Home Improvement Wiki
Al Borland

Al Borland.jpg

Full Name
Albert Borland
An unnamed father (deceased)
Alma Borland (mother; deceased)
Cal Borland (older brother)
An unnamed sister
Hal Borland (great-grandfather)
Assistant on Tool Time
Minority owner of Harry's Hardware
First Appearance
Last Appearance

Albert "Al" Borland is portrayed as Tim Taylor's long-suffering sidekick on the show-within-a-show Tool Time, as well as one of Tim's closest friends. He is played by Richard Karn.

Family, fashion sense, and career[]

Al is slightly overweight, and always seen wearing flannel, about which Tim jokes consistently. He wears flannel so often that, in the wedding episode, Tim bets his friends that Al is wearing a flannel thong. The reason he always wears flannel came from his father, who, when asking young Al to assist in their own various home projects, would put his old flannels on Al to keep him clean or warm. Al wears flannel as a tribute to him after he died.

Tim also often criticizes Al's mother, Alma Borland, who is never seen, but is apparently severely overweight.

Al also has an older brother, Cal Borland, who looks and dresses almost exactly like him, though he is moderately heavier than Al.

When Al was younger, he took fencing in school. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the Navy. Although Al was enticed by the recruiting slogan "Join the Navy and see the world", in actuality he was stationed in Nevada. It seemed that the Navy helped pave the way for Al's future, as he was assigned to a Seabee battalion and did a lot of work building. A year after getting out of the service, Al was a construction crane operator with Local 324. Al owns a 20% share in Harry's Hardware, a local hardware store. He drives a 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis which his mother passed down to him. He collects keys from classic cars and even designed a board game based on Tool Time, which he sold and marketed to great success-the object being not to end up in a hospital! Al also has his own fan club. He has several years of his life on several VHS tapes.

Al's beard[]

Al's beard is also a constant joke by Tim. In one episode where Tool Time is celebrating their fifth anniversary show, Al is shown in the first ever episode of Tool Time without a beard & Tim with a beard.

Sometimes Tim refers to Al's beard as "stingy" and "do-do birdy".

Al's knowledge of tools and home improvement[]

He generally knows what he is doing more than Tim, and he seems to have a better knowledge of tools and home improvement than Tim. In the first episode of Tool Time, he was described as a "master plumber" by Tim Taylor. He also is very serious about his job, unlike Tim, who often jokes and messes up the project. Al often speaks fondly of his time as a U.S. Navy Seabee. Although Tim is the one who messes up most of the projects on Tool Time, Al often suffered the blame, but some episodes would clearly show Tim responsible. Occasionally Al messed up a project, although that was on account of honest miscalculation as opposed to Tim's attitude of "more power!" Despite this, Tim and Al are good friends offstage, and Al often helps out, either by helping with home projects, or by watching his children.

Love life[]

Throughout the series, Al has had four different girlfriends. In season one, Al went out with Greta Post, who he met while she was volunteering to help out during a Tool Time show. In season two, he had a single neighbor named Cynthia, but he kept his relationship platonic with her because she was "on the rebound" and he didn't want to take advantage of her. He almost went out with Tim's ex-girlfriend Stacey Lewis; however, he wasn't interested in her as much as he thought. From seasons three through five, Al went out with Dr. Ilene Markham, an orthodontist who was a sister of one of Jill's co-workers. They got engaged, but they decided at the wedding that they shouldn't marry. Al met a woman named Trudy in late season seven and married her in the series finale in 1999.

Running gags[]

  • His overweight and overbearing mother
  • He hugs Tim when the latter doesn't want to be hugged.
  • Al's mom looking for a smorgasbord
  • His noted "wearing flannel"
  • His beard
  • His weight
  • Tim making fun of him being dull or unattractive
  • Al's popularity among Tool Time fans being greater than Tim's
  • Al's love of Bingo
  • Al's admiration of fellow home improvement television host Bob Vila
  • When Tim would suggest doing something particularly stupid, dangerous or both, Al would reply, "I don't think so, Tim."
  • Whenever Tim would make a particularly sexist or otherwise offensive remark, Al would hold up a large card with Tim's mailing address and say, "That's Tim Taylor, care of Tool Time, PO Box 32733, Detroit, Michigan, 48252."
    • One time, Tim grabbed the card out of Al's hands and threw it away, only for Al to immediately produce another card.


  • Al's name is a play on the last name of Tim Taylor's actor, Tim Allen.
  • In the episode commentaries featured on the Season 1 DVD Set, the executive producers reveal that "Cal" was a fan from Texas who sent his photo in a fan letter. Upon seeing his resemblance to Al, the producers brought him in to be Al's brother, Cal.
  • According to the season 1 DVD, Al's name was originally supposed to be "Glenn".