I scan the media every week to keep up to date with all things home building and remodeling, new tools and technology in the trades. I also talk to dozens of owners. I can tell you that inflation and soaring interest rates are causing more and more homeowners to consider tackling home improvement projects they would have rented two years ago.
The good news is that you can rent a lot of cool tools that you might not know existed. These tools make tasks easier to accomplish without help – and therefore often cheaper and less time-consuming for you.
A month ago, I was hired by a woman from Florida to be her virtual general contractor for a major renovation of her home in central Maine. This energetic lady thought that with me in her back pocket, available to make video or voice calls while she’s on the jobsite, I could help her get this project done. She can save almost $100,000 by my calculations.
The good news is that she has a plethora of tools and machinery at her disposal that she can rent that will help her and her contractors complete the project. I’m going to share a few here, to inspire you to take on a project that you might have put off thinking it was too labor intensive.
A manlift is one of the most exciting machines you can hire. It allows you to work at height in complete safety. Although not necessarily new, the capabilities and range of the machines have improved considerably. Imagine working from a level platform with guardrails 30 feet off the ground. Just a few days ago, half a mile from my house, a chimney contractor used one to install a stainless steel chimney on the roof of a new house. The machine allowed him to do it quickly and, above all, safely.
You can use manlifts to install windows, siding, and gutters, paint the exterior of a home, repoint brick chimneys, and even redo a sloped roof that might terrify you. If you hate ladders, you’ll love men’s lifts.
Do you need to pour concrete behind a house or up a hill? Imagine how difficult it is trying to push a wheelbarrow full of heavy concrete even on a slight slope. Why not rent an electric buggy? They are tiny, powerful, motorized dump trucks. They come in different sizes, but a popular one is just over four feet wide and can carry 2,200 pounds of concrete on each trip. It has tracks like a bulldozer or a tank, so it can go just about anywhere. You can use one to transport and unload gravel, sand, stones, bricks, etc. An electric buggy can easily replace up to eight men on certain jobs.
Need some plumbing work done but don’t trust your soldering skills? Forget soldering and use crimp fittings. You can rent a tool that crimps the outside of slip fittings that create a permanent seal with a rubber O-ring. In the past, you may have taken three minutes to clean, prep, and solder a fitting onto copper tubing. This same fitting can now be installed in less than 10 seconds using the press tool.
Tubular scaffolds are by no means new. Masons have used it for decades to lay bricks and stones on the exterior of homes and commercial buildings. It’s simple to assemble. You can get a wide variety of accessories such as stairs, railings, leveling feet, wheels for hard and smooth surfaces and work platforms.
I have used tubular scaffolding to paint houses as well as to install new roofs. Scaffolding allows you to work safely on the lower edge of the roof. These amazing monkey bars work well when it’s time to do some rough carpentry. I set up the scaffolding to install the ridge beams and roof rafters. I like the stability of tube scaffolding, and it’s very inexpensive to rent for a month at a time.
Do you need to break up a worn concrete driveway, patio or sidewalk? Rent an electric jackhammer. These have been around for decades, but you may not have known about them. They just need a normal 15 amp 120 volt circuit. These powerful tools can break up thick concrete if that’s what you have to do.
If you need to dig a trench or a hole, you can hire a machine to do it. With just a few minutes of practice using the joystick controls, you’ll be able to dig a trench with fluid movements. Skid steer loaders have been around for at least five decades. These allow you to move large amounts of sand and gravel and dig holes in sandy or clay soil. They’re great for jobs where you can’t fit a big backhoe or big loader.
You can also rent miniature excavators and loaders. These can fit very small yards and will allow you to dig shallow holes for new patios, sidewalks or a driveway if needed.
As crazy as it sounds, you might want to visit tool rental stores or surf their websites to see all the tools they have for rent. You might just see the perfect tool that will inspire you to become a real handyman. And remember, I’m just a phone call away if you get stuck.
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