Five Heavy-Duty Jobs Made Easy | OLFA - Professional OLFA – Professional

Five Heavy-Duty Jobs Made Easy

Five Heavy-Duty Jobs Made Easy

So you’re a pro, or at least you think like a pro. And the results of your handy work have to say pro or you may well have not even started the project. Now, it’s time to outfit yourself like a pro when it comes to those heavy-duty jobs. The ones that take lots of backbone, grit and determination. Ones that will have you feeling accomplished at the end of the day, and waking up sore in the morning.

They say the right tools are essential for doing the job right—even more so with heavy-duty jobs. So we checked in with real-life contractors. Ones out in the field swinging hammers every day, living and breathing heavy-duty jobs from the roof to the basement. We wanted to know:

  • What’s in their tool belt
  • What they rent rather than buy
  • What secrets help them finish the job faster and easier

Armed with the tools and tricks of pros, maybe, just maybe, you won’t be as sore in the morning.


Must-Have Tools:
Pneumatic roofing gun
Heavy-duty knee pads (leather or foam)
OLFA 18 mm or 25mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife
Toeholds or roof jacks
Potato fork
Chalk line

Equipment Worth Renting: Compressor, roofing gun, large ladders or scaffolding

Roofing Shortcuts

  • Any roof with more than an 8″ pitch (that means rising more than 8″ for every 12″ in length) is tough to walk. This is where roof jacks or toeholds are needed. They create a secure platform for you to work on a steep incline.
  • Keep tar paper as straight as possible. Use the tar paper guidelines to check rows are even. This will keep you from having to snap several chalk lines as guides.
  • Cut shingles from the back asphalt side. Your cutting blades will last much longer.
  • Use a framing square for a straight cutting edge.
  • If you have to remove shingles from a roof, a potato fork makes quick work when it comes to tearing the old ones off of the subsurface.
  • Eliminate shingle cuts in the valleys by placing a single row of colored shingles running parallel to the valley’s flashing. Then shingle over. No need to cut or trim in the valley as the layer below makes the stair-step edge nearly invisible. Save that OLFA Heavy-Duty Utility Knife blade for trimming the ends of your shingles.
  • Even if you’re shingling your own house, don’t cut corners when it comes to material delivery. Have shingles delivered and boomed up to your roof, saving your energy and muscle for the job itself.


Must-Have Tools:
Spade shovel
OLFA 18mm or 25mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife
Garden rake
Leaf Rake

Equipment Worth Renting: Skid loader, large tree spade, tree dolly (gas powered)

Landscaping Shortcuts

  • Before beginning any landscaping project, be sure to check for belowground wiring, gas and water pipes. Call to mark your local utilities one week in advance.
  • Save yourself another project by making sure all drainage flows away from the house before you begin landscaping. If it doesn’t, be sure to incorporate this into your current landscape project. Proper grading away from your house is important, and make sure all downspouts direct water flow away from your house.
  • Cut slits into root balls before planting with your utility knife. It is also good practice to use a utility knife to score the roots before planting any tree, shrub or potted plant. This helps them from being root- or pot-bound after planting.
  • Know your lift limits. When it comes to landscaping, things often are a lot heavier than they look, especially rocks and balled-and-burlap trees and shrubs.
  • Use your lawnmower to cut the outline of sweeping curves and beds. This way you are guaranteed that it will be easy to maintain since the curves won’t be tighter than the equipment you will be using.
  • OLFA Heavy-Duty Utility Knives are perfect for trimming plants and sod using the fully extended 18mm Heavy-Duty Solid Bladein your OLFA-Pro Heavy-Duty Utility Knife for cutting thick sod, or leaves from bunches of daffodils once they’ve bloomed and faded.


Must-Have Tools:
Particulate dust mask
OLFA 18mm or 25mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife
Work gloves
Tape measure

Equipment Worth Renting: Fiberglass insulation blower

Insulation Shortcuts

  • Plan this project at the right time of year. Hot temperatures outside mean dangerous temperatures in attics and tight enclosed spaces.
  • Always wear protection against insulation particles. That means always have a particulate (not vapor) dust mask on, plus gloves and long sleeves and pants when working with fiberglass.
  • Cut thin insulation using the fully extended 18mm Heavy-Duty Solid Bladein your OLFA-Pro Heavy-Duty Utility Knife.
  • Blow insulation into attics. Use insulated batting between floors and walls. Purchase precut bats to speed the job.
  • Some materials suppliers may loan out insulation blowers for free. If not, many rent them.
  • Think “fluffy, not stuffy” when insulating. Pack loose because it is the air space in the insulation that makes it work.
  • Measure surface area from the outside of an attic when ordering material. Use floor space below to measure, and always order extra material…you can always return what is not open.
  • If blown insulation compresses, just refluff using a leaf or thatch rake with flexible tines.


Must-Have Tools:
OLFA 18mm or 9mm Utility Knife
48″ or longer rigid straight edge
Tape measure
Floor leveler (available in powder or premix)
Large trowel

Equipment Worth Renting: Weighted roller (100 pounds or more)

Linoleum Shortcuts

  • Remove all base mouldings before working on your flooring. Do this carefully because if you accidentally crack one, you will have another project on your list.
  • Surface area for flooring should be smooth and clean. Sometimes, it’s easier and faster to cover the surface of the area to be floored with a ¼” underlayment.
  • Create a template of your floor surface using rosin paper (red paper), newspaper or cardboard. Simply lay pieces, overlapping each other but making sure the edges are against the outside dimensions of the room. Use masking tape to tape paper or cardboard pieces into one large functional pattern.
  • Always lay the pattern on the topside of the flooring when cutting. Use a straightedge to guide your OLFA Heavy-Duty Utility Knife.
  • If you don’t have help, consider flooring tiles over 12′ wide sheet linoleum. Tiles are much easier to carry and handle by one person.
  • Do not put adhesive around the outer perimeter of the room when laying linoleum. Leave space 2″ to 3″ from the walls free of adhesive, making it much easier to trim linoleum with your OLFA utility knife.
  • For easier trimming, use the 18mm Heavy-Duty Snap-off Hook Blade, a durable carbon-tool steel blade with a sharpened hook that allows you to draw the knife toward you for precision cuts along walls. And, it fits the 18mm-Pro Heavy-Duty Utility Knife.
  • When seaming, or even fixing a damaged area in linoleum, overlap at the seam or patch and make one clean cut between both pieces. This will result in an invisible, identical match in the cut.


Must-Have Tools:
12″ power miter saw
Framing square
Variable speed drill driver
48″ or longer level
OLFA 18mm or 25mm Utility Knife
Posthole digger

Equipment Worth Renting: Gas posthole digger, pneumatic nail gun

Decking Shortcuts

  • While more expensive, consider using composite decking. It saves lots of work in the future in deck maintenance.
  • Before attaching a ledger board to the house, lay out all joist hangars at ground level. It’s much easier to measure and attach the hangers on the ground rather than in the air.
  • Secure deck rail supports below the base of the deck board, making sure they line up with the bottom of your deck structure. Block in the deck rail supports with scrap 2″ x 6″ boards below the deck surface to keep them sturdy for years to come on your rails.
  • Use an OLFA utility knife to mark where you’ll cut boards for this project. The blade won’t break like the lead of a pencil, and it’s nearly invisible to the eye, even if the mark remains after cutting.
  • Stack deck boards of the same dimensions and cut together, ensuring identical cuts.
  • For supported decks, always notch support columns to hold the main outside support joists. The notch gives added strength and eliminates shifting when weight is on the deck.
  • Always make your deck 2′ longer or wider if possible. You’ll be surprised how quickly the deck surface fills up with furniture and outdoor goodies. In the future, you’re going to want that extra space.
  • Decks are one of those projects where measuring twice and cutting once pays off several times along the way.