Doing home repairs and decorating yourself can save you a lot of money, increase your skillset and give you an enormous sense of self-satisfaction when the work is complete.
The best place to start is having the right tools for the job – you don’t want to get halfway through a job and need to run out to the shop to buy a particular tool at 9pm!
Also, you want quality tools, you don’t want your new screwdriver snapping the second time you use it.
A small number of basic tools is all you need to begin with as these are the items that you will need over and over again – no matter what the job may be.
The trusty Hammer, You can’t build anything without one and with a good claw hammer, you can pull a nail out too!
You might need one to smash through a wall too – but a good Sledgehammer and you have what you need.
Purchase a good-quality, well-built hammer that’ll last you years; make sure it’s comfortable to hold and easy to swing.
2. Screwdriver Set
If it’s not held together by nails then it may well be held together by screws. A flat-head type and a Phillips will give you the tools to handle different types of screws. Make sure you get Multi-Bit Screwdriver Set so you’re equipped to deal with every size and shape of screw you may come across.
3. The Adjustable Wrench
Nuts and bolts As with screws, you need to be able to deal with any size which you may come across. A longer handle will give you more leverage for dealing with tight bolts. You will need a comfortable grip and buying a three-piece set will offer you the options cheaper buys will not. Buy one of these and you are suddenly a DIY plumber.
4. Stanley Knife / Utility Knife
If you need to trim some wallpaper or open a box, then a Stanley Knife is vital. You need a sharp blade and a retractable one is the safest option. As ever, a comfortable handle is preferable – but check for ease of changing blades – if it comes with a variety of blades, that’s even better.
5. Putty Knife/scraper
Putty Knife/Scrapper is what you need if you’re scraping off the old wallpaper or need to applying putty. An easy to clean stainless steel blade is best – it’s easier to clean and lasts longer.
You need to cut wood right? A Handsaw is cheaper than a Power Saw, it’s easier to use and also lighter and therefore easier to transport. A power saw probably won’t fit in your toolbox. Look for a strong blade and an eight-point blade is a good all-round choice for most jobs.
You will need Pliers to help you grip things while doing DIY – if your fingers aren’t up to the job, or it hurts to grab something then you need Pliers. You may need a couple of pairs to suit different jobs – for example, pulling out nails, pinching together wires or straightening bent plugs.
A sturdy 25-foot Steel Measuring Tape should work for most jobs. You need it long enough and you don’t want the locking mechanism to break, so don’t go for the cheapest option.
You need to see what you’re doing – not all DIY jobs will be done in bright daylight, so get a bright flashlight and long-lasting batteries – or, even better, a rechargeable option.
You need Nails and Screws – that’s obvious. Keep a large variety on hand for every eventuality. There’s nothing worse than not having a long enough screw available. Vinyl sinkers are also useful as are galvanized nails.
You need to be able to find the right tool for the job quickly, so a Toolbox which is organised into easily-accessible compartments is vital. But you also want it to be durable so it lasts and light enough for you to carry.
An Electric Drill will allow you to make any size hole you may need and if you swap the drill bit for a screwdriver bit you can also power in screws – saving you precious time.
If you’re putting up shelves you want to make sure they’re level. Whether you’re building a garage, putting up a shed or making a bookcase, you need to be certain your DIY projects are level. Metal Levels are more robust than plastic options and Laser Levels are available if you happen to be a more advanced DIYer.
15. Stud Finder
The most basic stud finders are magnetic and locate the metal screws securing studs to the wall rather than the actual stud. Battery-powered electronic finders can point to the exact location of the stud in the wall. To hang anything in place on a wall, you need studs to keep them in place, but these studs are often hidden behind a drywall and DIYers need to be able to find them. The most expensive Stud Finders can also locate wires and pipes.
16. Adjustable Pliers
Their extra-wide jaws on Adjustable Pliers can grasp anything you need them to grasp, twist them any way you need it to be twisted and help shut off valves in tight spaces. 10-inch pliers are a popular choice with experts. Make sure the ones you choose are easily adjustable and have a comfortable grip.
17. Circular Saw
A power saw will cut a large amount of wood much more quickly than a hand saw. The most basic type of power saw is the circular saw. Sidewinders are the cheapest type – they are lighter and easier to operate than worm-drive saws which weigh and cost more. However, they are also more powerful and probably better for the more professional DIY expert.
You will need Gloves to protect your hands. A good pair which allows you to keep a firm grip on tools while protecting your fingers is vital.
Safety Goggles will protect your eyes from splashing chemicals, sawdust and a variety of flying debris. When operating a drill or circular saw you will always need to be wearing goggles.
A dust Mask will protect you from inhaling harmful dust or other particles while sanding or sawing. You can buy a more expensive Mask which protects you from gasses and chemicals too if that’s what you need. The overriding message is that you can never be too safe.
As well as having the correct tools, you must make sure you know how to use them. As you become more adept at DIY you will expand your toolkit and discover your own favoured tools for each task you need to complete.