There’s no doubt about it. Utility knives are multifaceted tools that are not just for the industrial space. You can use them around your house as well, from renovating your floors to repairing nylon window screens. Of course, it helps tremendously to have a quality utility knife at your side. Let’s take a look at features to look for while shopping for a utility knife and some common tasks that are made significantly easier with the help of this tool.

Cutters: Utility Knife for Household and Industrial Uses - wood shims, utility, trim, knife, drywall

Utility Knives Can Slice Through These Materials

Utility knives can cut through a wide array of materials, especially if you find one with a sturdy and effective blade. One such blade material, zirconium oxide, has the distinction of being tougher than steel while still being safe to the touch.

These utility knives with zirconium oxide blades are capable of slicing through triple-wall corrugated cardboard, rope, foam insulation, caulk, carpet, nylon window screens, cardstock, plastic, vinyl flooring, and much more. In addition, you won’t have to worry about the blade rusting, which decreases the need to frequently change blades or have to replace the whole knife.

Cut Old Carpet

If you need to cut up old carpet, you can always rely on your utility knife to get the job done. Just make sure you have a blade that’s strong enough to easily slice through stiff carpet backing.

Now, if you’re replacing a section of carpet, you can start by cutting out a rectangle while utilizing a straightedge for guidance. That section can be used as a template for the replacement piece.

Repair Window Screens

Replacing a tattered nylon window screen for your screen door is a walk in the park with everything that’s on the market. However, after working the new window screen and the spline into the metal frame, you’re left with excess mesh.

Thankfully, you can remove the said excess mesh with your utility knife. Position a straightedge over the new spline and slice near it to clear away the extra material.

Slice Through Dried Caulk

Caulks and sealants tend to be immensely resilient. You can’t use just any run-of-the-mill knife to slice through dried caulk, but you can use a utility knife. Slice through the caulk along both sides of the bead (refrain from starting in the middle). The objective is to separate the bead from the surface area.

Once you’ve done that, you can utilize a stiff-blade putty knife to scrape the caulk free.

Cut Drywall

Utility knife blades are perfect for cutting through drywall’s thick paper exterior. As with most of the tasks on this list, be sure to employ the use of a straightedge while you cut the drywall. You should slice through the drywall sheet deep enough (⅛ inch should do the trick) so that it snaps along the cut line after you apply pressure.

Next, take your utility knife and shave the rough edges until they’re smooth.

Trim Wood Shims

Wood shims are a necessity when you’re installing a new door. They can help square up the said new door and ensure that everything is even, especially the jamb.

But once you’re done, you may find the excess shims are protruding from both sides of the door. You can use your utility knife to score each side at the seam where it meets the framing. Simply bend the shim toward the score line to snap it off.

Strip Wires

A utility knife is capable of stripping wires if you don’t have wire strippers on hand. Gently score the jacket of the wire with your tool. Then, work your knife around the jacket without cutting through it.

Slice Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is no match for a utility knife. However, if you find that your blade is too short to completely cut through the thick batt, you can kneel on a board on top of the fiberglass insulation to compress it. Slice through the insulation by utilizing the board as a straightedge.

Slice Veneer

Normally, you would use a circular saw to cut hardwood-veneer plywood, but, before you do that, you can use your utility knife as a guide. Score a line along the outer edge of your cut line. Employ enough pressure to slice through the top veneer layer. This ensures that the saw will leave splinter-free edges in its wake.

Remove Grout

While there are tools specifically suited for removing old grout, if you’re working with a small tile, a utility knife will do the trick. Start by lightly scratching away the grout in the joint between the two tiles. After you’ve created a groove, you can apply a bit more pressure as you gently continue to remove the grout.

Remove Paint-Covered Screws

Have you ever tried taking out screws when they’re totally covered in paint? It’s not easy. You can use your utility knife to carefully scrape the paint out of the screw slots. Do this until the tip of your screwdriver can fit securely in the said screw slots.

Are You Ready for Your Utility Knife?

Utility knives are a must-have for your toolbox. For the do-it-yourself enthusiast, paying for a knife like this may save you some extra money. If used correctly, you can make housing upgrades on your own and be proud of knowing you were responsible for the end result—with help from your new tool.