Husband, father, home improvement TV show host. He is a caring family man, good friend and talented handyman when it comes down to it, but his macho behavior and overconfident attitude freqently gets him into trouble.
Jill Taylor (Patricia Richardson)
Tim's quick-witted wife, who is frequently exasperated by his antics. They are Happily Married
all the same. Also likes to meddle in other people's problems, which usually makes it worse.
Wilson W. Wilson, Jr. (Earl Hindman)
Tim's wise old neighbor who gives good advice from the other side of the fence.
- Alliterative Name
- Almighty Janitor
- Catchphrase: His welcoming "Hidey-ho!", his understanding "Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm", beginning his sage advice with "Tim, I'm reminded of...", and his gentle "No no no no" when the person on the other side of the fence misunderstands him.
- The Confidant: Everyone turns to him when they need advice.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: In his stranger moments
- Expansion Pack Past: Wilson has been all over the world and met with many famous people, in addition to having the most obscure hobbies.
- The Faceless: Famously, the audience only sees half of Wilson's face. Sometimes the top half, sometimes the bottom, other times just obscured.
- There are moments where his whole face is seen. But he's usually too covered in makeup to be recognizable.
- The Philosopher
- Repetitive Name
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Not an extreme case, but then it doesn't take much to confuse Tim.
Al Borland (Richard Karn)
Tim's assistant on Tool Time
, who proves to be a more competent handyman than Tim.
Brad Taylor (Zachery Ty Bryan)
Tim and Jill's oldest son, who goes through typical teenage problems. Popular and athletic, takes a lot after his dad.
Randy Taylor (Jonathan Taylor Thomas)
The middle child. Starts out as a smart, mischievious, loudmouthed kid. As a teenager he gains a liberal conscience and becomes a journalist for the school newspaper. Doesn't share many interests with his father, although they have the same sense of dark humor and a similar penchant for self-assuredness.
- Big Brother Bully: Morseo than Brad, as he was almost always the instigator when they picked on Mark, and unlike Brad still always took shots at him when they were teenagers.
- Bratty Half-Pint
- Characterization Marches On: Justified by the fact that he went from a child to a teenager during the course of the series. That said, it's still a bit strange how in an early episode, him getting detention is apparently so common that Jill just assumes he'll get it before he even leaves for school, whereas a few years later Randy getting detention draws baffled "You?!" reactions from the family as if they couldn't fathom the idea that Randy would possibly ever get detention.
- Deadpan Snarker: Discussed in a few episodes. In one, Tim notes that he and Randy are the most alike in personality, due to their smartaleck attitudes. Another has Tim noticing that Randy's cranking the snark to high as a coping mechanism following his grandpa's death (something Tim himself had done before) and offers himself as an outlet so Randy doesn't offend the more serious mourners.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The responsible to Brad's foolish one (in later seasons).
- Height Angst: In an episode later in the show's run Randy complains to his father that his "little" brother is taller than he is.
- Insufferable Genius
- Jerkass Fašade: Underneath his smug exterior he's actually pretty insecure, especially in the earlier seasons
- Put on a Bus: In season 8 he leaves for Costa Rica. The Bus Came Back once more for that season's Christmas Episode.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: He's one of each to his brothers.
- Sensitive Guy: To Brad's Manly Man.
- Manly Man: To Mark's Sensitive Guy.
- Smug Snake: Does have a high opinion of himself.
- Soapbox Sadie
Mark Taylor (Taran Noah Smith)
The youngest son. Originally an innocent little boy who was frequently picked on by his brothers and used to fall for all of their pranks. Grows into a bit of a dork, goes through a Goth phase and later takes up an interest in filmmaking.
- Children Are Innocent: And extremely gullible.
- Deadpan Snarker: He does occasionally deliver some good snark, especially after Randy leaves.
- Emo Teen: In season 7.
- The Generic Guy: After he stopped being a cute little kid he didn't have much of a personality aside from being slightly awkward. Turning him into an Emo Teen was an attempt to do something about this, but it didn't last. His final personality was as the cast AV Club Nerd.
- Kiddie Kid
- Out of Focus: He was the most prominent of the boys early on, as he idolized his dad and was often around him. But after he grew out of the cute stage the writers didn't find much to do for him, and he spent several seasons delivering only Mandatory Lines in most episodes. After hitting puberty his screentime increased a little again.
- Justified, as Taran Smith realized over the course of the show that he didn't want to be an actor.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Brad and Randy's Manly Men.
- The Dog Bites Back: Anytime he gets revenge on his brothers for their bullying. Plus he gets pretty good at snarking them when he's older.
Heidi Keppert (Debbe Dunning)
Tim and Al's assistant on Tool Time, whose main purpose is to introduce the hosts while dressed in tight clothing.