How A Utility Knife Can Help You Around The House

When you live in a renovation project, you can never had too many handy “tools” (I say that in quote marks because I am the queen of using something as a tool that technically isn’t one!) One of the most versatile tools is a utility knife. Not just used regularly in industrial settings, it can also be a valuable asset around the house. Whether you’re a seasoned pro in the DIY world or a novice on the home renovation front, you can find many uses for a utility cutter besides opening online packages. 

Let’s dive into how a utility knife can help you around the house, what materials you can cut with, and what to look for in a high-quality utility knife. 

Open A Variety Of Packaging And Materials

I have used everything from keys to spoons to try and open packages (yes I have no sense of logic!) Utility knives, especially high-quality ones, are great for slicing through various materials and opening packages beyond cardboard boxes. Instead of clawing at thick layers of stubborn tape with your fingers or reaching for that butter knife, an effective multi-purpose utility cutter will complete the task in no time flat, due to its sharp blade and specially designed handle. 

Besides cardboard boxes from Amazon, a solid utility knife can cut through plastic packaging, clamshell packaging, triple-wall corrugated packaging, and cartons. As far as materials are concerned, your handy utility cutter can slice through vinyl, drywall, twine, foam insulation, netting, rope, plastic wrap, wallpaper, felt paper, decals, stickers, and more. 

Cut Up Old Carpet

Since we moved in we’ve gradually been replacing all the carpets in the house with wooden flooring, it’s just more practical when you’ve got pets. If you’ve got a utility knife with a versatile blade that doesn’t dull or rust, you’ll find it’s the perfect implement for cutting old carpet. Of course, you need a sturdy blade to slice through carpet backing. Firstly, to replace a section of old carpet, cut a rectangle using a straightedge to maintain precise lines. Make sure to exert enough pressure to cut. You’ll use that piece as a template for the replacement. 

Remove Grout

In the past 18 months I’ve replaced both the grout in our en-suite and on the splashback behind the kitchen sink. Removing grout is one of the most common household renovations. While you can purchase a grout knife, why waste money on an extra tool when your utility knife will do the trick? You can lightly clear away the grout between two tiles by using the tip of your knife blade. Apply more pressure once you’ve created a groove, ensuring you don’t accidentally chip the surrounding tiles. 

Cut Fruit And Veggies

You don’t always need a fancy kitchen knife to cut food. If you’re in a pinch, a utility knife works just as well. For example, you cut mid-sized fruits and veggies, cheese, meat, small citrus, and sandwiches. Just be sure you wash your blade thoroughly before and after using it on food to avoid cross-contamination. 

Slice Through Vinyl Flooring

Another popular DIY project is installing vinyl flooring. With floating vinyl sheet flooring, you don’t have to worry about gluing it down (it “floats” above the subfloor), making it easy to install. However, you’ll still need to cut the vinyl sheet to fit the room. While you can use a standard utility knife blade, a hooked blade is excellent for lifting the vinyl floor and cutting it without damaging the subfloor. 

Nylon Window Screen Repair

If you have a screen door, you know it’s a wonderful asset for those hot, humid summers. Thankfully, with the help of window screen repair kits on the market, it’s easier than ever to repair and replace nylon window screens. 

You can use your utility knife to tackle excess mesh once you’ve stretched and worked a new screen into the channel on the metal frame.

Simply place a straightedge over the new spline, revealing the surplus of mesh. Then, remove the mesh along the straightedge. 

Sharpen Pencils

Don’t throw your hard-earned money at a pencil sharpener (What is this, the ‘90s?) – a quality utility cutter can sharpen your pencil just as well. Of course, you want a knife blade resistant to wear and tear and not easily dulled, primarily since you’ll engage in repetitive movement as you sharpen your pencils. 

Ensure Clean Paint Lines

Utility knives can take your paint lines to the next level. Even with painter’s tape, it can be difficult to achieve clean lines; you might find yourself removing paint along with the tape. So, before you do that, lightly run the blade’s edge along the tape without applying too much pressure. 

What To Look For Before Purchasing A Utility Knife

If you’re hunting for a utility cutter, consider buying one with a zirconium oxide blade. Zirconium oxide is a durable ceramic that lasts longer than standard metal and is safe to the touch. In addition, it’s a material that never rusts or dulls, cutting through multiple materials of varying thicknesses. As a result, you won’t have to change blades as frequently, which puts more money in your pocket.

As for handle material, a glass-filled nylon handle is a sturdy option that is comfortable to hold and can withstand the elements.

Definitely something for next year’s Christmas list, no?

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