If you’ve been following my blog, perhaps you may be thinking that to complete all the projects I’ve presented until now, I must have spent a fortune on tools, and that for you to be able to do the same, you need to spend a fortune as well.
How are you saving money if what you would have paid for labor you need to spend it on a bunch on tools? Some of my friends have asked.
Well, yes, you need some tools, but no, you don’t have to spend a fortune. They are not as expensive as you may think, even more, when you consider that you only have to buy them once, but you can use them forever (or until they break and cannot be fixed), and, at least, the most expensive ones, can be found used if you plan your projects in advance.
Obviously, if your plan is to complete one project and that’s it, it may not be worth it for you to buy them, perhaps you can rent them, or well, pay someone else to do the job. However, if you are like me, and enjoy working on the house a lot, the savings will be even greater, so on this post I share about the tools I use and you may need for your home improvement projects so you can get a better idea of what you need even before you start to get things done by yourself.
HAND TOOLS A HOMEOWNER NEEDS FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
These are tools every homeowner should have. You should have noticed that on most, if not all of my posts, I say you need screwdrivers and hand tools to complete the job, perhaps more than once you’ve wondered why, because I understand that it may not be as obvious for some projects, like laying porcelain tile for example.
Well, then thing is, even when laying porcelain tile, you need them to prepare the room for the installation. You need to remove the baseboards, perhaps you need to remove some nails from the walls right after, cut door trim, or even (hopefully not) remove some Vinyl flooring, just to give you a few examples.
Some of the, nothing fancy, hand tools I have are:
- A couple of screwdriver sets
- Set of small pliers (needle nose, etc)
- A couple of vise grips
- Saws, including a hacksaw
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Rubber mallet
- Mechanic or similar protecting gloves
From these, there should be a lot to choose from at your local home improvement store, I usually try to go with the medium grade ones, so I don’t end up buying either the cheapest of the cheap or the most expensive ones.
PORTER CABLE 6-GALLON PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSOR, FINISHING NAILERS AND STAPLER COMBO
This was a gift from my family. This is one thing I failed to mention before: when your family and friends learn that you like tools and enjoy working at the house, they will most likely buy you tools as gifts at some point. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve received tools as a gift. That makes your projects even cheaper!
This kit came with two (16 and 18 gauge) finishing nailers and one stapler, they have been useful particularly to reinstall baseboards after flooring upgrades. As you know, I also used the stapler on my bathrooms projects, and also before my hardwood flooring installation.
CRAFTSMAN DRILLS & ASSORTED DRILL BITS
Some of the most important tools to own, and the ones I use the most. I have three Craftsman drills, a regular, corded one, which was also a gift I received many years ago, and two cordless ones, another regular one and a hammer drill, I’ve had them for a few years as well.
They have worked well, very well I should say. However, as you may know, the problem with battery operated tools is that after a while, the batteries start losing its charge faster and faster. My 19.4-Volt batteries do not last long at all, it depends on the job, but I still have to make sure they are properly charged whenever I intend to use them.
CRAFTSMAN CIRCULAR SAW, RECIPROCATING SAW & GRINDER
Just like the drills, these have worked well, but I have the same issues with battery life, especially when using the grinder. I’m definitely not a construction guy, these may not be the tools I need to build a house, but they are totally OK for my home improvement projects.
DREMEL MULTI-MAX OSCILLATING TOOL
This is really a multi-use tool I really love, I first bought it to help remove some Vinyl flooring at my first house, however, I’ve used it for many other things since, for example, to cut door trims before tiling different rooms at my first and second houses, to cut nails and screws, clean grout in between tiles and even to make some small cuts to hardwood. Its only drawback is that it is kind of loud, so I usually have to wear earplugs when I use it.
WAGNER HEAT GUN
An inexpensive heat gun that has been very useful to help remove vinyl flooring from kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It has worked well so far, and for that price, if it breaks, I will most likely buy another one if I need to.
Another inexpensive tool that will make your life way easier whenever you need to find wall or ceiling studs to hang cabinets, frames, TVs or any other heavy items to your walls or ceilings. Mine works well even though it was one of the cheapest options available, it is no longer available, but there are other similar ones that do the job as well.
KLEIN TOOLS 25’ STEEL FISH TAPE
This is a very helpful tool I recommend getting if you ever need to run some cables inside the wall, ceiling or any other tight spots. It will make your job way easier. I bought it when I started having difficulties running the wires for my home theater installation and I have used it many other times since then.
RYOBI ROUND OVER ROUTER, BITS, AND SANDER
Two more tools I bought to complete my home theater installation, or more specifically, to build the floating shelf. They did a great job. I have yet to use them again, but I’m sure I will at some point in the near future. I will update this post at that point.
RIDGID 7IN TILE SAW
I bought this one recently, it is probably the most expensive tool I have. My first two tile projects in the kitchen, bathrooms and the laundry room of my first house were completed with a saw I borrowed from a family member. I didn’t know I was going to move at that point, so I figured those two tile projects were going to be the first and the last ones for me.
I decided to go ahead and buy the saw when I moved to my second house, actually, before I started working on the bathrooms’ travertine installation. At that point, I knew I was not only laying tile in the bathroom floors, but also in the kitchen, including a tile backsplash I will be presenting soon.
It has worked well for me until now, the only part I don’t like that much is the base, it seems like it’s not strong enough to support the weight of the tray when it is filled with water, well, it does support the weight, but it seems like it is not strong enough, it may not last too long. I will update this posts if it breaks.
NOTCHED TROWELS, V-NOTCHED TROWEL, RUBBER FLOAT, 5-GALLON BUCKET & SPONGES
These are the basic tools to set tile, I have used them a few times since I bought them, as you can tell from the picture, I should have done a better job cleaning them up after each use. They still have some life left. The 1/2-inch notched trowel is used for bigger tile (18” or so), the 1/4-inch one is used for smaller tile (12” or so). The V-notched one is great for wall installations such as backsplashes, and the rubber float is used for spreading ground.
There are other tools such as the chalk line and tile spacers that I’ve mentioned before but I consider them to be optional.
Readers, how does your tool collection compares to mine? What other useful tools do you have that you think I should get?
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