Construction work is an important but difficult job, and to ensure that construction workers stay safe on the job while performing their duties with precision and quality, they need to possess the best tools. If you’re considering a career in construction, find out about nine things every construction worker needs in their tool belt before they can claim they’re truly ready.
In a world where power tools are replacing hand tools, the humble hammer remains steadfast and essential to a construction worker’s tool belt. Often, the kind of hammer you’ll need will depend on the project. It will also change based on the materials you use during the construction process. But you should always expect to have some form of hammer on your tool belt. Here are some hammer types you’ll often use:
- Ball-peen hammer: Also known as a machinist hammer, this double-headed hammer has a flat and round side. While people typically use it in metalworking, it can also strike punches and chisels or round off rivet edges.
- Claw hammer: This is probably the most common and recognizable hammer. With it, you can drive or pull nails from objects. Because manufacturers forged this one from softer alloys, it’s unsuitable for heavy hammering like ball-peen hammers. The highest quality claw hammers are fiberglass, and you may notice that some have waffle-faced heads. This design provides greater accuracy but often leaves a mark where a flat head would not.
- Drywall hammer: As the name suggests, this hammer finds its use in the construction or destruction of drywall. It’s a lightweight hammer ideal for applying nails to drywall. It also features a hatchet-like backside for removing nails or tearing down drywall.
- Electrician hammer: This hammer is similar to the claw hammer. However, it has an insulated fiberglass handle to ensure the construction worker is safe from electrocution while working around electrical components. The other notable difference is that the electrician hammer has a longer striking face to work better in tight areas.
While it may not always be necessary for a job, a multipurpose wrench is a valuable tool to have on your belt. You can use it to drive lag screws, level equipment, and adjust fixtures and appliances during the construction process. The longer the wrench handle, the greater the leverage you’ll have. The adjustability of the multipurpose wrenches will allow you to get the snuggest fit on a nut for better grip.
Having a Philips head screwdriver and a flathead screwdriver will always be beneficial for a construction worker. Screwdriver sets with adjustable heads are even better, as they allow you to work with any screw size. Furthermore, they make it much easier to reach screws that are in tight or difficult spots. While power drills have become more commonplace as replacements for screwdrivers, it’s not as practical to carry them around with you. A manual screwdriver will serve in a pinch without being too laborious.
Chisels have a more expansive range of uses than you might expect, and you shouldn’t dismiss them as mere tools for masonry. Wood chisels are great for shaving down wood without needing to plane it or shape it to fit with something else. They offer a simple and elegant solution. Consequently, chisels are ideal for building timber-framed houses, framing, and performing trim carpentry. If you’re working with metal, cold chisels are advantageous because they can shave it down and cut through bolts with a seized nut. Of course, there’s still the masonry chisel meant to shave down materials like brick, concrete, or stone. All these chisels have a place on the toolbelt—you just need to pick the right one for the job.
A pair of gloves is one piece of safety equipment that you can store on your belt. Your hands are your most important tools, and construction worker gloves protect them from injury. They’re invaluable whether you’re working with sharp tools or generally doing hard labor. It’s always a good idea to keep a spare pair of gloves on your belt just in case something happens to your first pair. While they can protect you well and endure the physical demands of construction, they’re not invincible, though. Therefore, you shouldn't place yourself at risk by working with ripped or compromised gloves. At that point, you might as well work with no gloves at all.
Caulking is an important adhesive that prevents water infiltration. Thus, it’s a critical step of the construction process. While you’re working, you’ll want a caulk gun on hand with a high compression ratio. This ratio will allow the caulk gun to move the thick product at a steady and consistent rate to create an even spread. Water damage can be devastating to a building and is even more difficult to correct than to prevent. Save yourself the hassle by being ready to caulk at a moment’s notice.
Accurate and thorough measurements are essential for a successful and high-quality construction job. Keep a measurement tape on your tool belt to prevent yourself from taking inaccurate measurements and making eye-balled judgments. It will make measurements easy and convenient for projects both big and small. As you consider what measuring tape to keep with you, consider the type of job you’ll be doing. You should look for measuring tapes with little clips on them for convenience as well. Doing so will allow you to easily attach and remove the tape from your belt when you know you’ll need to use it a lot.
A heavy-duty utility knife can cut through drywall, sheet plastic, linoleum, boxes, rope, roofing shingles, wallpaper, and more. At the same time, it’s safer to use than a typical pocketknife or box cutter, which may be too weak to be effective. Selecting a utility knife with a sturdy body will allow you to replace the blade multiple times and ensure your utility knife lasts a long time. Having a trusty knife on hand is always helpful when you’re trying to account for any situations that may pop up.
When thinking of the things every construction worker needs in their tool belt, few people ever expect something as simple as a pencil to be on the list. Writing down measurements, plans, and more ensures a construction site has strong communication between workers. It prevents mix-ups regarding measurements and ideas. As an organizational tool, a pencil is vital. And when you’re planning ongoing construction projects, you must have something with which to write.