Unless you’re buying and renovating homes to “flip” them for profit, your goal is likely to make your living space as comfortable as possible so that you can live in it for a long time. In fact, about 1 out of every 10 homeowners aged 18-44 renovate their homes with the intention of living out their golden years there.

It makes sense that you’d want to concentrate your renovation efforts when you’re younger and a bit more physically able; even though you’ll have more time to tend to the day-to-day maintenance of your home after retirement, plumbing supplies, building materials, lumber and roofing materials can be heavy and the work can be very labor-intensive if you’re taking it on your own. Understanding the different kinds of materials and the tools you’ll need as you start any renovation project will help you save some time and make fewer trips to the hardware store.

Common Construction Materials

Lumber is a very basic supply, but there are a lot of different species of wood and different types of lumber for each job. Certain woods are better for certain projects, but in general, there are two types of lumber: hardwood and softwood. Hardwood is typically used for furniture, flooring, and cabinets. Softwood lumber is used for things like building decks and framing houses.

Plumbing supplies generally don’t come to mind when thinking about renovations unless something has gone bad in the plumbing. But you’ll still want a solid grasp of plumbing to make updates to your bathroom or kitchen. While some plumbing issues are best left to experienced professionals, a solid core understanding of how your home’s plumbing system works will help you avoid unnecessary repairs and make some drastic improvements to your bathroom–for example, if you ever decide to install a new, bigger bathtub.

Roofing materials vary greatly and can affect the value of your home as well as the type of protection you’ll get. Most areas of the country experience hail, and if you’re renovating your roof, impact-resistant shingles may be worth the investment. If you already have (or are considering) concrete or ceramic tiles for your roof, the cost will be greater but the value and level of protection will also be higher.