Renovating

Top ten tools you’ll need for DIY renovations

DIY renovations are rarely easy, despite how simple reality TV sometimes make them seem. But DIY renovations are positively impossible without having the following essential tools at hand. Ranging from the cheap to the not-so-cheap, consider asking around to borrow these tools, or buy your own and forever love them like your own children!

Top 10 tools for DIY renovations

1. Measuring Tape

Not just any old measuring tape will do. This is one of those ‘a DIYers best mate’ sorts of situations as a good measuring tape is a lifetime partner. You want one that will not only endure a fall from the top of the garage you are converting into a 4th bedroom, but actually enjoy it. It also needs to be technologically advanced enough that it has a switch that stops the tape from retracting back into its home. There are few tools you will use more often or with such love and affection as your measuring tape.

Tape measure on a table

2. Japanese Cat’s Paw

Curved claw hammers, straight claw hammers, electric nail guns – who needs them? What you want hanging from the back of your recently purchased and all-too-empty tool belt is a Japanese Cat’s Paw. Essentially a hammer with an extra chisel end for a handle, this is an inexpensive but tough friend to have. Before too long you will be doing everything with this thing, from hammering nails to taking it with you on your next holiday to Europe, just in case you need it.

3. Cordless Drill

Perhaps it’s best to say any piece of hardware is an investment for life. However, a good cordless drill must sit at the top of the pile. Look at investing in a lithium-ion cordless drill, as it is light, the battery is less toxic than nickel-cadmium batteries and lasts longer, and takes a short amount of time to charge. Look out for: good trigger control, so you can easily change from slow to fast when drilling; an easily reachable reverse switch, ideally one that is in reach of your thumb and forefinger; a clutch or torque selector that slips when the torque on the screw reaches a high point; and a light, for drilling in those dark places, a.k.a under the house.

Drill bits

4. Speed Square

Sometimes called a Quick Square, this cheap tool can often seem like the most dangerous and confusing tool around, mostly because it reminds people of high school trigonometry. With a bit of Google’s help, this can be a valuable tool as a saw guide, bevel, guiding a power saw (like a ruler with a pencil), or as a protractor.

5. Pliers

Pliers tend to sound like Harry Potter creatures, such as the slip joint, snub nose and needle nose pliers, or the crimping and pincer pliers. However, they are not fictional goblins but some of the most useful tools you will own. Head straight for a needle nose plier first, as these are great for holding wires or other things in a tight space.

A set of pliers

6. Oscillating tool

One of the more obscure tools on the list, this basically does it all. Get into hard to reach places when sanding or cut through piping or wood with the various attachments that come with oscillating tools. This is definitely a great tool for the DIYer who is comfortable with their limitations.

7. Ladder

It’s impossible to reach the heights you want to reach as a DIYer without a ladder. There are various types of ladders but who can resist that particular ladder we see advertised late at night on infomercials, the ladder with a million different positions. Be sure it has an attachment for your tools, and that the rungs are manufactured so that you will remain comfortable as you stand on the ladder for hours painting the cornices of a new bedroom.

8. Sledgehammer

DIY renovations rarely occur without some serious demolition jobs. A Japanese Cat’s Paw is hardly going to help you to knock down that superfluous wall, but a sledgehammer will. Make sure you choose a sledgehammer that you can lift without having a hernia. They’re much like bowling balls, if you can only lift it once before breaking a sweat, move down to a lighter weight hammer.

9. Saw

Do you go the handsaw or table/circular saw? Well, you go both. A handsaw is fantastic for small, specific jobs. A Japanese saw cuts by pulling, which is great for small scale jobs with little space available, while Western saws do the opposite. Circular saws or table saws are fantastic for repetitive jobs and sawing wood quickly and precisely to size.

10. Duct tape

It’s always best to finish a Top 10 with the most exciting subject in the list, to keep people reading, and this is no exception. Duct tape is not to be derided. The number one tool in space and in tradespeople’s vans across the globe, duct tape will be an indispensable friend to you for all your DIY renovations.

A roll of duct tape