Dear Maintenance Men – Maintenance Tools & City Inspections

Last Updated: May 2, 2016By Tags:


Dear Maintenance Men:

I am going to university and want to use my DYI skills to supplement my income.  Being that I live in a college town, there are a lot of rentals aimed at students.  Since students are sometimes hard on their living quarters and move a lot, I figured there might be a maintenance market for repairs and making rooms and rental units rent ready.  I don’t have a lot of money to invest in tools and want your recommendation for the minimum I might need tool wise to get started?


Dear Bryan:

Good thinking Bryan, you might just be on to something; students can be a bit hard on rental units! Keeping in mind that as a college student yourself, you have limited funds, so other than a cordless drill, we will leave power tools out of the picture. The majority of the repairs will involve drywall, plumbing and cleaning. Other than light bulbs, leave the electrical to the pros.

Basic Tools

  • Retractable utility knife
  • 5 in 1 paint scraper
  • Drywall saw
  • Drywall mud and tape
  • Bucket
  • Hacksaw
  • Claw hammer
  • Tape measure 25’
  • Caulking gun
  • 6 way screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Channelock tongue & groove pliers
  • Small hand snake for bathroom sinks.
  • Toilet plunger
  • Broom and dust pan
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Safety glasses
  • Step stool
  • Cordless drill/screwdriver

This is a limited tool set used for light duty work. Try to buy quality tool. Many can be found at garage sales for a fraction of the retail price. With these tools, you will be able to change a faucet, repair drywall holes, unclog bath sink drains, caulk bathtubs, haul trash etc.

Dear Maintenance Men,

I am planning major remodel work to my 4plex and need some advice. My contractor has told me not to worry and he will have everything under control but I know that city inspections can cause serious delays if we are not ready for them or do something wrong. I am not an expert or experienced in construction, what should I watch for as far as the actual inspections are concerned?



It is not often we are able to share our experience on the actual General Contracting and building side of our business so, thank you for your question.

We have listed the top reasons why professionals do not pass inspections taken from a 2015 JLC (Journal of Light Construction) survey.

Foundation: Improper reinforcement or support of rebar

Wall Framing: missing fire-blocks, hold down straps etc.

Floor framing: missing anchor bolts, sheeting nails missing joist.

Trusses: bracing not installed, improperly connected to wall plate

Roofing: over driving of nails in shingles, missing nails, incorrect felt

Window and Door: improper flashing, inadequate fire rating, improper weather stripping

Handrail: Improper height or spacing

Plumbing: missing nail plates, improper pipe support

Electrical: missing grounds, GFCI protection, labeling of circuits

Decks: deck not built according to the plans, improper handrail installation

Dear Maintenance Men:

I have been contemplating the purchase of a high pressure sprayer for my employees to use in maintaining and cleaning around my apartment buildings.  Because these pressure washers produce a powerful stream of water, I am worried about my employees hurting themselves or damaging the building.  What size machine do you recommend and how safe are they to use? Should I rent one first?


Dear Julia:

As with any large ticket items it is always prudent to “try before you buy”. Fortunately there are a variety of rental places to choose from which carry all sizes, makes and models.

A rental yard will often use the best and longest lasting machines. Most times these companies can provide you with the best information on the products in regards to maintenance, wear & tear, life expectancy and performance.

In regards to workers safety, look at the operators manual for the best advice on personnel safety wear and use. These machines can produce a very powerful jet of water capable of ripping through clothing, skin and even break small bones.  You should always wear goggles, leather gloves, and steel toe leather work boots with nonskid soles.

Stucco & wood siding is especially susceptible to damage when using a power washer. Use the lowest setting and wide spray nozzle to avoid damage.  Lightly mist stucco surfaces if cleaning is your objective. Keep nozzle adjusted to spray not stream and approx. 2’ to 3’ away from the surface.

As with most things, proper training will help insure safe usage of power tools.


Please call: Buffalo Maintenance, Inc for maintenance work or consultation.  JLE Property Management, Inc for management service or consultation

Frankie Alvarez at 714 956-8371   Jerry L’Ecuyer at 714 778-0480  

CA contractor lic: #797645, EPA   Real Estate lic. #: 01460075 Certified Renovation Company


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