General Contractor Chris Rapczynski Shares his 5 Must-Have Tools for 2018


Better Quality Contracting Work Starts in Your Toolbox

Finances and money management rank high on the list of business concerns for Boston contractors. We’re always focused on aligning the actual cost of doing business with what we charge for our services, and we have to account for variables like equipment, materials and worker reliability that can impact the true cost.

When it comes to tools, I’m an advocate for spending a little more to save a lot. Higher-quality tools have a higher cost up front, but can cut major costs in the long run because they’re able to get the job done more safely, with higher accuracy and greater efficiency.

But there’s a catch. Spending the money on pricier tools means you must ensure those tools have a long shelf-life to pay off your investment. Here are a couple tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t spend the money on an expensive tool if you’re doubtful you or your crew will be able to properly maintain it. You’re better off putting wear and tear on an older or less expensive tool to avoid wasting your money.
  • Don’t invest in a pricey tool if it isn’t likely to get used often. For a single job or infrequent use, there’s no need to run out and buy the most expensive tool. Save your money for the tools out of which you can get a lot of mileage.


If you know you can maintain the tool and will use it regularly, it is likely a must-have. Check out the 5 tools that have helped me deliver high quality work, create efficiencies, and cut costs.

Seek Thermal Camera

How It Works: This high-performance tool helps you quickly assess the health of a building using non-destructive thermal imaging technology. You can instantly see problems invisible to the naked eye, such as heat loss, missing insulation, chemical leaks or failing motors.

Why It Works: Problems with complex electrical or heating systems can be hard to identify and track, but spotting them right away with a thermal imaging camera removes the need for more involved work. This makes diagnostics safer for contractors and it saves money for my clients.

Why I Love It: It’s pocket-sized, affordable, and highly effective, especially for evaluating heat loss, water damage, and proper insulation, which are top concerns of Boston homeowners during snowy New England winters. Watch this video to learn more about why I love the Seek Thermal Camera.

Festool Planex Wall Sander with HEPA Vacuum Dust Extractor

How It Works: The Festool Planex sander takes the mess and difficulty out of sanding by efficiently collecting dust and easily adjusting to the available space. Its modular, durable design means you can use it anywhere and it will work well every time.

Why It Works: Less mess means less cleanup, and when you can sand the drywall faster and more efficiently, it takes less time. This product can create a huge cost savings that just compounds with the size of the job. It also delivers an incredible finish.

Why I Love It: First, it makes you feel like a wall sanding superhero. The finish this tool provides is unparalleled. It also adjusts easily to where I am, and has several attachments and accessories, which is helpful when working in older Boston homes that often have unique layouts. I also love the dust removal. It makes the job site cleaner and the air a lot easier to breathe. It’s an expensive tool, but well worth the price.

Estwing Straight-Claw Framing Hammer

How It Works: This hammer has great striking power and comes equipped with a shock-reduction grip, so you can get the contracting jobs done without any discomfort from impact vibrations.

Why It Works: While this tool isn’t incredibly pricey or complex, it’s extremely durable and effective. I know it will get the job done – I have had this hammer for 20 years.

Why I Love It: It’s a great baseline tool that every contractor should have. It comes in handy for every project.

Bosch Laser Level

How It Works: Hanging pictures at the same height around a room is possibly one of the most difficult things to do accurately without a lot of measuring and marking. This laser level eliminates all that work by simply shooting a red laser line across the whole room.

Why It Works: It saves so much time, and it removes the need to draw on the walls to mark each nail spot. The job is done cleaner, faster, and all wall hangings are guaranteed to be at even heights around the room.

Why I Love It: The ease of use this product provides is worth the expense. It takes a job that’s complicated and makes it simpler and faster, which is worth a lot in this business. It’s a must-have tool.

Porter Cable Headless Trim Gun

How It Works: This headless pinner allows you to hang trim without leaving a mark. Headless nails leave an eyelash-thin hole that can’t be seen, allowing the true aesthetic of the trim job to shine through, which is so important for contracting work in Boston homes.

Why It Works: It’s a durable, reliable tool with consistent power and penetration, so you won’t waste time and money redoing work or replacing wasted trim board. Plus, this one tool accommodates different fastener lengths, so you don’t need multiple pinners to get the job done.

Why I Love It: This headless pinner just makes hanging trim easy. I can load it quickly, and I know it will leave my work looking smooth and professional. The fact that it’s so dependable and can be used at almost every job I do makes the expense well worth it.

There is no doubt about it – investing in the right tools will allow you to work more efficiently and safely, and will produce a more polished and professional finished product. If you’re looking to achieve higher-quality work in 2018, pack your toolbox with high quality tools!


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