Builder Chicks represents the day-to-day needs of women in the construction industry. We offer the latest building news, links to educational resources and job boards. We bring you stories related to developments that affect all construction workers. Enjoy your first cup of morning coffee with Builder Chicks.


Starting Right: Top 5 Power Tools

If you're a weekend warrior or you're just getting the construction bug, power tools will make your life (and your projects) much easier. I've compiled a list of my favorite "must have" power tools.

While your list may vary, due to your building needs, the follow 5 power tools have a place in any workshop and on any jobsite:

  1. Circular Saw: For cutting on the fly, a circular saw is vital. This saw goes everywhere and makes the final cuts on dimensional lumber. Not the best, however, for cutting sheet wood panels.  My personal favorite is the Dewalt Circular Saw.
  2. Cordless Drill: The corded variety also works well but a cordless drill goes with you, even where there is no electricity. Use it to insert and remove screws and drill small pilot holes or very large holes. My favorite cordless drill is made by Makita, but there are other good brands out there, too.
  3. Table Saw: You can start with a small table saw if you're only doing wood craft or small projects, but you'll eventually need a kick-ass table saw if you're planning a large remodel or an addition. Look for safety features and read online reviews before buying. For big projects, get a 12-inch saw for more cutting power.
  4. Orbital Sander: This small power tool will save your elbow if you have a lot of sanding to do. The best feature is its ability to sand in random patterns, which will help you avoid sanding marks. Right now I'm using a Dewalt Orbit Sander but in the past, I used a Milwaukee sander and it was pretty good.
  5. Compound Miter Saw:  I almost chose the jigsaw for 5th place but I really think the compound miter saw has a spot in the Top 5. While your table saw will cut large sheets of wood with ease, it cuts straight lines. A compound miter saw cuts angles. You'll use it for triming around windows, installing baseboard and fitting cove. I'm using a Hitachi that has given me five years of service and show no sign of slowing down. Love this saw!

There it is. The Top 5 Power Tools for any workshop. Do you have different favorites? What's your favorite tool manufacturer?

Note the New Tag Line

If you're new to the blog, you might not know that I just changed the tag line to better represent what Builder Chicks is all about. I want to accentuate the construction world as it relates to women builders, contractors and skilled workers while focusing some of the attention on the news that is relevant to our industry.

Last Month for the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

Unless congress extends the deadline, April is the last month in which you can take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit.

This should send buyers scurrying to find the perfect home and sign a contract before April 30.

No one really knows if the credit will be around in May and it's highly likely that congress will keep us hanging until the last minute, just to encourage buyers to purchase now.

But, we can't depend upon "maybe's." If you're thinking of buying, this might be it.

How Will Climate Change Affect Your Construction Practices?

We hear about it almost daily. Our industrial practices are creating emissions that destroy portions of our atmosphere's protective abilities, allowing our climate temperatures to fluctuate wildly, melting ice flows and raising ocean tables.

Congress is taking note and so are organizations that are studying the best ways to reduce additional impact on our environment.

So, how will climate change affect your construction practices? The US Green Building Council  has developed a rating system, the LEED system, that offers green building suggestions for new residential and commercial construction projects.

These suggestions are just that...suggestions. But construction experts think they will be implemented into building code before long.

In the short run, the cost of construction materials will likely go up. Even when it's voluntary, homeowners and commercial clients want the new eco-friendly technology. If you start learning about it now, you'll be ahead of the game. Instead of gravitating to the well-known and the reliable construction materials, ask your lumberyard representative about new green building materials they are selling. Find out the pros and cons. If you can afford it - try it.

Start a construction waste recycling program on your jobsite. The way you dispose of construction materials is preparing to change. By recycling some construction waste, you will reduce the impact from the need to manufacture new construction materials. Talk to your employees and start a construction waste recycling program that becomes second nature before you're required to do so.

Relax. I've spoken with numerous contractors who are none too happy about the coming adjustments created by climate change. You can fret about it all day but it won't stop the changes. However, you can become proactive in the movement, follow the new green building trends and the changes will have less impact and make more sense. And you'll be ready to implement them cost effectively.