper as it is less likely to clog.

Sanding Disc

  • Most often used with disc sanders and random orbit sanders.
  • Available in a variety of grits and weights.
  • One style is PSA. PSA stands for pressure sensitive adhesive, so sandpapers of this type have a sticky backing. Generally, this type is used for sanding jobs where you will use the sandpaper until it is worn out. Not for tasks where you will be changing sandpaper frequently.
  • Another style is hook and loop, which attaches to the sander like Velcro. It is removable and good for jobs that require frequent changing of the sandpaper.
  • Holes in the sandpaper enable dust extraction to reduce buildup of dust on the abrasive.

Sanding Sheets

  • Most often used with orbital sanders and other types of profile and finishing sanders.
  • Square or triangular in shape, depending on the type of sander they are to be used with.
  • Available in a variety of grits and weights.
  • One style is PSA. PSA stands for pressure sensitive adhesive, so sandpapers of this type have a sticky backing. Generally, this type is used for sanding jobs where you will use the sandpaper until it is worn out. Not for tasks where you will be changing sandpaper frequently.
  • Another style is hook and loop, which attaches to the sander like Velcro. It is removable and good for jobs that require frequent changing of the sandpaper.
  • Another, more economical alternative to PSA and hook and loop sandpaper are sanders that use clamps to hold the sandpaper to the sanding pad. In this style, standard sheet sandpaper can be used. A paper punch tool is usually included with the sander to poke the holes in the paper to aid in dust extraction.


  • Also known as a force cup or a plumber’s friend.
  • Used to clear blockages in toilets sinks and tubs.
  • Combination plungers (usually black in color) consist of two cups, one inside the other.
  • Recommend combination plungers for clearing toilets.


  • Also known as a snake.
  • Consists of a coiled spiral cable, usually 1/4î thick and of varying lengths.
  • The most basic type has a z-shaped handle used to crank the cable as it snakes through the drain.
  • Another type uses a funnel-shaped container to store the cable and then to spin it as it works its way through the drain.
  • Professionals use an auger attached to a drill or other device that spins the cable. Usually these versions can maneuver a much longer cable.

Chain Pipe Wrench

  • Offers easy handling in close quarters on round, square or irregular shapes without crushing the object.
  • Consists of a forged-steel handle attached to a length of heavy sprocket chain. The chain wraps around a length of pipe and engages the sprockets in notches on the back of the handle. Sharp teeth on the face of the handle bite into pipe while the chain holds the pipe against the teeth to prevent slipping.
  • Turns pipe in either direction and can be used like a ratchet wrench. The handle can be loosened, shifted and turned again without removing the chain from around the pipe.

Strap Wrench

  • Recommended for working with brass, aluminum, lead, soft metal or plastic pipe because it grips pipe without teeth and does not damage the surface.
  • Consists of a fabric strap, attached to a loop ring that is fastened in the curved head of a straight forged bar or handle. It is then pulled around the pipe, back through the loop and over the head.
  • When the wrench is pulled tight, the strap grips the pipe.

Basin Wrench

  • Also known as a faucet wrench or a crowfoot faucet wrench.
  • One type has fixed jaws opening at right angles to the shaft handle. It is primarily used to remove supply nuts and hose coupling nuts on faucet spray attachments under worktables, sinks and lavatories.
  • The second type has spring tension pipe-gripping jaws that are reversible by flip-over on the end of drive shaft handle. It will grip pipe nipples, odd sized supply nuts and jam nuts in hard-to-reach spots.

Plastic Nut Basin Wrench

  • Used to reach and turn plastic mounting nuts on faucets, sprayers and ballcocks.
  • Notched ends self-center on 2-, 3-, 4- and 6-tab nuts.

Spud Wrench

  • A generic name for many types of wrenches that have large, flat-sided jaws.
  • Good for general purpose plumbing use.
  • The Adjustable type is an all-purpose model with notched jaws ideal for various sizes of nuts. It is the handiest and most common.
  • The Fixed type works with large spud nuts under kitchen sinks.
  • The 4-in-1 is similar to the fixed type and is use for turning locknuts on the toilet tank, basket strainers and spuds.
  • The Closet type is designed for toilet tanks and bowls.
  • The Internal type holds the sink strainer basket in place while you tighten the locknut below. It can also remove or install closet spuds, pop-up plugs, and strainers.

Seat Wrench

  • Also known as a faucet seal tool or faucet seat wrench.
  • Used to remove faucet seats.
  • It is L shaped. One end has four flat sides, the other has five flat sides.

Packing Nut Socket Wrenches

  • Also known as a plumberís wrench or wall socket set.
  • Available in sets and fits nearly all tub and shower valves.
  • Hex-shaped on both ends and hollow core to fit over faucet stem handles.

Propane Torch

  • Used to heat joints in copper pipe so solder can melt.
  • Also use to heat corroded fittings to loosen them.
  • Attaches to a cylinder containing the gas.

Drywall Saw

  • Resembles a kitchen knife in design and is used to cut drywall and plasterboard in the same fashion as a keyhole saw, such as for sawing holes for electric outlets and switchplates.
  • The saw is self-starting with a sharp point for plunge cuts.
  • It may also have induction teeth for longer life without sharpening.

Hole Saw

  • Cup-shaped blade with a bit in the middle, called a mandrel.
  • Used for cutting holes in wood, plastic, plaster and light metals.
  • Available in a range of diameters.

Star (Torx®) Tip Screwdriver

  • Designed for use with star head screws and bolts to reduce slippage.
  • Tips have six lobular drive surfaces to provide additional contact surface with the screw head.
  • Vertical sides transmit torque perpendicularly to the driven element so there is no slipping or cam-out.

Sheet Metal Screw

  • Fastens thin metal to thin metal.
  • Threaded its entire length.
  • Can have flat, oval, round or binding heads.
  • Typical lengths range from 1/8” to 2”.
  • Starting holes are either drilled or punched and should be slightly smaller than the screw diameter.


Machine Screw

  • Can have round, oval, flat and fillister heads.
  • Intended to be screwed into pre-threaded holes in metal.
  • May look like a bolt, but user drives it with a screwdriver instead of a wrench.
  • Comes in coarse (24 threads per inch) and fine (32 threads per inch) sizes.
  • They are sized according to diameter, thread and length. Example: a 6-32×3/4 means the screw has a 6-gauge diameter with 32 threads per inch and is 3/4” long.
  • The round head type is most commonly used. The flat head type is used when the top must be flush with the surface.
  • Oval heads are used in countersunk holes. Fillister heads are used in counter-bored holes.


Set Screw

  • Prevents bolts from loosening due to vibration.
  • The thumb screw type can be tightened by hand.
  • Headless set screws are tightened with a screwdriver.
  • Square head set screws are tightened with a wrench.
  • Socket set screws are tightened with a hex wrench.


Wood Screw

  • Used to secure wood together.
  • Usually made of unhardened steel, stainless steel, aluminum or brass.
  • Steel screws can have a choice of several coatings: bright-finished, blued, or zinc-, cadmium- or chrome-plated.
  • Threads on this screw run from the point along three-fourths of the length and heads are slotted.


Dowel Screw

  • Threaded on both ends.
  • Used for assembling pieces of furniture end to end.


Lag Screw

  • Lag BoltAlso called a lag bolt.
  • Similar to wood screws but stronger.
  • Used when ordinary screws are too short or too lightweight and when increased gripping power is needed.
  • Used for wrenching into wood surfaces or for inserting into lag shields in masonry.
  • Has a hex head.


Drywall/Deck Screw

  • Use when installing drywall or decking material.
  • Coated to prevent rust.


Power Driver Fastener

  • Designed specifically for use with power equipment.
  • Several types are available. One type is a pneumatic fastener where nails, screws or staples are collated in strips or coils that are loaded into a pneumatic gun that drives them into the material.
  • Another type is the powder-actuated fastener, where the fastener is driven into the material, usually metal or concrete, by a small explosion, similar to the way a firearm works.



  • Used to tighten wire or for bracing doors.
  • Consists of a barrel-shaped metal device with a threaded rod inserted into each end.
  • Rods have eyes at both ends, or some types have a hook on one end and an eye on the other.


Screw Eye/Hook

  • A screw eye consists of screw thread at one end and a ring at the other.
  • A screw hook consists of screw thread at one end and a hook at the other.
  • Used to hang tools or utensils or for holding them together.


Carriage Bolt

  • Has a square shoulder under the head that pulls into soft materials such as wood and prevents the bolt from turning while the nut is tightened.
  • Has coarse, partial threads and a smooth, rounded head.


Stove Bolt

  • Used to hold light metals or wood.
  • Heads can be flat, oval or round.
  • Heads are slotted for a screwdriver.
  • Usually supplied with a nut and is intended for use with a nut.


Machine Bolt

  • Comes with regular, square, hex, button or countersunk heads.
  • Square heads fasten joints and materials where bolt requirements are not too severe.
  • Button heads work best where smooth surfaces are necessary.
  • Use countersunk heads for flush surfaces.


Threaded Rod

  • Rod with continuous thread from one end to the other.
  • Available in different diameters.
  • Used where extra-long bolts are required.
  • Can be bent to make U-bolts, eye bolts and J-bolts.



  • Small metal circles that provide a hard surface against which you tighten a screw.
  • It matches the size of the screw it is being used with.
  • Comes in flat, countersunk or flush shapes.



  • Screws onto the threaded end of a bolt to help tighten the bolt.
  • Most common are hex and square nuts, also called full nuts.
  • Wing and knurled nuts are used where frequent adjustment or disassembly is necessary.
  • The locknut type has a self-locking feature that allows it to be locked into position without additional lock washers, cotter pins or locking wire.


Cotter Pin

  • Versatile fastening device.
  • Made of ferrous and nonferrous wire.
  • Comes in various diameters and lengths ranging from 1/32” x 1/2” to 1/4” to 18”.
  • Inserts into a hole in a bolt, shaft or similar part. An eye on one end prevents the pin from going through while prongs at the other end are bent back to lock the pin in place.



  • Securely fastens something that can be reached from just one side.
  • The multi-grip type expands to fill over-sized and irregular holes and self-adjusts for misaligned holes.
  • Used in metal, plastic and composite materials.
  • Ideal for installing gutters and drop ceilings or repairing large appliances.
  • Available in 1/8”, 3/32”, 3/16” and 1/4” diameters.
  • Can have dome, countersunk and large flange head styles.


Toggle Bolt

  • Used where the back of the wall is inaccessible.
  • Works on a spring principle. The holding arms open after the screw and holder are inserted into the hole, gripping the wall as the screw is tightened.
  • Select bolts according to the thickness of the diameters from 1/8” to 1/2”.
  • Fixture to be mounted must be assembled with screw and holder before inserting it into the wall.

Molly Bolt

  • Also known as an expansion bolt.
  • Consists of a screw in a metal sleeve.
  • When the sleeve is inserted into a pre-drilled hole and the screw is turned, the sleeve spreads.
  • Screw can be removed and inserted in the fixture to be mounted and replaced.

Wall Driller Anchor

  • For light-duty use on drywall.
  • Fastener makes its own hole in the drywall.
  • Do not use overhead.

Plastic Screw Anchor

  • Use with wood or sheet metal screws.
  • Insert into a pre-drilled hole. User drives the screw through the anchor into the wall.
  • Sizes range from 3/4” to 1-3/8” long.
  • Another type of plastic anchor functions like a toggle fastener with sizes from 3/4” to 3-1/2”.
  • Another type pops open and locks into place before the screw is inserted.

Self-Tapping Concrete Screw

  • Hardened steel screws designed to cut threads in pre-drilled holes.
  • Holes can be drilled through the item to be fastened without moving the fixture.
  • Head styles are Phillips, flat or hex-washer.
  • Used in poured concrete, concrete block or masonry.
  • Pull-out resistance of concrete screws is much greater than in plastic screw anchors because they bite directly into the concrete.

Drop-In Anchor

  • Expandable concrete anchors set in pre-drilled holes.
  • Accepts standard coarse thread bolts or threaded rod.
  • Drop-in style anchors do not require patching after sinking.
  • Comes in sizes to fit 1/4” to 3/4”.

Impact-Expansion Concrete Anchor

  • Diameter sizes range from 1/4” to 3/4” and lengths from 1-3/4” to 6”.
  • The drill size used should be the same as the anchor diameter.
  • Setting the anchor requires driving the center pin down to the top of the anchor, which expands the sides of the anchor against the walls of the hole.
  • The hole can be drilled through the item to be fastened without moving the fixture.
  • Anchor can be plated hardened steel or stainless steel.

Wedge Anchor

  • Has a shank similar to a sleeve anchor—a solid shank, threaded at the top and with a cone-shaped plug at the bottom.
  • Shank is grooved on opposite sides.
  • As the nut on top is tightened, the washer pushes the rectangular shank down and spreads the wedges over the plug.

Sleeve Anchor

  • Has a steel sleeve on the shank, split at the bottom so it can expand.
  • The bolt has a cone-shaped plug at the base and a nut at the top.
  • When the user places the anchor in the hole and tightens the nut, it draws the bolt upward, pulling the plug into the sleeve and expanding it against the hole.

Lag Screw Shield

  • Used inside drilled holes to provide anchors in the hole for lag bolts as they are wrenched into the shield.
  • As the screw enters the shield, the shield expands and grips the interior.
  • Horizontal fins prevent the shield from turning in the hole while tapered ribs ease insertion and ensure against slips.

Expansion Shield

  • Also known as lead shield.
  • Used with lag and machine bolts.
  • As the bolt is tightened, the cone draws up through a slotted sleeve and expands against the interior of the drilled hole with great force.
  • Requires no caulking and is excellent for heavy holding of problem material such as cement, cinder blocks, hollow tile and other concrete mixes.
  • Requires a large hole. Use a power drill and masonry bit.
  • Use short lengths in good-grade concrete or where thickness limits the length. Use long lengths in poorer-grade concrete where extra anchorage is required.

Drive Anchor

  • Made of high-strength spring steel or of aluminum with a stainless steel pin for use in hard materials.
  • Driven into a hole where it is compressed and forced against the walls of the hole.
  • Comes in three head styles: round, countersunk and stud. The stud type provides temporary attachment of items that must later be removed.

Box Nail

  • Lighter and smaller than common nails with a larger head.
  • Used for framing and applications where shifting is minimal, such as nailing subfloor to floor joists and attaching roof base to rafters.

Duplex Nail

  • Has a double head to allow for easy removal in temporary construction applications.
  • Used for concrete forming and scaffolding.

Casing Nail

  • Similar in appearance to a finishing nail, but is thicker and has a flat head.
  • Used to secure case molding.

Common Nail

  • Used in general carpentry and wood framing.
  • Available in most sizes and finishes.
  • Use with harder woods.
  • Applications include house foundation, floor joists, rafters and internal studding.

Capped Nail

  • Has a plastic or metal flat cap at the head.
  • Used for installing foam insulation to exterior surfaces.
  • Some types are made for hammering into masonry.

Cut Flooring Nail

  • Has a blunt tip to prevent splitting of flooring.
  • Used to attach wood to concrete.

Drywall Nail

  • Ring-shanked nail used for attaching sheets of drywall gypsum board to interior wood wall studs.
  • Flat, slightly countersunk head permits driving just below the surface, forming a depression that can be covered with drywall joint compound or spackling.

Finish Nail

  • Used around windows, finishing areas, trim and paneling where nails cannot show.
  • Small head size allows the nail to be driven beneath the wood surface so the hole can be filled and finished.
  • Similar to a casing nail, but the casing nail is heavier.

Flooring Nail

  • Screw-shanked.
  • Used for laying tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring.

Masonry Nail

  • Made of hardened and tempered steel.
  • Shank comes round, flat, fluted or square.
  • Often used to fasten framing parts such as sills, furring strips,window and door trim to masonry and concrete.

Roofing Nail

  • Has large heads and diamond points.
  • Galvanized to resist corrosion.
  • Barbed shank for greater holding power.
  • Nails for a new roof are typically 7/8” long with 7/16” head.
  • Carefully choose size to match the thickness of the roofing.
  • Sealing roofing nails have a plastic or rubber washer under the nail head for watertight seal.

Siding Nail

  • Galvanized or with some other non-staining finish.
  • For applying residential wood lap siding to plywood or fiberboard sheathing.

Underlayment Nail

  • Bright-finished, ring-shanked.
  • For laying plywood or composition subflooring over existing wood floors or floor joists.

Upholstery Nail

  • Has ornamental or colored heads.
  • Used to fasten upholstery where nails will show.

Wire Brad

  • Used for household jobs requiring small fasteners where heads will be concealed.

Pivot Hinge

  • Mounts at the top and bottom of the door leaving a small wafer of metal exposed.
  • Commonly used on furniture doors or where doors are intended to be inconspicuous.

Butt Hinge

  • Fits between the butt of the door and the frame.
  • Only the hinge pin is exposed on the inside of the door.
  • The most common type is the loose pin hinge that has a removable pin for easy removal of the door.

Spring Hinge

  • Closes the door automatically.
  • Double acting types are commonly used on café doors that swing in both directions.

Strap Hinge

  • Specifically designed for surface applications.
  • Provides greater support for wide doors.
  • Since they may be exposed, they are available in ornamental style.


  • Shaped like the letter T.
  • Because it is exposed, some are available in ornamental styles.
  • The vertical strap is secured to the frame while the horizontal strap is secured to the door.
  • Commonly used on gates and cabinet lids.

Continuous Hinge

  • Also called piano hinges.
  • Comes in sizes up to 72” long.
  • Fits along the entire length of the door.
  • Provides protection against warping.
  • Frequently used on chest lids and cabinets.

Door Closer

  • Closes the door at a controlled speed. Usually used on storm and screen doors.
  • Operates with a spring and piston. When the door is pulled open, the spring inside the cylinder is depressed, thus exerting pressure to pull the door closed automatically. The piston controls the speed. An adjusting screw allows the user to change the speed of the closing.
  • A closer made for the disabled has an automatic hold-open feature that engages when the door is opened about 90º. A wheelchair occupant can tap the door again in the opening direction to close it automatically.
  • Interior door closers have a canister-like apparatus mounted on the door and a knuckle-joint arm to push the door closed. A spring-loaded closer is another type that can be installed on existing door hinges.
  • Use closer reinforcements to attach to the frame to provide a stronger anchor.

Door Plates

  • Kick plates protect the bottom of the door from scuffing.
  • Push plates provide a non-marring surface where the user can push the door open.
  • Pull plates provide a handle to open doors.
  • Adds a decorative touch to doors.
  • Available in a variety of materials, including brass, stainless steel and anodized aluminum.


  • A strip fastened to the floor beneath a door.
  • It usually covers the joint where two types of floor material meet.
  • Can be made of metal, aluminum or wood.
  • It may have a rubber strip in the center to aid in weatherproofing.
  • An astragal is a molding or strip that covers or closes the gap between the edges of a pair of doors. Some types overlap while others meet at the centerline of the gap.

Screen Storm Door Hardware

  • Includes a variety of latches, strikes and pulls available as original or replacement hardware for screen and storm doors.
  • Some latches have keyed locks.
  • Most are designed for easy installation and are weather-resistant.
  • Most are designed for specific types of doors (wood vs. aluminum) and door thicknesses.

Barn Door Hardware

  • Made of zinc or galvanized, heavy-gauge steel especially for barns and outbuildings where rough, heavy-duty use is required.
  • Consists of a hanger similar to a four-wheel trolley with a box-shaped track that acts as a guide.
  • Use either roll or ball bearings. Ball bearings are considered the superior choice.
  • Capable of supporting loads from 100 lbs. to 3,000 lbs.
  • The track is usually mounted to the building by brackets, although some track requires no brackets and is mounted directly to the building with screws.
  • Other hardware includes flush pulls, bow handles, stay rollers, bottom guides, bumper shoes and end stops.

Casement Operator

  • Limits and controls the swing of an unlatched casement.
  • Consists of a lever and a handle crank. Cranking the handle opens the window.
  • Certain models allow the casement to be opened outward without removing the screen.

Crescent Sash Lock

  • Tightly locks window sash to prevent opening them from the outside
  • Available in a variety of metals including wrought or cast brass, bronze, aluminum and steel.

Cam Action Sash Lock

  • Uses a cam action and a lever to tightly lock window sash and prevent them from being opened on the outside.
  • Available in a variety of metals including wrought or cast brass, bronze, aluminum and steel.

Garage Door Opener

  • Consists of a motor unit that raises and lowers overhead doors upon command of a control unit.
  • There are three types of drive mechanisms: bicycle-type chain and sprocket, plastic strip and worm-screw drive.
  • The control unit may be either key or wireless operated. If key operated, the user must leave the car to unlock the door. Wireless versions may be operated via a transmitter that starts the opener motor.
  • A safety feature is a device that automatically reverses the descent of the door when it encounters resistance when closing. All residential garage door openers must incorporate an optical sensor that will prevent the door from closing if it senses an obstruction.
  • Economy models have a 1/4-hp motor and heavy-duty units have a 1/3- or 1/2-hp motor.

Cabinet Hinge

  • The four basic cabinet door designs that determine the type of hinge required are: flush-mounted, lipped/inset, flush-overlay or reverse bevel.
  • For flush-mounted doors, use a full-mortise butt or full-surface hinge, an ornamental strap hinge or a concealed hinge.
  • For lipped doors, use semi-concealed cabinet hinges so the hinge leaf attached to the cabinet frame is exposed and the hinge leaf attached to the door is concealed. A surface hinge for this kind of cabinet door must be offset to match the outside of the door.
  • For flush-overlay doors, use a pivot hinge mortised into the top and bottom of the door. Also use a butt hinge or a semi-concealed hinge.
  • For reverse bevel doors, use a hinge that features a slant on the door wing that is compatible with the profile of the cabinet door.
  • Some hinges have a self-closing feature that closes the door automatically from about a 10° opening. These operate on a spring-loaded cam and are made from heavy-gauge steel.

Cabinet Knob

  • Used on cabinet doors and drawers.
  • Basic consideration in choosing a knob will be style.
  • Backplates are decorative and provide additional support for hollow-core doors and drawers.
  • When replacing an old knob, remember to make sure the new knob will use or cover the holes left by the old one. Use a backplate to cover the second hole if replacing a pull with a knob.
  • Most knobs use one #8 screw for mounting.

Cabinet Pull

  • Used on cabinet doors and drawers.
  • Backplates are decorative and provide additional support for hollow-core doors and drawers.
  • Basic consideration when choosing will be style.
  • When replacing an old pull, remember to make sure the new knob will use or cover the holes left by the old one. Use a backplate to cover the hole if replacing a knob with a pull.
  • Pulls are generally on 3” mounting centers.

Friction Catch

  • Helps the cabinet door stay shut.
  • Operates by pressure of the catch on the strike.
  • Catch mounts on a doorframe, jamb or underside of a shelf while the strike mounts on the door so that upon closing, it is inserted into the catch.
  • Two common types are alligator and lever spring-action.

Roller Spring Catch

  • Helps the cabinet door stay shut.
  • Available in single and double roller types.
  • Features quiet operation, easy installation, long life and easy adaptability to many door and frame designs.

Magnetic Catch

  • Uses a magnet to help the cabinet door stay shut.
  • Ranges in pull from 8 lbs. to 40 lbs.
  • The holding power is reduced if only part of the magnet makes contact with the strike. Therefore, the magnet must be installed carefully to properly align the catch and the strike.
  • Quality features include a floating or self-adjusting action to ensure proper alignment and contact.

Elbow Catch

  • Helps the cabinet door stay shut.
  • Mounts on the door with the strike installed on the frame or on a shelf.
  • Can only be released from the inside of the cabinet and thus is used on one side of a pair of doors.

Bullet Catch

  • Helps the cabinet door stay shut.
  • Used primarily on furniture and smaller cabinet doors where it is desirable to hide the catch as much as possible.

Touch Catch

  • Helps the cabinet door stay shut.
  • Also called a push catch.
  • Mounts inside the cabinet and needs no knobs or pulls.
  • User operates by simply pushing on the door, the catch releases and the door springs open.

Drawer Slide

  • The monorail type uses a single track under the center of the drawer with drawer rollers on the left and right side. It is easy to install because it requires minimum measuring and templates. It is low in cost and fits both new and old installations.
  • The side-mounting type uses four tracks, one attached to each side or bottom of the drawer and one on both the left and right sides of the cabinet. It has rollers on which the drawer rides.
  • Some types of slides are self-closing. They close when the drawer comes to within 4” to 5” of the back, regardless of the load or its position in the drawer.
  • Quality slides permit little side movement, prevent accidental drawer pullout, have high-quality rollers and are precision-made to close tolerances.

Furniture Glide

  • Allows furniture to move easily along the floor. Also protects floor from scuffing.
  • The three-prong type is hammered into the legs of light furniture. It is easy to install and easy to remove.
  • The cushion type is for heavier use and is mounted by hammering into the furniture leg.
  • A cushion glide for caster holes is the best type for heavy furniture. Here, the socket replaces normal stem-type casters.
  • Some glides have a tilting stem with a 40° range of movement. These glides are made for furniture with angled legs so that the base of the glide sits flat on the floor.
  • Other types of glides include rubber leg tips and heavy-duty, self-adhesive nylon or felt pads.

Stem Caster

  • Provides mobility for heavy furniture.
  • Select caster based on the weight of the piece of furniture, floor surface and the method of attaching it to the furniture.
  • Always recommend the largest size caster consistent with furniture style.
  • If casters are to be used on furniture, consider the occupied weight of the piece rather than the furniture weight alone.
  • Use a socket adapter inserted into a hold in the furniture. The stem of the caster then slides into the socket.
  • The top end of the socket snaps into a small ridge in the stem.

Plate Caster

  • Provides mobility for heavy furniture.
  • Select caster based on the weight of the piece of furniture, floor surface and the method of attaching it to the furniture.
  • If casters are to be used on furniture, consider the occupied weight of the piece rather than the furniture weight alone.
  • Designed to be attached to the furniture with screws or bolts.

Caster Wheel

  • Comes in a variety of diameters and materials with a multitude of uses.
  • Consider load requirements, type of flooring and amount of floor protection needed when choosing a caster.
  • Soft rubber wheels are recommended for asphalt tile, hardwood floors, etc.
  • Plastic wheels that are non-marking are recommended for rugs and carpeted floors.
  • Metal wheels are desirable where casters will carry heavy loads or where protection of the flooring is not important.

Furniture Leg

  • Available in two main types: splayed (for slanted usage) and straight.
  • Comes in materials such as wrought iron, unfinished wood and tubular steel.
  • Wide variety of styles available.
  • Lengths range from 4” to 28”.
  • Available for a variety of tables.

Café Rod

  • Used to hang curtains over both upper and lower window sashes.
  • Usually suspended from rings encircling the rods.
  • Decorative and available in a variety of finishes.
  • Sizes vary according to use and range from 3/8” to 1” in diameter, and 28” to 120” long.

Traverse Rod

  • Allows opening and closing of drapes with a downward pull on a cord.
  • Usually used with heavy drapes.
  • Can be wall-mounted or attached to the ceiling.
  • Draperies close from each side of the window to meet in the center.
  • One-way draw rods draw the drape fully to the left or fully to the right. They are usually used with patio doors or corner windows.
  • Made of two telescoping track sections, adjustable to desired length.
  • Six sizes cover windows up to 312” wide in the following ranges: 28” to 48”, 48” to 84”, 66” to 120”, 84” to 156”, 156” to 216” and 216” to 312”.
  • One variation of a traverse rod allows the drapes to be drawn completely clear of the window at the sides, giving the effect of a wider window.
  • Another type holds a curtain rod in front of the traverse rod and supports a full-width balance.
  • One type holds a sheer curtain behind the traversing draperies.

Wood Pole Rod

  • Used with rings for pleated draperies and with high headers.
  • Can have a stained, painted or natural finish.
  • Usually available in 7/8”, 1-3/8” and 2” diameters.
  • Extra-wide rods are available in 4-1/2” and 2-1/2” sizes and are inserted into fabric headings of 5” or 3”, providing a stationary look.
  • These can be used for valances or for a combination with two or three rods to give a cornice look.

Spring Pressure Rod

  • Holds the adjustable tension rod in place when it must be mounted inside the window casing or when screws cannot be used to hold brackets.
  • Sash rods are generally used to hold the top and bottom of curtains stationary and close to the window.

Swinging Drapery Crane

  • Adjusting positions permit it to swing clear and project outward to keep curtains clear of venetian blinds.
  • Also used to push curtains close to the wall, to lengthen or shorten to suit drapery width and to tilt out to allow easy window or trim washing.
  • Good for French doors or windows.

Drapery Accessories

  • Rings must be 1/4” larger in diameter than the rod for free movement. Some have eyelets for insertion of a drapery hook.
  • Ring Clips are oval or round. When pressed on the sides, the prongs open. When pressure is released, the prongs grasp the top of the drapery.
  • The Slip-On Hook fits over a rod or into an eyelet on the rod. The drapery heading fits between the two close-facing shanks on the opposite side of the hook.
  • The Pin-On Hook works the same way except that the drapery heading is hooked into the sharp pin, which is opposite to the side that hangs on the rod.
  • The Pleater Hook is used with pleater tape sewn to the drapery heading. Three or four prongs, or shanks, form pleats when the heading is placed onto the shanks.
  • Swagholders make decorative window treatments with ordinary fabric by draping and forming poufs, rosettes, bishop’s sleeves and festoons.
  • Fasteners for draperies include hollow wall screw anchors, toggles and plastic anchors. These work well in drywall, plaster walls, concrete blocks and other masonry materials.


  • One type is made for mounting on a post (typically in rural areas), the other is for mounting on a house (typically in town).
  • Rural mailboxes are medium or large size, usually made of heavy galvanized or painted steel, aluminum or plastic. Since they will be exposed to the elements, they must be able to resist the weather.
  • You may need a mounting pole for rural mailboxes. Wrought iron posts are attractive and last a long time. Wooden posts should be treated if they are to last a long time.
  • Suggest enamel plates and stick-on letters for street names and numbers. Large 4” high numbers make it easy to identify a house at night.

Shelf Standard

  • Pre-slotted metal strips attached to the wall, preferably into wall studs.
  • Can be attached with toggle bolts or similar fasteners approximately 16” apart.
  • If the standards are further than 16” apart, the shelves may not support heavy loads.
  • A newer variation includes a mounting rail that is fastened across the studs. The standard then clips directly into the rail or may require an adapter. Usually requires a fastener at the bottom for stability.

Shelf Bracket

  • Fits into the slots on shelf standards and supports shelves. Some types mount directly onto the wall.
  • A flexible storage system can be built with standards and brackets that are easily removed and repositioned by pushing up and lifting out.
  • Can be mounted in cabinets, closets or bookcases.
  • One type is used with invisible shelving systems, which offers ways to put shelving into living areas. These systems mount brackets directly on the walls to support wood or glass shelving. They are not suggested for heavy support jobs.
  • Another form of standard is the Z bracket. It is frequently used for utility shelving in basements or garages. It offers more support than other types and is less expensive.
  • Floor-to-ceiling standards can be used to create room dividers.
  • These pieces are usually double-slotted and come in lengths ranging from 7’6” to 12’.

Picture Hanger

  • Nail Hangers consist of a piece of metal with a hook on the lower end of a twist and loop that forms a nail hole. Depending on the size, this type will hold from 10 lbs. to 100 lbs.
  • Adhesive Hanger is a piece of flat metal with cuts or serrations along either edge that attaches to the back of a picture frame. The strip will stick to any clean, flat surface like glass, wood or metal. For light-duty use only.
  • Adjustable Hanger is a piece of flat metal with cuts or “serrations” along either edge that attaches to the back of a picture frame. Serrations allow for adjustment. For light-duty use only.
  • Utility Hanger is a hook that has an eye drilled into the flat upper piece for nailing or screwing to the wall. For light to medium use.
  • Hook Anchor is made of polypropylene and can be used in hollow or solid walls. For light to medium use. It will hold mirrors and pictures.
  • Hardwall Hanger is a plastic hook with case-hardened pins that can drive into brick or concrete walls to hold light- to medium-weight mirrors and pictures.
  • Flush Mount Hanger has two pieces of formed metal. One piece mounts to the picture and the other to the wall. These pieces interlock to create a high-load system.

Cable Tie

  • One-piece bands with self-locking catches or heads on one end.
  • Available in different widths and lengths to accommodate various bundle diameter sizes.
  • Used on anything that needs to be tied up, tied down or held in place.
  • Natural, colored and fluorescent ties are used indoors while UV (sunlight resistant) black ties are used outdoors.
  • Mounting bases can be used with standard cable ties to fix wire bundles to support structures or other surfaces. Bases are adhesive-backed for quick anchoring and contain molded knockout screw holes for extra power.
  • Use cable tie tools to make the use of cable ties easier.

Support Hardware

  • Includes metal plates and braces specifically designed for use as reinforcement in a variety of applications.
  • Available in an assortment of sizes, shapes and finishes.
  • Specific items include t-plates, corner braces, mending plates, triple corner braces and chair leg braces.
  • Can be packaged with or without mounting hardware.

Braided Cord

  • May be made with or without a center filling (core) that gives it strength.
  • Diamond braid cord, also known as maypole braid, does not have a core and is frequently used for drapery cord or Venetian blind cord or as low-cost clothesline. It splices easily.
  • Solid braid cord is firm, round and tightly woven so it will not unravel when cut or torn. Works well over pulleys and has good abrasion resistance.
  • Double braid is when both the rope and the core are braided. It is the strongest and most expensive type of rope.

Sisal Rope

  • A twisted rope that can be used where it is likely to be discarded after each use and where strength is not important.
  • Do not use where personal safety or valuable property is involved.
  • Good resistance to sunlight and stretches little.
  • Polypropylene has largely displaced sisal in low-cost usage.

Manila Rope

  • The most frequently used natural fiber in twisted rope today.
  • Must be handled with care to prevent rot and mildew.
  • Good resistance to surface heat.
  • Stretches little and holds knots firmly.

Polypropylene Rope

  • A twisted rope that is less expensive than other rope fibers, making it a good all-purpose rope.
  • Floats and is easy to produce in colors, making it good for water use.
  • Low melting point, so it is not a good choice for using on pulleys where friction may melt the outer jacket.
  • Resists rot and mildew.
  • Not as strong as polyester or nylon, but three times stronger than manila.

Nylon Rope

  • A twisted rope that is the most versatile of all because of its strength.
  • Good shock resistance.
  • Good abrasion resistance.
  • Lasts five times longer than natural fibers.
  • Resists chemicals and will not rot or mold.
  • When stretched, has a tendency to return to its original shape.
  • Do not use on winches or bits or attached to hooks or chain.

Polyester Rope

  • A twisted rope with strength similar to nylon.
  • Stretches less than nylon and has a poor shock load capacity.
  • Good resistance to abrasion and sunlight.
  • The top choice for general-purpose boating applications.


  • Made by twisting yarns together to make a single, continuous strand.
  • Low cost rope.
  • Not recommended for reuse.
  • Use for wrapping a roast, tying packages or establishing a line in the garden.
  • The more plies, the stronger the twine. A 16-ply #8 thread cotton twine is twice as strong as an 8-ply #8 thread twine.

Proof Coil Chain

  • The most common all-purpose chain.
  • A welded chain, which means the individual link is welded to form a continuous loop.
  • Commonly used as a log chain, tow chain, guardrail chain and switch chain.
  • Not intended for use as a sling or overhead lifting chain.

Straight Link Welded Chain

  • Available in many gauges and link sizes.
  • Has high strength and is popular for general use.
  • One type is the coil chain, which has long lengths.
  • Another type is machine chain, which has shorter links than the coil chain.

Twist Link Welded Chain

  • Has links twisted at uniform angles. The slight twist in the links tends to make the chain more flexible and prevents the entire chain from twisting and knotting during use.
  • One type is the coil chain, which has long lengths.
  • Another type is machine chain, which has shorter links than the coil chain.

Passing Link Welded Chain

  • Made with links sufficiently wide to permit the links to pass each other easily, keeping kinking and tangling to a minimum.
  • Used extensively on farm machinery, for a swing chain and for animal tie-out.

Weldless Flat Chain

  • Commonly called sash chain.
  • Made by stamping or shaping a flat strip from metal. Strips are then formed into links and attached to each other.
  • Especially suited for use over pulleys or where chain must lie flat.
  • Weldless chain is generally recommended for light work only.

Double Loop Wire Chain

  • Made of light-gauge wire with the links formed by knotting or tying the wire to the desired link size.
  • One of the most popular chains because of its versatility.
  • Commonly used for dog runners, swing sets, playground uses and padlocks.

Plumber’s Chain

  • A weldless, stamped, flat link chain.
  • Used to attach plumbing fixtures and for general utility purposes.

Clevis Hook

  • Attaches directly to a welded chain.
  • Used as a temporary chain connector.
  • Eliminates the need for an additional attachment or fitting.
  • The Slip Hook type looks like a large fishhook.
  • The Grab Hook type has a narrower opening.

Repair Link

  • Used to temporarily link chain and couple light attachments.
  • Do not use for securing loads.
  • One type is the Lap Link.
  • Another type is the Quick Link, which is similar to the lap link, but not as strong.

Cold Shut

  • A permanent solution to linking two chains.
  • An open-ended link designed to be hammered shut.
  • Use one size larger than the proof coil chain with which it is to be used.
  • Do not use for securing loads.

Load Binder

  • Provides more control in binding and releasing two chains.
  • Has two hooks, each of which attaches to a chain. The user uses the central lever to tighten the chains and secure the load.
  • Can be either a ratchet type or a lever type, which determines how the chain is tightened.


  • Consists of metal wheels with grooved edges.
  • Aids in lifting loads.
  • Can be used with chain or rope.

Hardware Cloth

  • Has numerous uses, including attic ventilation, foundation vents, security screens and protective panels for screen doors.
  • Available in galvanized steel or aluminum.
  • Typical meshes are 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 and 8×8. Common widths are from 24” to 48” in 100’ rolls.
  • Also available in plastic, where typical mesh sizes range from 1/8×1/8 to 1×1. Plastic has no sharp edges, will not rust, rot or corrode and is available in dark green and crystal colors.

Insulated Staples

  • Used to mount cable to studs or other framing members.
  • There are different sizes, so make sure you are recommending the correct one.

Closet Flange Bolt

  • Secures the toilet bolt base to the floor flange.

Box Wood Stove

  • Radiates warmth through the firebox to the surrounding air.
  • Draws air for combustion through the door.
  • Door is not tightly sealed, has no damper control and releases a considerable amount of unburned gas up through the chimney.

Airtight Wood Stove

  • Has a sealed firebox and a tight-fitting door
  • An air intake damper allows air to circulate around the firebox and controls the rate of fuel consumed. It can be manually or thermostatically controlled.
  • Provides slow-burning heat for a long period of time with little attention.
  • Prone to heavy creosote buildup in the chimney and pipes because it is slow burning.

Pellet-Fed Wood Stove

  • Burns a processed wood pellet fed electronically into the stove’s combustion chamber.
  • The advantage of this type of stove is it has a steady and controlled fuel source.
  • Disadvantage is the electronic controls will not operate if the power is out.

Gas Stove

  • Ideal for those with little space to store wood or with the time to maintain a wood stove. Also better for heating smaller areas.
  • Uses natural gas so it is a reliable heat source when the power goes out.
  • Flame height and heat intensity is easily adjustable.
  • The direct vent type is ideal for homes without an existing chimney.

Outdoor Fireplace

  • Portable, wood or wood-pellet burning heat source that can be used at home, on the patio or on the camping trip.
  • Some can also be used as a grill.
  • Some styles are enclosed and vent through the sides while others may include a chimney.
  • Another variation is the firepit, which is bowl-shaped.


  • Used to connect the stove with the chimney. Never use in place of a chimney.
  • Should be 24-gauge metal or thicker (the smaller the number, the thicker the metal).
  • Should be as short as possible and turns kept to a minimum.
  • Inspect stovepipe regularly and replace every two or three years.

Stove Paint

  • Uses to touch up or completely refinish a stove.
  • Specifically designed for wood- or coal-burning stoves and can withstand temperatures up to 1,200°F.
  • Common colors include green, brown, blue, maroon and black, in gegular and metallic finishes.
  • To maximize radiant heat from the stove, use a flat black paint. It will radiate 90-98 percent of radiant heat. Shiny metallic finishes are less efficient.

Wood Fireplace

  • Burns seasoned wood or manufactured wood logs to provide primary or secondary heat to a home.
  • Newer prefabricated fireplaces are more energy efficient than traditional masonry ones.
  • Must use a venting system. In a conventional, open-face fireplace, the chimney serves as the vent. The drawback is that it pulls warm air up the chimney and out of the house.
  • A prefabricated fireplace has an enclosed firebox made of a material that will hold some of the heat from the flue gases so more heat is radiated back into the room.
  • Fireplace systems will incorporate a damper in the flue, which can be closed when the fire is extinguished. Otherwise, the warm air will continue to flow out of the house through the draft that is created.

Gas Fireplace

  • Uses natural or LP gas.
  • Burns either natural or LP gas to provide primary or secondary heat to a home.
  • Conventional models require a venting system and a smoke dome or chimney installed through the roof.
  • Newer gas fireplaces can be vented through the wall using a power vent.
  • Built-in units require no special flooring or hearth front.
  • Can be converted to a wood-burning fireplace.

Vented Gas Log

  • Requires a venting system and a smoke dome or chimney, installed on the roof.
  • Operate at a range of 60,000 to 90,000 BTUs and loose heat as they require the chimney damper to be open.
  • Made of high-temperature, heat-resistant ceramic or cement in a variety of finishes.
  • Place directly on the fire grate or lay on a flame pan covered with a bed of volcanic granules for a more realistic looking fire.
  • Requires no electricity to operate.
  • Fits into fireplaces with a gas hookup and can be installed into any UL-listed, solid fuel burning fireplace.

Vent Free Gas Log

  • Operates with the chimney damper closed, thus preventing heat-loss.
  • Has an adjustable input with a maximum of 40,000 BTUs.
  • Any unit made after 1980 includes an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) that shuts off the heater and flow of gas if the oxygen level in a room becomes inadequate.
  • Another safety feature is an automatic shut-off valve to shut off the gas flow if the pilot light is extinguished or the gas flow is interrupted.
  • Made of high-temperature, heat-resistant ceramic or cement in a variety of finishes.
  • Placed directly on the fire grate or lays on a flame pan covered with a bed of volcanic granules for a more realistic looking fire.
  • Requires no electricity to operate.
  • Fits into fireplaces with a gas hookup and can be installed into any UL-listed, solid fuel burning fireplace or in an
  • American Gas Association (AGA) design-certified, vent-free fireplace listed for use.


Fireplace Insert

  • Airtight fireboxes that can be inserted into fireplaces and mimic some of the effects of a wood-burning stove.
  • Most types draw air from the room, circulate it around the insert and return warmed air to the room.
  • Some units have blowers to help distribute the heat.

Chimney Cleaner

  • Cleans creosote, a potential fire hazard, out of chimneys.
  • Soot destroyers can be used in wood- gas- coal or oil-burning fireplaces. They come in a powdered form, cylindrical sticks or aerosol spray cans. They are sprinkled on hot fires.
  • Creosote removers, a second type, crystallize creosote in wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. They are available in powder form and are to be sprinkled on cool fires.
  • Round wire brushes are another type of cleaner. Use them in wood burning, airtight stoves and fireplace chimneys.


  • Holds burning logs off the hearth.
  • Prevents logs from rolling forward.
  • Using a grate and andiron allow air to circulate and feed the fire, while ashes fall away from burning logs.


  • The andiron is a pair of metal bars with decorative front shafts that hold the logs.
  • Using a grate and andiron allow air to circulate and feed the fire, while ashes fall away from burning logs.

Glass Enclosure

  • Improves fireplace performance by controlling air intake, making the wood burn more slowly and retaining more heat in the firebox. Additionally, the fireplace pulls less warm air from the house.
  • Allows user to leave the fire unattended.
  • Allows a clear view of the fire while keeping smoke and sparks out of the room.
  • Most have a built-in draft at the base to direct air to the bottom of the fireplace opening. This allows the user to easily start and control the fire.
  • Mounts securely against the face of the fireplace and overlaps the opening.

Fireplace Set

  • A set containing the tools usually needed around a fire.
  • Contains a stand, fire poker, ash shovel and broom.
  • Available in many different styles for a variety of décor options.

Electric Heater

  • Plugs directly into a wall unit.
  • One type uses black heat, where heating elements have the heating wire wound around a porcelain insulator.
  • Another type is the more popular instant heat that uses a ribbon element.
  • Some models have small fans to force heated air into the room.
  • Heating capacity is rated in BTUs. Wattage ratings of heaters can be converted to BTUs consumed per hour my multiplying the number of watts by 3.413 (the number of BTUs equaling one watt.)

Radiant Heater

  • Directs infrared heat to the objects or people to be warmed.
  • For short periods of time, these heaters are more energy-efficient than convection heaters.
  • Usually has a wattage rating of 1,500.
  • The heating element is encased in quartz or a metal sheath and has a reflector panel behind it to direct the heat.
  • The quartz rods will periodically need to be replaced.

Baseboard Heater

  • A convection-type heater.
  • The heating elements are completely enclosed, so they are safe for use around small children, but they do not give off as much heat as other types of heaters.
  • Has protective grills removable for easy cleaning.
  • Available with or without a thermostat.

Ceramic Heater

  • A convection-type heater.
  • Uses a ceramic disk heating element.
  • Ideal for spot heating.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Safe alternative to other heating sources as they operate at temperatures below the combustion point of paper.
  • Includes a washable filter to reduce air pollutants.

Fan-Forced Heater

  • A convection-type heater.
  • Uses fuel and electricity to circulate hot air around the area to be heated.
  • Fans blow a gust of warm air that is able to heat an area that would normally be too open or drafty to heat with another type of heater.
  • Available in models that operate on fuel oil, kerosene or propane gas.
  • Can supply from 35,000 to 60,000 BTUs.
  • Use in work areas such as garages and barns and open areas such as construction sites.
  • Usually equipped with air and fuel filters to block contaminants.

Oil-Filled Heater

  • A convection-type heater that contains a factory sealed oil reservoir that never needs changing or replenishing.
  • A tubular heating element heats oil, which in turn heats the exterior of the heater.
  • Slow heating, but ale to provide uniform temperatures through out the space being heated.

Vented Gas Heater

  • Requires vents to the outside.c
  • Available in medium- or high-output models ranging from 25,000 to 65,000 BTUs/hr.
  • Includes an enclosed radiating circulator unit with tempered glass in front of a series of radiants.
  • Designed to take up medium space.
  • Popular with consumers seeking to trim heating bills.

Non-Vented Gas Heater

  • Requires no outside vent.
  • Suitable for zone heating and is clean burning and inexpensive to operate.
  • Uses an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). This device shuts off the heater and the flow of gas to the burner if the oxygen level in the room becomes inadequate. An ODS is required on all unvented heating equipment.
  • Infrared-type heaters of this type use a ceramic radiant or panel that is positioned above the gas burner. The ignited gas gives off a bright orange glow to produce heat. A screen-like guard protects the radiant plaques but they are not otherwise enclosed.
  • Convection-type heaters of this type first warm the air, which then warms the objects. Has burners enclosed within a painted or enamel-coated sheet metal housing that has air openings on the top, front and possibly the sides.

Kerosene Heater

  • Uses a wick rather than a pressure-fed fuel system.
  • Standard features include an automatic shut-off device to extinguish the flame if the heating unit is bumped or jarred, grills or guards to keep hands away from the surface and push-button battery-powered lighting devices.
  • Some areas do not allow the use of this type of heater. Check with local government agencies.
  • Only use K-1 clear kerosene fuel. Yellow or colored fuel will smoke, smell and hamper wick operation.

Duct Fan

  • Boosts the flow of air from the central heating system to areas in a house that are hard to heat or cool.
  • Overcomes the added resistance in long duct runs.
  • The prop fan type fits inside the duct.
  • The squirrel cage type fan has the motor mounted outside of the duct.
  • Most models vent about 200 cubic feet per minute in 6” to 8” diameter ducts.
  • Wired in series with the central furnace blower or operated by an auxiliary thermostat.

Duct Insulation

  • Insulates ductwork to minimize heat loss and improve efficiency.
  • Available either as self-stick vinyl foam with aluminum foil backing or in handy rolls of 1-1/4” thick fiberglass combined with aluminum foil.

Ultrasonic Humidifier

  • Uses high-frequency energy to break the water up into tiny droplets, which are then dispersed into the air by a small fan.
  • Quiet and use little energy.
  • Has the potential of leaving a sticky white dust around the house if used with hard tap water.
  • Can pose health risks if the unit raises the level of airborne particles in the air.
  • For best results and to prevent pollutants in the air, use distilled water with this type of humidifier.

Evaporative Humidifier

  • Uses a wick and high-volume air to return moisture to the air.
  • The wick is a honeycomb arrangement of cellulose paper with a large surface area.
  • Operates by partially submerging the wick in the water while a fan forces air to pass through the upper exposed area, distributing absorbed water into the air.
  • Wicks will need replacing.
  • This type uses little energy and is easy to clean. Some units can be noisy.

Warm-Mist Device

  • Uses a heating element to restore moisture to the air.
  • The water surrounding the heating element is brought to near boiling and a fan cools and distributes the moistened air, which is slightly warmer than room air.
  • This type can be used with tap water and will not cause white dust.
  • Can be noisy and consumes more energy than other types.

Impeller Humidifier

  • Sprays droplets of water into the air.
  • An inexpensive type of humidifier.
  • Must be used with distilled water or with demineralizing tablets in the water.

Floor-Vent Humidifier

  • Replaces standard floor vent registers.
  • Provides humidity for individual rooms without the need for a plug-in humidifier.
  • Uses a water chamber where homeowners can add water, which then passes through a wick filter and into the air when the furnace cycles on.

Furnace-Mounted Humidifier

  • Forces dry air from the furnace through a saturated foam element or plate.
  • Connected to the water supply so it is refilled automatically.
  • Another type sprays a fine mist of water into the heated air.
  • Uses an automatic reset humidistat to adjust moisture output to compensate for weather changes.

Evaporative Cooler

  • Sometimes called a swamp cooler.
  • Uses ice and cool water to cool and return moisture to the air.
  • Ice and cool water is mounted on top of the unit. As the ice melts, cool water flows over a wicking material. A fan mounted behind the wick creates a cool moist breeze.
  • Environmentally friendly as it uses little energy and contains no harmful chlorofluorocarbons.
  • Crack a few windows to prevent moisture build-up on inside walls when using an evaporative cooler.


  • Removes excess moisture from the air by blowing humid air over cold evaporator coils in a refrigerator system.
  • Moisture collects in a pan, and the unit will automatically shut off when the pan is full.
  • A humidistat controlling the dehumidifier will respond to changes in moisture content and is necessary for efficient energy consumption.

Window-Mounted Air Conditioner

  • Cools, circulates, filters and dehumidifies the air.
  • Ranges in size from small units with a cooling capacity of 5,000 BTUs (enough to cool a small room) to capacities as high as 12,500 BTUs.
  • It is important that you choose the right size of air conditioner. An oversize unit will cool but leave a damp and clammy feeling because of high relative humidity. An undersized unit will not operate effectively on very hot days.
  • Select by BTU rating, not horsepower. BTU is the actual cooling capacity of the unit.
  • Determine the efficiency of the unit by dividing the watt rating into the BTU output. The unit must have an energy efficiency rating (EER) of at least 9.7 for models under 8,000 BTU/hr and 9.8 for larger models. The most efficient models have an EER of 11 and higher. Each model should have its EER clearly marked.
  • Most models should include window-mounting kits. Kits include sill brackets for extra support of the unit and side vents to ensure an airtight fit in the window.
  • Make sure the unit is designed for the type of window you have. Most are designed for double-hung windows, but some are made or casement windows or for in-wall installation.

Portable Air Conditioner

  • Used to cool a small space, usually 400 to 450 square feet.
  • Mounted on wheels for easy movement from room to room.
  • Contains both the hot and cold side of the air conditioner in one unit. Is not permanently installed, but must be connected to some place like a window where the hot air can be vented. Most models contain window-venting kits that are easy to install and easily moved from one window to another.
  • May be either single or dual vent. Dual vent models circulate clean air back into the room and generally cool more quickly than single vent models.
  • Drip models have a tray that will need to be emptied every 24-48 hours. No-drip models may cost more but do not produce any excess moisture.

Window Fan

  • Uses less energy than air conditioning and contains no chlorofluorocarbons.
  • Brings fresh air into the room while expelling hot air.
  • Typical size is 20”.
  • Larger window fans require mounting kits and side panels. The panels support the fan and prevent air from circulating around and back into the fan, resulting in a loss of performance.
  • Smaller units are easiest to install, as they come with the panels attached to the fan.
  • Used to intake and exhaust, for bringing inside air into a room or expelling inside air out of a room. Better models have electrical reversibility, which allows the user to switch from exhaust to intake without turning the fan around.

Floor Fan

  • Can be moved anywhere in the home to provide air movement that will cool and circulate air.
  • Sizes are generally 10” to 12” in diameter. They can be mounted in rectangular or round, hassock-type case.
  • A hassock fan throws air outward and upward in a 360° direction.
  • A rectangular fan will tile about 170° and may be used as a table fan, throwing air outward.
  • Typically has a speed-selection control, while some may run at a fixed speed.
  • One variation is the stand-mounted fan. This type can generally be easily tilted and may be used as an exhaust fan if placed near a window.

Oscillating Fan

  • Moves back and forth in an adjustable pattern to spread air over a larger area.
  • Oscillation function can generally be switched off with the turn of a knob.
  • May be used on the floor, a table or mounted on the wall.
  • Usually does not have as high an air delivery as floor fans.
  • Typically ranges in size from 8” to 16” in diameter.
  • Tile angle varies from about 50° to 90°.

Exhaust Fan

  • Used primarily to extract stale air from an attic, kitchen or bathroom.
  • Kitchen fans are installed above the kitchen range or under the range hood and prevent smoke and grease from accumulating in the kitchen and spreading throughout the house. A switch simultaneously starts the fan and opens an outside vent.
  • Bathroom fans may come with an optional light or heater and are used to expel steam and odors from the rooms.
  • Should carry certified sound ratings developed by the Home Ventilating Institute and its member manufacturers. Ratings are in steps of 0.5 sones and 10 (CFM) cubic feet per minute. Limits for sound outputs are 6.5 sones for bathroom fans and 9 sones for kitchen fans up to 500 cfm.

Whole-House Fan

  • Draws hot air from the living area into the attic where it is vented outside.
  • Installation and operation costs less than an air conditioner.
  • Keeps a gentle breeze stirring throughout the house and can make the temperature seem 2° to 3° cooler.
  • Has louvers that open automatically when the fan is turned on and close when it is turned off to seal out outside air.
  • Rated according to the measurement of cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) that it moves.
  • Fans with variable-speed motors cool the house at higher speeds and maintain general air circulation when turned down.

Ceiling Fan

  • Creates a gentle indoor breeze and supports heating and air conditioning systems by using less energy than a 100-watt light bulb requires.
  • Typical sizes are 36”, 42”, 48” and 52”, and some industrial models are as large as 56” to 72”.
  • Many models combine the fan with a light fixture.
  • Most ceiling fans have variable speed controls.
  • Standard mounting kits are available for ceilings as low as 8’ and close to-the-ceiling models can be used on 7’-6” high ceilings.
  • Blades may be real wood, metal or plastic.
  • Heavy-material motor housings will aid fan efficiency as the additional mass gains more momentum, reducing the energy necessary to keep the fan in motion.

HEPA Air Cleaner

  • Passes air through a filter to remove pollen, dust and other airborne allergens.
  • Uses a high-efficiency-particulate-arresting  (HEPA) filter.
  • Often used in medicine, atomic energy and semiconductors because of their superior air-cleaning ability.
  • Can trap as much as 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns or larger.
  • Designed to trap allergy-causing pollen and mold spores, as well as filter out smoke and dust mites.

Electrostatic Air Cleaner

  • Works best for whole-house filtration
  • Filter used consists of shredded polypropylene fleece that has been given a permanent electric charge to help attract and remove submicron-sized allergens.
  • Does not remove gas molecules from the air.

UV Air Cleaner

  • Uses a HEPA filter as well as ultraviolet light rays to clean air.
  • Also acts as a germ killer to remove virus, mold and bacteria from the air.
  • Some units have a pre-filter as the first line of defense against larger particles. It is the less expensive filter and extends the life of the more expensive HEPA filter.

Ionizer Air Cleaner

  • Use an ionizer to clean air by charging molecules of air, which helps make indoor air more refreshing.
  • Ionizer technology in an air cleaner can also reduce static electricity and improve the filter’s efficiency.

Fiberglass Filter

  • Designed to protect the heating and air conditioning system from large particles, heavy dust and lint.
  • Protects furnace from larger particles and lint that enter the HVAC system.
  • Most common type of filter.
  • Fibers are not dense or electrostatically charged, so they cannot attract and capture smaller-sized particles.
  • This type of filter should be changed at least once a month.
  • Most common size for all furnace/AC filters are 20”x 20”, 20”x 25”, 16”x 20”, 16”x 25” and 14”x 25″.


Pleated Filter

  • A low-cost alternative to fiberglass filters, designed to protect the home’s HVAC system from dust.
  • Made of a dense and efficient cotton/polyester material.
  • The pleated design provides greater surface area to capture more particles than fiberglass filters.
  • Smaller sized particles can pass through the filter because fibers are not eletrostatically charge and the media must be woven with spaces between fibers to allow adequate airflow.
  • This type of filter should be changed every 90 days.

Electret Filter

  • More expensive than other types of filters, but also removes more particles than other types of filters. Also helps protect the heating and cooling system mechanical parts from dust, which helps extend its life.
  • Electrostatically charged. Contains “sites” that carry a permanent electrostatic charge. Sites attract and capture sub-micron-sized particles, as well as larger particles.
  • Captures large airborne allergens like household dust, pollen and mold spores.
  • Also captures microscopic allergens like pet dander, smoke and smog. Some manufacturers produce models that can capture bacteria and particles that can carry viruses.
  • Disposable. Should be changed every three months.

Electronic Filter

  • Filters the entire home by installing in the duct system.
  • Only operates when the furnace or AC blower is running.
  • Typically must be installed by a professional.
  • Electronic cells must be cleaned regularly.

Permanent Washable Filter

  • Consists of a flat panel of various woven synthetics.
  • Considered permanent because homeowners can rinse it free of particles and reuse it.
  • Should be rinsed every 30 days. Filter usually lasts 5-6 years.
  • Some brands have an anti-microbial agent that inhibits growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and fungi in the filter.
  • An electrostatic charge develops as air passes through the filter. The charge, however, varies with humidity and the furnace or A/C blowing cycles. This means some particles may fall off the filter, pass through it and re-enter the air stream.

Dial Thermostat

  • Controls the temperature in a room turning on or off the furnace or air-conditioner.
  • Temperature is set manually by a dial.
  • One type is low-voltage. It uses power from a transformer that converts 120-volt power into 24 volts.
  • Line-voltage thermostats are another type, and use the same power source as the units they control.

Digital Thermostat

  • Controls the temperature in a room turning on or off the furnace or air-conditioner.
  • Temperature is set electronically.
  • A popular type is a programmable thermostat that allows the use to preset temperatures for different times of the day.
  • A popular replacement for dial thermostats because they use the same wiring.

What kind of caulk should I use around window frames?

Latex caulks are good for filling these kinds of gaps. They clean up with water and most are paintable. However, they must be applied in temperatures of more than 40 degrees.

Draw-Cut Trimmer

  • Good for a variety of cutting applications.
  • Has one stationary lower blade and one moving upper blade.
  • Operates by an up and down squeeze of the handle.
  • Blades are typically tempered steel.


Scissor-Action Trimmer

  • Similar to a draw-cut trimmer, but has two moving blades instead of just one.
  • Operates with side-to-side pressure, like ordinary household scissors.


Leverage-Assisted Trimmer

  • Used for a variety of lawn and garden cutting applications.
  • Uses a cam located between the handles with an off-center pivot that increases the cutting efficiency.
  • Reduces the effort required to squeeze the handles.
  • Designed for one-handed use.
  • Has a safety lock or catch to hold blades together while not in use.


Long-Handled Trimmer

  • Used for a variety of cutting applications.
  • Has long handles to relieve crouching and allows user to stand while trimming grass.
  • Some models have a swivel head for more versatility.


Hand Edger

  • Used for edging thick sod around walks, flowerbeds, trees and shrubs.
  • Has a long handle with a sharp, high-carbon steel blade.


Lawn Fencing

  • Offers homeowners inexpensive protection for shrubs, trees and flowerbeds.
  • Vinyl-coated fence withstands harsh weather and does not need painting or other maintenance. Available in green or white.
  • Plastic fence is available in a 2” square mesh design and a 1” diamond mesh.
  • Available in white and green. Will not rot, rust or corrode and has no sharp edges.
  • Galvanized fence is available in 2”x4” mesh.
  • Typical fence stands 36” to 48” high.

Wire Fencing

  • Wires are welded together.
  • Can be taken down, rerolled and reused.
  • Stronger than woven fencing.
  • Used for fencing off children’s play areas, for protecting shrubs and young trees and for storing leaves for mulch.
  • Available as galvanized or vinyl-coated in heavy 14-gauge 2”x1” or 12-1/2-gauge 4”x2” mesh.
  • Typically sold in 50’ rolls, 36” or 48” high.


Garden Fencing

  • Designed to keep small predatory animals out of the garden.
  • A welded, galvanized fence with a large 4” square mesh at the top and a small 1” mesh extending 12” up form ground level.
  • The lower mesh can be buried several inches below ground to prevent digging under the fence.
  • Other specialty fencing is designed for use as a tomato cage, for protecting seedlings or as a flower trellis.

Diamond Weave Fencing

  • Extra-strong fencing with close mesh spacing.
  • Used often in public areas because it is more expensive than ordinary fencing but lasts longer.
  • Similar in appearance to chain link fence.
  • Can be vinyl-coated or galvanized.
  • Typically available in 50’ rolls 36” or 48” high.

Vinyl Fencing

  • Easy to install.
  • Sturdy enough to withstand the elements and requires little maintenance.
  • Fence posts can be made to slip over existing 4”x 4” posts. Boards and rails allow standard size limber to be inserted into them for added strength.
  • Available in a variety of post and rail, picket and privacy design styles.

Chain Link Fencing

  • Durable, trouble-free fencing that offers safety and security.
  • Another type is plastic chain link fence, available in a variety of colors, including white, orange and green.
  • Installation is difficult, so recommend a how-to booklet available from manufacturers.
  • Install using a fence stretcher.

Gate Hardware

  • A variety of latches, pulls, hinges and locking bolts are designed specifically for use on gates.
  • Types of latches include sliding bolt locks, magnetic, thumb action or padlock.
  • Hinges are usually reversible for use on left or right-swinging gates.
  • They come in tee, strap and hook-and-strap configurations.
  • Anti-sag kits are available that eliminate gate sag.
  • Usually constructed of heavy-gauge steel or with a tough polymer housing that is rust-free.
  • Ornamental hardware is often finished in black. Other types may be zinc-coated.

Floral Snip

  • For pruning, shaping and maintaining houseplants.
  • Usually operates with a scissor action.

Landscape Snip

  • Used in the garden or as a household tool.
  • Can cut through many types of material.
  • Has a serrated blade.

Hedge Shear

  • Used to shape ornamental shrubs and clip soft, young growth.
  • Blades are typically 8” to 10” long.
  • Some types have a serrated edge.
  • Some types have notched positions for bulk cuts.
  • Do not use in place of lopping shears or hand shears.

Bypass Pruning Shears

  • Has a hook and blade cutting mechanism.
  • Preferred by most professionals because they cut close to the stem and are ideal for cut flowers.
  • Usually used for stems less than 3/4″ in diameter.

Anvil Pruning Shears

  • Has a straight edge blade that cuts against a soft metal anvil.
  • Good for cutting dead wood.
  • Lighter than bypass pruning shears and easier to sharpen.
  • Usually used for stems less than 3/4” in diameter.

Lopping Shears

  • Has long handles and tempered steel blades.
  • Used to cut through heavy underbrush and branches up to 3” thick.
  • Available in anvil or bypass styles.

Tree Pruner

  • Pruning shears or a pruning saw is attached to a long pole that will accept extensions or operates with a telescoping action.
  • Some models have a rope and pulley configuration where the user pulls the rope to instigate the cutting action.
  • Typical pole length is 6 to 12 feet, but some reach up to 20’.
  • Used for high work or where a ladder cannot be used.

Pruning Saw

  • Used to cut dry or green limbs from trees.
  • Used on branches thicker than 1” and other tasks too large for lopping shears.
  • Some models fold for easier storage.
  • Some models have pistol grips handles for better leverage.

Bow Saw

  • Used to cut dry or green limbs from trees.
  • Used on branches thicker than 1” and other tasks too large for lopping shears.
  • Blade tightens a tension lever.
  • Has a lightweight, tubular steel frame.

Weed Cutter

  • May also be called a swing blade or weed whip.
  • For cutting tall grass and weeds.
  • Operates with a swinging motion.
  • Has a double-edged, serrated blade for cutting on the forward and return swing.


  • Large knife-like tool used for chopping and clearing thick brush and for heavy pruning tasks.
  • Usually has a hardwood handle with a hardened steel blade.

Long Handle Round Point Shovel

  • Round-tipped blade is made of steel and is forged or hot-formed to the front strap as a single unit.
  • Has better cutting power than a square point shovel.
  • Handle may be wood, fiberglass or metal.
  • Best for digging, mulching or dirt removal.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.

Long Handle Square Shovel

  • Square blade is made of steel and is forged or hot-formed to the front strap as a single unit.
  • Best used for scooping and removing materials.
  • Broader blade has a higher holding capacity.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.

D Handle Round Point Shovel

  • End of handle is shaped like the letter “D.”
  • Best for ordinary garden digging jobs.
  • Available in light and heavy weights.

D Handle Square Point Shovel

  • Best for removal of loose soil and handling light materials such as sand and asphalt.
  • Not for heavy digging.
  • Available in light and heavy weights.

Garden Spade

  • Has a square point blade usually about 7” wide and 12” long.
  • Has a D handle.
  • Some have a rolled shoulder on the top of the blade so the user can.

Drain Spade

  • Also called a tilling spade.
  • Used for digging ditches.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.
  • May have a D handle or long handle.

Roofing Shovel

  • The straight edge style is used for removing tar and rolled roofing.
  • The notched edge style is used for removing shingles.
  • May have a D handle or long handle.

Ditching Spade

  • For digging and clearing trenches.
  • Has a pointed square blade.
  • Best for use in heavy soil or rocky surfaces.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.


  • Has a deep blade for moving loose or bulky materials. Not recommended for digging.
  • Most have a D handle but some may have a long handle.
  • An aluminum scoop is light, durable and best for removing snow, grain or any loose material.
  • A heavy-gauge steel scoop is the most durable and can be used for nearly any loose material.
  • An ABS resin and poly scoop is designed for light duties such as snow.

Snow Shovel

  • One variation is the snow pusher.
  • Scoop specifically designed for removing snow.
  • Available in metal and poly blades.
  • Features include ribbed steel blades and a reinforced blade for increased durability.
  • Some have contoured handles to help user avoid back strain.


  • Has a blade at a right angle to the handle.
  • Available with long or short handles.
  • Different models are available for cultivating, planting and picking.


  • Used to burrow into soft ground to create holes for setting posts, footings or for planting trees or shrubs.
  • Some models have an adjustable yoke that can be locked into position or changed to drill different sized holes.
  • Operates by turning in a downward motion.
  • Has a T handle for easier turning.
  • Common sizes are 6”, 8” and 10”.

Post Hole Digger

  • Used to dig into the ground to create holes for setting posts, footings or for planting trees or shrubs in all soil types.
  • The user plunges the tool into the ground with the handles together. The user then pulls the handles apart which brings the blades together to remove the soil.
  • Heavy-duty models have sharp steel blades riveted to a heavy steel frame.
  • Light-duty models are made with blade and handle socket rolled from one piece of metal.
  • Typical spread point ranges from 5-1/2” to 6-1/4”.

Sod Lifter

  • Blade is beveled for cutting in both directions.
  • Used for loosening and lifting sod.
  • Removes sod at the root level and saves it for transplanting.

Hand Trowel

  • Used to loosen dirt in a garden.
  • Blade is usually 3-1/4” to 3-1/2” wide.
  • Another type is a transplanting trowel that has a slimmer 2” wide blade.

Bulb Planter

  • Used to plant or transplant flower bulbs or small plants.
  • The user twists the tool back and forth into the ground while pushing it into the ground. When desired depth is reached, remove the tool from the soil. It will pull up a core of earth with it.

Plug-Type Aerator

  • Cuts through hard soil to loosen and break up the dirt several inches below the surface so air and moisture can promote deep root growth.
  • Has coring points that puncture up to 3” deep.

Spike-Type Aerator

  • Cuts through hard soil to loosen and break up the dirt several inches below the surface so air and moisture can promote deep root growth.
  • Has spiked wheels that allow scrap-free transport across hard surfaces.

Spading Fork

  • Used to dig and aerate soil.
  • Has straight tines.


  • Breaks up clods left by spading or aerating.
  • Has one, three or four sharp curved tines or prongs.
  • A rotary cultivator with sharp spurs is best for heavier work.

Garden Hoe

  • Prepares soil for planting.
  • Also used for weeding.
  • Typical blade width is 6”.

Push Hoe

  • Also called a floral hoe.
  • Used for weeding, cultivating and aerating.
  • Pushed rather than pulled into the ground.
  • Blade slides just below the surface to cut weeds.
  • Handle is attached to the rear of the blade at a shallow angle.

Weeding Hoe

  • Has a pointed blade for lifting out weeds.
  • May be single or double pronged.

Scuffle Hoe

  • Cuts with both edges of its sharp, steel blade and works in both the push and pull motions.
  • Blade shifts back and forth to keep the angle right in either direction.

Mortar Hoe

  • Used to mix mortar, concrete, plaster and spackling.
  • Can have plain or perforated blades.
  • Handles can be 48” to 66” long.

Rubber Hose

  • Reinforced with tire cord fiber.
  • Resists weathering, cracking and kinks.
  • Heaviest and most durable of hoses.
  • Use with full-flow couplings.
  • Can be used with hot water.

Rubber-Vinyl Hose

  • Combines the strength and durability of rubber with the lightness of vinyl.
  • Easiest hose to use.
  • Reinforced with tire cord fiber.
  • The type with an expanded or foamed cover is easy to handle and has better kink resistance.
  • The type with an extruded or non-foamed cover had good flexibility and has better abrasion resistance.

Vinyl Hose

  • Most common type of hose and functions for most applications.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • The most common size garden hose sold is 5/8” and 50’.
  • The two-ply type is typically used as a promotional item and is susceptible to sun damage and deteriorates more rapidly than a rubber hose. It is lightweight and tends to kink easily.
  • The non-reinforced vinyl type is adequate for “open service” only, which means it is suitable for use with rotary or oscillating sprinklers, but is not recommended for use with any accessory featuring an integrated shut-off valve.

Flat Hose

  • Lies flat until water pressure rounds it into a 5/8” hose.
  • Stores more easily and compactly than a conventional hose.
  • Must be completely extended before water will pass through and completely drained before storing.
  • Because it is drained after use, it is less susceptible to freezing and cracking and will not wear on edges.
  • Weight is one-third that of a conventional hose but delivers same amount of water.
  • One type is made with a polyurethane liner and a tightly woven polyester jacket. The liner is bonded to the jacket to reduce kinking and leaking. Another type has a construction similar to a conventional, reinforced vinyl hose.

Soaker Hose

  • Uses thousands of tiny holes to allow water to seep out slowly over its entire length.
  • Saves water compared to sprinklers.
  • May be made of canvas, vinyl, plastic or rubber.
  • Can be run on top of the ground, under mulch or buried.
  • If buried, wrap the end of the hose in plastic to prevent dirt clogging it.
  • Generally, vinyl and rubber hoses are the most durable because they do not decay when buried.

Coil Hose

  • Shaped like a coil or a spring, this hose rebounds gently after each use for convenient storage.
  • Withstands sun and rain and has solid brass or nylon fittings for drip-free connections.
  • Usually made of nylon or polyurethane and is available in a variety of colors.

Hose Hanger

  • Provides compact and efficient hose storage.
  • Mounts easily to the side of a house or garage.
  • Hose is simply draped over hanger brackets for easy storage.

Hose Reel

  • Provides compact and efficient hose storage.
  • Uses a rotary action to unroll and roll hose.
  • Some models can be mounted on the house or garage, others ride on a caddy or cart.
  • Usually incorporates a leader hose that attaches directly to the water supply.
  • Some models feature storage trays for accessories.
  • Typical capacity is 150’ for 5/8” hose. A large capacity reel basket holds 400’ for 5/8” hose.
  • Some feature a screw-sliding guide mechanism for keeping the hose neatly wrapped on the reel.

Pistol Nozzle

  • Gun-type hose spray accessory constructed of metal or plastic.
  • Many have adjustable spray patterns from a fine mist to a solid stream to full flow by squeezing the handle or by turning an adjusting screw or using a multi-position clip.
  • Some models have a dial control for different spray patterns.

Straight Nozzle

  • Usually constructed of brass, diecast zinc or plastic.
  • Better models use an o-ring to seal off the waterflow, protect the inside adjustment threads and allow for smoother and easier spray adjustment.

Hose Mender

  • Used to mend or connect hose.
  • Metal clincher couplings have metal cleats around a brass insert.
  • Can be used on rubber or plastic hoses. To install, push the hose over the insert and pound down the cleats with a hammer or crimp with pliers to hold the hose.
  • For plastic hoses, use a compression fitting with a threaded collar as it is less likely to puncture the outer covering.
  • Plastic menders include a barbed tubular insert and clam shell-shaped clamps used on either plastic or rubber hose.

Hose Connector

  • Used to link garden hose and watering devices to the home water source, to connect sections of hose and to provide linkage for sprinkling devices.
  • Usually made of plastic or brass.
  • Some have a built-in shutoff valve.
  • A Y connector is another type that attaches to the water supply to control two hoses at the same time.

Watering Can

  • Available in a wide variety of styles in plastic and metal construction.
  • Effective for small lawn or garden areas.
  • Most portable watering device and easy to use indoors and in tight places.

Stationary Sprinkler

  • Lowest cost sprinkler available.
  • Effective for small lawn or garden areas.
  • Sprays water in a fixed pattern of holes in the top of the sprinkler.
  • Size, shape and pattern of these holes, as well as water pressure, determine the area covered.
  • Available in a variety of designs and hole patterns.

Oscillating Sprinklers

  • Sprays multiple streams of water out of openings in a spray tube that oscillates back and forth, watering a rectangular pattern.
  • Used for watering medium to large areas.
  • Traditional designs use curved aluminum tubes.
  • Other designs use corrosion-free, molded straight tubes with jets set at progressive angles.
  • Pattern adjustments are usually full sweep, left, right or center.
  • Place more water at the end of the spray pattern than in the middle.
  • Some models have built-in timers for automatic shutoff.

Impulse Sprinklers

  • Also called pulsating sprinkler.
  • Will discharge more water in a given period and cover a greater area than other sprinklers.
  • A spring-loaded arm provides a strong spray that is close to the ground, making it more wind resistant.
  • A large orifice prevents clogging.
  • A baffle plate controls the height of the stream to allow sprinkling under low tree branches.
  • A diffuser pin adjusts water stream from full jet to fine mist.
  • Also offers part- or full-circle operation.

Rotary Sprinkler

  • Delivers water from the tips of two or three spray arms that spin like a pinwheel.
  • Spray arms may have fixed or adjustable tips.
  • For watering small- to medium-sized areas.

Traveling Sprinkler

  • Self-propelled sprinkler designed to cover large, irregular areas, some as large as 20,00 square feet.
  • One style is the wind-up type. It follows a cord laid out by a user, has two speeds and large hose capacities.
  • Another style is the tractor type. It drags the hose behind as it follows the hose pattern. Better units are heavier, allowing a larger range, and have two speeds.
  • Better models also have a shut-off valve.
  • Delivers water by two arms similar to a rotary sprinkler. Adjusting these arms can change width of coverage.

Sprinkler Timer

  • Attaches to a hose to control sprinkling.
  • Can be either electronic or mechanical.
  • User sets timer for the number of inches of water needed and turns off the sprinkler when the pre-set amount is reached.
  • Some timers can be pre-set to operate for a certain amount of time, regardless of the amount of water discharged.

Backflow Protector

  • An anti-siphoning device.
  • Prevents reverse flow of water and contaminants back into plumbing pipes through unprotected hoses.
  • Can be plastic or brass.
  • Fits between the threaded faucet and hose.
  • Most plumbing codes require that non-removable breakers be used.
  • Drain in winter to avoid freezing.

Underground Sprinkler

  • Offers timed and pre-measured watering without hoses running through the yard.
  • A basic kit includes pipe and control tubing, valve assembly, sprinklers and electric control center.
  • The safest and most convenient type is the automatic pop-up sprinkler. It can have adjustable spray, bubbler and fixed spray heads for specific watering tasks.
  • Offers water savings as the sprinkler heads apply water at the rate of a gentle rain.
  • Reduces water loss from erosive run-off. System is freeze-proof and can be winterized quickly.
  • Sprinkler heads are mounted flush with the ground and out of the way of mowing equipment and children.
  • Control center runs from any 110V outlet.

Drip Irrigation System

  • Placed close to plant roots to water slowly and evenly.
  • Installed on top of the soil.
  • The key fitting is the emitter or dripper head. It has a small orifice and fits on the end of the hose.
  • Systems are easy to install and come with all of the necessary accessories such as hose adapters, couplings, emitters, spikes and clamps.

Lawn Cart

  • Also called a utility cart.
  • Carries bulky material such as mulch, shrubs or fertilizer around the yard.
  • Can be made of metal, poly plastic or wood and has two wheels.
  • Has a V or hopper-shaped bottom and a front spout for easy dumping.
  • Typical capacity is 3 to 4 cu. ft.
  • Features may include deep tool trays to keep tools organized and tool clips on the side for hanging garden tools.

Planter’s Wagon

  • Carries light loads of plants.
  • Some features include a fold-down handle that converts into a seat, a side compartment for storing tools and gloves, a removable tray and the ability to convert to an upright workstation.
  • Larger-capacity carts may be able to carry heavier loads than wheelbarrows but they are less maneuverable.

Trailer Cart

  • Pulls behind garden tractors and riding mowers.
  • They typically have a dumping mechanism located on the trailer towing bar or tongue. Dump by pulling a rope, releasing the body from the tongue.
  • Smaller capacity types hold 4 to 7 cu. ft.
  • Larger carts can hold from 8 to 17 cu. ft.


  • Light-duty models typically have a 3 to 4 cu. ft. capacity.
  • Medium-duty models typically have a 4 to 6 cu. ft. capacity.
  • A rollbar in front of the wheel contacts the ground to make dumping heavy loads easier.
  • Tray may be made of aluminum, steel or heavy plastic. Handles are either hardwood or metal.
  • Features a semi-rounded front for easy dumping.
  • Wheels may be solid rubber or pneumatic (inflatable). Inflatable tires are apt to puncture.

Contractor Wheelbarrow

  • Typically has a 5 to 10 cu. ft. capacity.
  • Tray has a deep front for added capacity and extra bracing.
  • Legs and bracing are made from heavy-gauge steel.
  • Wheel is typically 16” pneumatic.
  • A wide rim bead around the trough adds reinforcement for heavy loads such as cement and bricks.
  • Some models may offer knobby tires for added traction and longer wear.

Broadcast Spreader

  • Also called a rotary spreader.
  • Quick, efficient way to spread seed, fertilizer, weed and pest control or ice melt.
  • Has a hopper on a metal cart. The broadcast platform turns as the wheels move across the yard.
  • Used for larger lawns.
  • Feathers the spread of seed, eliminating sharply defined edges of spread.
  • Best for use in lawns that do not have flower beds or gardens in the middle, since it spreads material in all directions.
  • Includes flow setting to adjust for all sizes of seed and granules.
  • Hopper capacity varies with model.

Drop Spreader

  • Spreads precise seed and fertilizer spreading over smaller areas.
  • Dispenses material with the pull of a lever.
  • Takes longer than the broadcast spreader to complete a task, but offers more precision.
  • Typically spreads in an 18” to 22” path.
  • Includes flow settings to adjust for all sizes of seed and granules.
  • Hopper capacity varies with model.

Handheld Spreader

  • A handheld version of the broadcast spreader.
  • Used to spread small amounts of fertilizer, grass seed or ice melt.
  • Since it does not have wheels, the spreader uses a hand-turned lever to spin the broadcast platform.
  • Includes flow setting to adjust for all sizes of seed and granules.
  • Hopper capacity varies with model.

Lawn Sweeper

  • Features a cylindrical drum outfitted with rows of bristles that use a rotary sweeping action to pick up leaves, rocks and grass clippings.
  • More efficient than raking and works better on dry and level lawns.
  • A canvas container, usually 6 to 7 cu. ft. capacity, holds collected debris.


  • Efficient way to plant seeds in rows in a garden.
  • A blade at the front opens the soil while a dispenser drops the seed into the furrow then pushes soil over it.
  • Comes with seed plates to regulate the spacing of planted seeds.
  • Marks the spot for the next row for even spacing.

Unsupported Gloves

  • Good for applications requiring dexterity and mild chemical resistance, or disposable gloves.
  • Thin gauges offer a better sense of touch while a heavy gauge offers more protection.
  • May be constructed of latex, nitrile, neoprene, vinyl, polyethylene or blends.
  • Some styles are lined.

Flower Border

  • Encloses flower gardens or other plants.
  • Typically available in 6, 12 or 18 in. heights.
  • Made of galvanized or vinyl-coated metal or plastic.


  • Sits close to the ground to separate flowerbeds from lawn areas and keep grass roots from spreading into flower and garden beds.
  • Typically constructed of polyethylene plastic, aluminum or galvanized steel with a rolled top edge.
  • Another type is a length of scalloped wood slabs joined by wire in 3 ft. sections.
  • Some types are designed to look like stone or brick but feature poly construction that won’t chip, crack or fade.

Plant Pot

  • Also called planters.
  • Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as rectangular and round.
  • Contains plants for hanging or displaying inside or outside the house.
  • Clay pots are porous, allowing air and moisture to pass through.
  • Plastic pots are lighter and more colorful, but depend on drainage holes to relieve excess moisture.
  • Factors to consider when selecting a pot are size, drainage and construction.
  • Pots often include a saucer to catch water from the drain holes.

Grow Light

  • Gives indoor plants light they need to grow.
  • Versatile and can be fitted into bookshelves, into hanging planters, etc.
  • In order for the plant to maintain its shape, evenly distribute the light from above.

Plant Hardware

  • Used in conjunction with pots or other plant containers.
  • Different types can include hooks and brackets in a wide variety of styles and finishes, including vinyl-coated and rustproof items.
  • Other features include rotating hooks or swivel brackets.

Plant Stake

  • Supports and gives extra protection to young plants.
  • One popular type is the tomato cage or tower that encloses the tomato plant and contains and gives it support, especially when it is heavy with tomatoes.

Lawn Weed Control

  • Weeds are classified as grassy (such as crabgrass), broadleaf (such as dandelions and plantain), annual or perennial.
  • Weed seeds can lie dormant in the ground for several years, then grow again when conditions are right.
  • Spring is the best time to control broadleaf and grassy weeds when they are small and vulnerable. Weed killers are formulated to work best in temperatures between 60°F and 85°F.
  • Pre-emergent herbicides attack weeds before they break the surface of the soil. Apply them early in the spring. Post-emergent herbicides attack the plant after it begins to grow.
  • Selective herbicides kill certain plants but do not harm others. Non-selective herbicides will kill all vegetation they touch.
  • Do not rake or dethatch lawns after applying a pre-emergent herbicide. It will destroy the protective barrier the chemical has created.

Lawn Insect Control

  • Controls a variety of insects that destroy healthy lawn turf.
  • The active ingredient in some pesticides will remain active for months, eliminating the need for multiple applications.
  • Some products can be sprayed on while others are incorporated into a fertilizer in granular form.
  • Insects attacking lawns can be all shapes, colors and sizes, but they generally fall into two categories: surface-active (above ground) and soil active (below ground).
  • Examples of surface-active bugs are webworms, cutworms, army worms andchinch bugs.
  • Sod webworms damage lawns throughout the entire growing season by eating grass blades. Small moths flying in zigzag patterns across the lawn are a good indication these bugs are present.
  • Chinch bugs damage lawns when temperatures rise above 80°F. They attack grass stems and suck out plant juices. Lawns usually have to be reseeded.
  • Grubs are an example of soil active insects. They feed on grass roots, killing the grass in patches. White grubs become active when the soil warms up and they destroy lawns from late spring to early fall.
  • Many insects do not pose problems to lawns. Before you decide to use a pesticide, determine that the number of pests and potential damage and environmental impact justify the use of a pesticide.


Lawn Disease Control

  • Controls fungus-related diseases that destroy healthy lawn turf.
  • Fungi adheres to the plant, steals food from and/or deposits toxic substances in the cells of the plant.
  • Some types of disease controls are granular chemicals while others are liquids.
  • Homeowners who use a mixture of grasses have a better chance of their lawn surviving a disease as most diseases attack one specific type of grass.
  • Common types of lawn fungi are snow mold, leaf spot and dollar spot.
  • Snow Mold attacks grass any time from late fall to early spring. Grass turns a reddish color or tan to gray. It can destroy small areas or complete lawns.
  • Leaf Spot results in brown or black spots on leaves and can occur through a wet, cool fall, winter and spring season. Thinning of the lawn may not be noticeable, but leaf activity is quite pronounced.
  • Dollar Spot starts in mid-spring and/or when weather is moist and cool. Damaged spots are a bleached straw color. A cobweb-like growth is a sign the fungus is active.

Household Pesticides

  • Kill or repel pests that could come inside the home.
  • Improper application can have harmful effects on families and pets.
  • One popular type is the spray or fogger. These penetrate the cracks and crevices inside the house where insects nest. Users will need to leave the house for a period of time while the chemical works.
  • When using foggers, read the warning labels regarding use around open flames. The pilot lights on gas furnaces and appliances will ignite the insecticide if it reaches a high enough concentration in the home.
  • Pest repellents keep insects and rodents from entering the home. Common examples are sprays that repel dogs and wild animals from gardens and flowerbeds, or spray-on mosquito repellents that can be used on skin or clothing.
  • Pest traps will kill or confine rodents or insects. Common examples are the mousetrap and the roach trap. Traps incorporate some type of bait.
  • Poisons are ingested directly into the pest. Keep in mind they can also be harmful to household pets or small children.
  • Be sure to read the pesticide package carefully and follow all instructions.

Sphagnum Peat Moss

  • Adds body to sandy soil to help with water retention and also loosens and aerates densely packed soil with high clay content.
  • Consists of the remains of a spongy type of northern moss called sphagnum.
  • Reduces leaching of soil nutrients.
  • Adds organic material to soil.
  • Available in compressed bales from 6 cu. ft. down to 1 cu. ft.
  • Also available in smaller packages for use in flowerpots and in planter boxes that must be soaked before using.

Reed-Sedge Peat

  • Also known as Michigan-type peat.
  • Has similar characteristics and soil benefits to Sphangnum Peat Moss.
  • Includes the remains of a variety of swamp plants such as sedge grasses and reeds.
  • A velvety dark brown product that does not need extensive soaking.
  • Available in 25- and 50-lb. bags as well as smaller quantities.
  • Not a plant food. Fertilizers must still be added.


  • A brown or black organic substance consisting of decayed vegetable matter that provides nutrients for plants and improves the water retention of soil.

Compost Bin

  • A bin used to make compost.
  • Comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Should use at least a 27 cu. ft. in size to ensure it retains enough heat to spur the compost development.
  • Compost is the process of converting waste material into a type of synthetic manure.
  • Compost may contain leaves, grass clippings, prunings, straw, spoiled hay, coffee grounds, eggshells, paper and wood ash that decompose through bacterial action.
  • Due to its fertilizing value, compost can be spread on the lawn in the fall or on the garden at any time during the growing season.

Organic Mulch

  • A ground cover that protects ground temperature, reduces evaporation, prevents erosion, controls weeds, attracts earthworms and enriches the soil.
  • Good mulch should allow water to pass through it quickly but not be easily washed away by the rain.
  • Keeps soil surface as much as 10° cooler than exposed soil.
  • Thick applications of mulch will stop weeds, but it will need to be refreshed every year.
  • Types include bark, pine nuggets, cypress, hardwood, peat moss and pine mulch.

Rubber Mulch

  • Made from non-toxic, environmentally friendly, recycled materials that can be used indoors or outdoors.
  • Like organic mulch, it inhibits weed growth while retaining soil moisture.
  • Natural shape allows airflow into the ground.
  • Looks like organic mulch but doesn’t rot, dissolve into the ground, wash away from rain or loose its color as easily as regular mulch.
  • Available in a variety of colors.

Landscape Stones

  • Low-maintenance mulch that retains its look and does not decompose or erode.
  • Types include lava rocks, marble chips, limestone chips, river pebbles and brick nuggets.
  • Apply them 1” to 4” deep.
  • Lava rocks are lightweight and are more likely to be washed away by the rain.

Landscape Fabric

  • A type of ground cover used to prevent weeds from growing while allowing moisture to penetrate.
  • User cuts holes in fabric to enable plants to grow.
  • Usually covered with mulch or decorative stone when used in landscaped areas.
  • Can be used on newly seeded lawns to prevent seeds from blowing or washing away and to spur germination.
  • Can be organic or synthetic, woven or unwoven.
  • Available in various colors.
  • Sizes range from 3’ to 6’ wide to 15’ and 50’ long.

All-Purpose Potting Soil

  • Designed for gardeners who want to add ingredients to customize their mix with plant food.

Professional Potting Soil

  • Features additives such as sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, composted bark finds and a wetting agent.

Premium Potting Soil

  • Includes perlite and vermiculite, which aid in water drainage and aeration.
  • Features a wetting agent that provides more uniform water distribution in the soil.
  • Some mixes contain fertilizer in either water-soluble or slow-release granular form.

Natural Organic Fertilizer

  • One of three common types of fertilizer, the other two are inorganic and synthetic organic.
  • Does not dissolve in water.
  • Converted to usable forms by microorganisms in the soil.
  • Helps to create proper physical growing conditions, but can add disease or weeds to the lawn.
  • Usually does not contain a complete mix of the essential nutrients, making it necessary to apply additional types of fertilizer.
  • Less concentrated than synthetic fertilizer.
  • Slow-acting release.

Inorganic Fertilizer

  • Dissolves in water to become readily available to plants.
  • Contains ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate.
  • Causes fast growth for a few weeks, but can also cause foliage burn if improperly applied.
  • May contain some synthetic organics, too.

Synthetic Organic Fertilizer

  • Contains ureafoam and methylene urea.
  • Provides a combination of slow and fast release of nitrogen, combining the best of the other two kinds of fertilizer, inorganic and organic.
  • Easier to use than organic fertilizers because they are typically packaged for use with a specific application and are less bulky.

Dry Fertilizer

  • Combines nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • With some types, there is a danger of burning the lawn if applied too heavily or not watered immediately.
  • Spreads with a lawn spreader.

Liquid Fertilizer

  • Spreads with a hose that attaches to a container holding the fertilizer. Other types may be used on plants and mixed in a watering can.
  • Fertilizer is in a concentrated form that is diluted with the water from the hose.
  • Nutrients are immediately available to the plants, which makes this the fastest response fertilizer.
  • May require user to fertilizer more frequently, since fertilizer is absorbed quickly.
  • Fertilizer must be spread evenly to avoid burning.

Pelletized Fertilizer

  • In the form of semi-rigid pellets or capsules.
  • This type does not ensure a steady release of nutrients unless slow-release sources are included in the pellets.

Flower Seed

  • Sold in packages or in bulk.
  • Planting times and growing instructions will vary by plant. Read package instructions carefully.

Vegetable Seed

  • Sold in packages or in bulk.
  • Planting times and growing instructions will vary by plant. Read package instructions carefully.


  • Fast-growing seed, frequently used by itself or in mixtures.
  • Available as an annual or perennial. The annual quickly germinates for temporary lawns.
  • Good for slopes because of its quick germination.
  • Perennial ryegrass is ideal for lawns in the cool-climate, northern half of the U.S.

Kentucky Bluegrass

  • Forms a good sod when grown alone and thrives when included in a mixture.
  • Slow to germinate and become established.
  • Does not tolerate dense shade.
  • Responds well to fertilization and high mowing.
  • Grows well in lawns in the cool-climate, Northern half of the U.S., except in areas with mild winters, such as the maritime Pacific Northwest.


  • Good for shady areas.
  • Has finer blades than Kentucky bluegrass.
  • Usually the dominant seed found in mixes for shade.
  • Red fescue is well adapted to drought soils in both shady and sunny areas.
  • Tall fescue is coarse, but good for areas that need tough grass.

Bermuda Grass

  • Spreads by fast-growing surface runners during warm periods.
  • Becomes brown and dormant from first frost until late spring.
  • Not recommended for northern areas.

Centipede Grass

  • Good in moderate shade and infertile soil.
  • Has few insect or disease problems.
  • A good lawn for hot areas.

St. Augustine Grass

  • Recommended for Florida and Gulf Coast areas.
  • A coarse, tough grass that requires a power mower but little other maintenance.

Zoysia Grass

  • Planted by plugs.
  • Adapted to sunny areas in warmer parts of the Midwest.
  • Surface runners make a dense mat, which reduces weeds and crabgrass.
  • Turns brown slowly in mid-fall and remains dormant until mid-spring.

Weed Trimmer

  • Used for trimming weeds where lawn mowers cannot reach.
  • Comes in electric and gas-powered versions.
  • Some gasoline models have a two-cycle engine, which uses a blend of two-cycle oil and gasoline in the gas tank. Gasoline models with a four-cycle engine do not require mixed gasoline.
  • D-handles are usually adjustable and allow for left- or right-handed use.
  • A strong monofilament nylon line serves as the cutting blade. Cutting path is typically 17”.
  • Straight shaft trimmers allow for easy trimming under shrubs and branches. Curved shaft trimmers are easier for trimming along sidewalks, etc.
  • Some models have a head that can twist and convert the tool into an edger.

Hedge Trimmer

  • Typically comes in electric or cordless models.
  • Uses two, double-sided reciprocating blades to trim shrubs and hedges. Some models may have single-sided blades.
  • Better models have vibration reduction features that ease the strain on the user.
  • Blade lengths can range from 20” to 30”.
  • Other features include two large ergonomic handles, a blade guard, a throttle starting lock that prevents accidental engagement of the blade and start/stop controls on the handle.


  • Available in gas-powered or electric versions.
  • A wheel rolls along the ground as a guide while an adjustable blade edges sidewalks and trims around trees.
  • Some models feature padded handles and a vibration reduction system to reduce the strain on the user.
  • Other features include a skid plate to protect the blade gearbox, a debris deflector on the blade and a start/stop control on the handle.

Chain Saw

  • Usually gasoline powered, but electric and cordless models are also available.
  • Has an endless chain of cutting teeth that moves at high engine speeds.
  • For cutting and trimming trees and shrubs.
  • Blades sizes typically range from 12” to 36” long.
  • Engines are typically two-cycle, requiring a blend of oil and gas.
  • Standard features on many models include chain brakes forincreased operator safety, a blade guard and automatic oilers.
  • Other features may include carrying cases and large, cushioned anti-vibration handles to reduce the strain on the user.

Leaf Blower

  • Also called blowers.
  • Uses a high-powered fan to clear the yard, driveway, deck, etc, of leaves and debris.
  • Most common model is hand-held, although some are wheeled.
  • Some models can be converted into a vacuum that collects leaves and debris into a bag.
  • Some vacuum models will turn leaves into mulch.
  • Available in gasoline and cordless models.
  • Gasoline models are typically two-cycle.

Garden Tiller

  • Used to loosen and till the ground to prepare it for planting.
  • Also used to turn under lawns that are being repaired.
  • Gasoline engine drives the wheels as well as blades called tines used to break the soil. Wheel action and tine action is controlled separately.
  • Some models have tines that operate with a counter-rotating action.
  • Others use a forward rotating action, which is more common.
  • Till paths from 14” to 20” wide, depending on the size of the tiller and 6” or 8” deep.
  • The rear-tine tiller is used for larger gardens and its weight helps get the job done with little effort from the user. The engine is usually 4 to 8 hp and up and sits in front of the tine. These tillers are heavy and large, but best for heavy-duty work.
  • The front-tine tiller works well for mid-sized areas and some confined spaces, although it can be difficult to maneuver. The engine is usually 3 to 5 hp. It is tough and affordably priced.
  • Tillers with two-cycle engines are lightweight, easy to handle, especially in tight spaces, and are easy to maintain. They are good for cultivating established flowerbeds and gardens.
  • Most tillers have forward and reverse speeds as well as depth adjustments. Some models have attachments that allow for different types of soil preparation.
  • Possible features include a bumper to protect the engine and electric start.

Lawn Mower

  • Usually gasoline powered. Electric and cordless models are available for smaller lawns.
  • Cuts grass with a flat blade that rotates at the speed of the engine.
  • The self-propelled type has an operator-controlled, wheel-drive engagement handle to control forward power.
  • The side-discharge type discharges grass clippings to the right side of the mowing path.
  • The rear-discharge type discharges grass clippings to the rear of the mowing path.
  • Available with an attachable lawn bag to gather lawn clippings.
  • The mulching type is designed to cut and recut grass clippings into fine particles that will fall back, unseen, into the turf.

Lawn Tractor

  • The riding mower, or lawn tractor, cuts grass, but some types can also tow garden carts.
  • Engines may be 13 to 25 hp.
  • Heavy-duty garden tractors have the additional ability to use ground-engaging implements such as tillers, plows, snow throwers, etc.
  • Some models have two or three side-by-side blades that widen the cutting path. Cutting widths can be as wide as 50”.
  • Features may include automatic transmission, cruise control, reverse cutting, adjustable deck heights, the ability to turn on a tight radius, an hours meter and a cast iron front axle.

Snow Blower

  • Gasoline or electric powered.
  • A single-stage blower uses a rotating, rubber tipped auger to pick up snow from driveways and sidewalks and throw it either forward or through a chute in a single motion.
  • Do not use a single-stage blower on gravel driveways, as the blower could pick up and sling stones.
  • A two-stage blower can be used on gravel and is best for large areas or deep snow. This blower operates by first picking up snow with a slow turning metal auger, then slinging it out a chute from a fast-spinning impeller. These types are usually self-propelled.
  • Desirable features include easy chute and deflector adjustment, headlights and folding handles for easy storage.
  • Choose the model based on the typical amount of snow in your area. For areas with 12” to 18” of snow, recommend a two-stage model with 7 to 9 hp. For areas with moderate accumulations, recommend a 5.5 to 8 hp machine. For a smooth surfaces and light snowfall, recommend a single-stage blower.
  • Clearing paths for two-stage blowers range from 21” to 31”.


  • Aluminum is the most popular type of guttering and used on most homes today.
  • Galvanized guttering is sturdy, but is unpainted and requires some type of finish. This type must also be cleaned regularly if it is to last.
  • Vinyl guttering is easy to install and is manufactured specifically with the do-it-yourselfer in mind.
  • Plastic guttering is the least expensive option but not very durable.
  • Prolonged cold and hot weather can cause plastic guttering to be damaged.
  • K-style is the most popular, while a half-round style is also available.
  • Popular sizes of gutters are 4”, 5” and 6”. Larger sizes may be available.
  • Available in a variety of colors.
  • Uses a variety of fittings and connectors.
  • Continuous guttering is popular and avoids joints in the gutter, but is usually installed by a professional.


  • Attaches to the gutter to carry water down the side of the house.
  • Rainfall capacity of a guttering system is largely dependent on the size and number of downspouts rather than strictly gutter size.
  • Downspouts are usually rectangular in shape and come in 10’ lengths.
  • Popular sizes of downspouts are 2”x3”, 3”x4” and 4”x5”.


  • Diverts the direction of the downspout by 45 degrees.
  • A square elbow is available in two different styles.
  • A square shoe style elbow is used at the bottom of the downspout to help divert water away from the house.

Gutter Leaf Guard

  • Placed over the top of the gutter.
  • Used to keep leaves out of the gutter while letting rainwater in.
  • A variety of styles are available from different manufacturers.

Cooking Grate

cooking grate

Cooking grates are used in grills. This is what the food is placed on so that it doesn’t fall into the fire/burners. Some grills have multiple shelving options for food that needs to be close to or away from the heat.

Interior Paint

  • Is available in latex and oil-based formulations in different gloss levels such as flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss and high-gloss.
  • Interior latex paint is easily applied and can be thinned with water. Brushes and rollers can also be cleaned with water.
  • Latex paint is the most common and easiest type of paint to use.
  • Oil-based interior paint consists of a pigment that exists within a substance made of resins and thinners. When thinners evaporate, the resins form a hard coating—and the pigment provides the color.
  • The contents of oil-based paints make them harder to apply, although this same characteristic can also give them a heavier coverage on the first coat.
  • Oil-based paints have certain disadvantages, particularly the odor and the longer drying time (8 to 24 hours). Solvents, thinners or turpentine are also necessary for cleanup, and oil-based paints cannot be applied to moist surfaces.


Exterior Paint

  • Like interior paint, exterior paint is available in both latex and oil-based formulations—both of which are designed to withstand wear and exposure to severe weather conditions.
  • The advantage of exterior latex paint is that it films on exterior wood allowing moisture to evaporate through the film, which helps reduce blistering.
  • The disadvantages of exterior latex paint, especially of some lower-quality products, are poorer adhesion to badly weathered or chalking surfaces and, in some cases, less effective hiding qualities.
  • The best qualities of oil-based paints are their effective penetration of the surface and excellent adhesion. Oil-based paints have advantages over latex paints in that they adhere better to chalky surfaces and they provide better results for anyone repainting a surface that already has several layers of oil-based paint.
  • Trim paints are chosen to contrast with house color. They dry quickly to a hard finish; they are primarily for use on window frames, shutters and railings. Trim paints are not recommended for large surfaces.
  • Flat finishes, which mark easily, should not be used on doors, door frames or other areas that are exposed to wear. Satin or gloss paints are recommended for these areas.
  • Major problems associated with house paints are generally due to:
    • failure to follow manufacturer’s directions
    • excessive moisture
    • painting wet surfaces
    • painting during inclement weather
    • failure to use proper primer coat
    • failure to clean the surface completely.
  • Any of these conditions can cause blistering, peeling, early fading or similar problems.

Masonry Waterproofing Paint

  • Coating used for masonry surfaces including stucco, concrete, brick, cement, etc.
  • Most masonry paints are acrylic latex-based. Oil-based paint is not recommended for masonry because of the residual alkalinity in the masonry.
  • Most latex-based masonry paints require a special pre-treatment or bonding primer to tie down old chalk and dust before application.
  • Rough surfaces should first receive a coat of block-filler. Acrylic elastomeric coatings bridge cracks and pinholes to provide the best waterproofing.
  • Powdered cement paints, which have a shorter exterior life than latex coatings, must be mixed with water. They can be applied only over a porous masonry surface such as brick, stucco or concrete, or over surfaces that have been previously coated with this same kind of paint. For proper adhesion, the old surface must be wetted down thoroughly and the paint applied to the damp surface.
  • Masonry paint can be waterproof as well as decorative. For best color retention, coat with a good acrylic latex paint 30 days after application of waterproof masonry paint.

Enamel Paint

  • Is a type of oil-based or water-based paint with superior adhesion qualities.
  • Used in both exterior and interior applications.
  • Provides a resilient durable finish that can last for years.


Epoxy Paint

  • Is primarily for bare or previously finished wood and concrete floors. It penetrates rapidly and can be applied with a brush or mop.
  • Adheres to most surfaces and is especially good for doors, cabinets, trim and furniture—any interior wood surface where a clear-gloss, easy-to-clean finish is desired.
  • Resists detergent, oil and alkali, but may lose gloss and chalk under exposure to sun and weather.
  • Epoxy finishes are formulated in one- or two-part systems.
  • Two-part epoxies come in kits containing equal size cans and contents are mixed; they are more chemical- and abrasion- resistant than one-component epoxies.


Aluminum Paint

  • Is a paint with aluminum blended with a resin base.
  • For interior and exterior use on heated surfaces, such as ovens, barbecue grills, mufflers and other surfaces that are exposed to high heat.
  • It works equally well on almost any surface and may be brushed or sprayed. Colors become more intense with age.
  • Aluminum paint can be used on all interior and exterior metal or wood surfaces, or applied to metal flashing, gutters, downspouts, tools, tool sheds, patio furniture, pipes, mailboxes, fences, etc.
  • Do not apply aluminum paint during freezing temperatures; paint should dry at least overnight before recoating.


Paint Conditioner

  • Can be added to either oil-based or latex paints for a variety of reasons—to keep edges wet longer, to prevent lapping, to allow the paint to cover better or to lessen drag on the paint applicator.
  • Conditioners also lessen paint clogging in spraying systems.
  • Some additives are designed to give latex some of the better qualities of oil-based paints.



  • Japan DrierAlso known as Japan drier.
  • Increases the gloss and hardness of oil-based paint.
  • Also decreases dry time by as much as 30 percent.
  • Generally mix 8 oz. per gallon of paint.
  • Not for use water-based paints.

Paint Odor Additive

  • Reduces paint odors from both latex and oil-based paints.
  • Can also be used on lacquers, varnishes, epoxies, stain blockers and primers.


Paint Mildewcide

  • Paint additive that reduces mold and mildew.
  • Good for interior and exterior use.
  • For latex and solvent-based paint.
  • Also can be used with water-based adhesives.
  • Some paint manufacturers suggest that additives may not live up to their claims and can even have adverse effects, such as increasing mildew growth. They can also void paint warranties, so check manufacturer policies and literature.



  • Ensures better and longer-lasting results when applied before any type of paint.
  • Primers and stain-killing primer-sealers are designed to seal porous surfaces, block out stains, promote adhesion of the topcoat and hide unwanted colors.
  • Improves adhesion, prevents stains on the surface from bleeding through the finish paint and seals porous surfaces.
  • Priming the surface also saves paint and prevents paint resins from soaking unevenly into the substrate.
  • Water-based primer-sealers bind moderately chalky surfaces and offer good adhesion to glossy surfaces and metals. They are almost odorless and clean up with soap and water.
  • Oil-based primer-sealers can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces. They work well for nicotine stains and cedar bleed. They give off a low odor and clean up with mineral spirits (paint thinner).
  • Acrylic block fillers should be used to prime concrete block.
  • Stain-killing primer-sealers are oil-based, water-based or shellac-based. They prime virtually anything that needs painting, including metal, masonry, wood, drywall and previously painted surfaces. They are typically white-pigmented and can be tinted to match the color of the topcoat to reduce the amount of finish paint needed for the job.
  • Shellac-based primer-sealers are ideal for interior woodwork and spot-priming knots on exterior wood. They are best for sealing off troublesome stains from water leaks, mildew and fire damage. They also seal off odors from smoke and pets. Clean up requires alcohol or a 1:3 solution of household ammonia in water.

Spray Paint

  • Is an aerosol-based product used for a variety of applications.
  • Spray paint is classified by the type of finish and length of wear.
  • Generic terms such as “enamel” and “lacquer” are used, but they also encompass a variety of film-forming resins with differing characteristics. Read labels and manufacturers’ literature for a description of actual features.
  • Latex-based spray paint is safe to use indoors or outdoors, resists scratches and cleans up easily with soap and water. It can be applied to wood, metal, wicker, clay, plaster and plastic materials.
  • There are three kinds of aerosol propellants: hydrocarbons (liquid propellants), carbon dioxide (a compressed gas) and dimethyl ether.
  • Hydrocarbons are effective as propellants because they turn to vapor as the product is used and then fill the void left by the decrease in product.
  • Carbon dioxide does not maintain a constant pressure, so it is best recommended where a coarse, wet spray is needed and where the distance to be sprayed is short.
  • Aerosols are effective and safe—as long as the product is used in well-ventilated areas. For most aerosols, instructions on the can make usage easy, but paint is different because the kinds and qualities vary greatly.


  • Used For scraping debris off of floors, sidewalks or hard surfaces.
  • Good for removing ice.
  • Has a flat, steel blade.

Trim Brush

  • Also called a sash brush, it is generally available in 1” to 3” widths.
  • Available in natural bristles (generally used for applying oil-based coatings) and synthetic filaments (for water-based paints).
  • Used to paint trim and smaller, detailed work.
  • End of bristles or filaments (or edge) can be square (flat) or cut at an angle (angular) for cutting in delicate trim work. Tips can be “flagged,” or have split ends.
  • With square trim brushes, the end of the brush is trimmed flat or horizontal. With chisel trim, the end of the brush is cut to a dome-like shape, which increases taper and cutting-in properties.

Paint Brush

  • Also called a flattening brush.
  • Generally comes in 3” to 5” widths.
  • Used for painting larger surfaces, such as ceilings, floors, chimneys, etc.
  • Available in natural bristles (generally used for applying oil-based coatings) and synthetic filaments (for water-based paints).

Varnish & Enamel Brush

  • Commonly used by professional painters for applying a wide variety of paints and stains.
  • Known for holding and delivering more paint than other types of brushes.
  • Some have satin-edge finishes on bristles for enhanced performance.
  • Recommended for both interior and exterior painting.
  • Available in natural bristles (generally used for applying oil-based coatings) and synthetic filaments (for water-based paints).

Stain Brush

  • A wider brush generally available in 4” to 6” widths.
  • Many types feature natural white China bristles for working with oil-based stains, sealers and wood toners.
  • Also available in synthetic filaments.

Radiator Brush

  • Also called hockey stick due to shape.
  • Used to paint hard-to-reach areas.
  • Sash positioned at 45-degree angle to long handle.

Foam Brush

  • Foam brushes have handles like regular brushes, but a foam pad replaces the bristles.
  • Considered disposable because they are inexpensive, but most are durable enough to be cleaned and reused.
  • Ideal for clear finishes, however, most brands are not recommended for use with lacquer or shellac, which have chemical formulas that destroy the foam.

Paint Roller

  • A tool consisting of a handle with an extension socket on the end to allow the user to add an extension pole and a frame that holds the roller cover.
  • Great for speed of application.
  • Standard wall rollers are 7″ to 12″ wide.
  • Some rollers have shields incorporated into the structure of the tool to combat spatter and drizzle.
  • Smaller rollers, called trim rollers or mini rollers work well on woodwork and other small areas that cannot be painted with standard rollers. They are available in many different sizes and shapes, depending on the area for which they are designed.
  • An advanced roller is the paint stick, which pumps paint straight from the handle or the can to the wall, where it can be rolled on with the attached roller. The advantage is that the user does not have to deal with drips or messy trays.