Buying a home entails completing projects you’ve never had to worry about before. This can be a big change for first-time Portland homeowners. When you own a home, you’re in charge and it’s important to have the tools you need to fix things around the house.
To help new homeowners build the tool set they need to maintain their homes, we’ve outlined the tools every homeowner should own.
We’ve broken these tools down into three categories:
- Tool sets
- Individual tools
- Home utility items
These tools will cover what you need to do simple to moderate DIY home repair and maintenance projects.
The tools here can either be purchased in a set or you can buy them individually. Either way, they all require a couple options of each in your repertoire.
Most people think it’s okay to just buy one hammer. While you technically could bang on all the nails you come across with the same hammer, realistically you should have two hammers in your arsenal: one heavy and one lightweight.
- Claw Hammer: The most commonly used heavy-weight hammer. This is meant for driving nails into something. They also include a claw for taking nails out.
- Pin Hammer: Perfect for smaller, more fragile items. Great for small fasteners like tacks and panel pins.
While your power drill and bits will do a good job on the bigger jobs, you will still need screwdrivers to open and close smaller, more delicate items.
There are a couple routes you can go with screwdrivers:
- A screwdriver with interchangeable heads
- A set with a number of different sizes and types of individual screwdrivers.
No matter the direction you go, make sure you have both phillips head and flat head screwdrivers in larger and smaller sizes.
Pliers are a great tool for gripping things in tight places, cutting wire, or even getting crafty. Different sorts of pliers have unique functionality, so it is important you get a set with a couple different types.
- Channellock pliers
- Needle-nose pliers
- Electrician’s pliers
Remember, don’t use pliers as you would a wrench, as it will damage both the nut you’re trying to move and the pliers themselves. Use the right tool for the right job.
Hex and Allen Keys
Anyone who’s had to adjust a bike or put together Ikea furniture will tell you – there’s nothing worse than not having the exact hex or allen key you need.
We recommend investing in a set with every available size. You can get a set that gives you the individual keys separately, or you can purchase a jackknife style set that will keep them all together.
When owning a home, you never know what hardware you will need. You’ll want to be prepared, so a necessary thing for any homeowner to own is a collection of hardware.
- Finishing nails, roofing nails, and common nails. Make sure to get a mix of sizes in both galvanized and ungalvanized varieties
- Sheet-metal and drywall screws: a mix of 10, 8, and 6-gauge screws in both steel and stainless steel varieties
- Varying sizes of toggle bolts
- Picture-hanging wire and hooks
- Mirror clips
- Nuts and bolts in sizes 6-32, 8-32, 10-24, ¼ -20
- Hollow-wall anchors
- Toggle bolts
- Cup hooks
These are all stand-alone items serving a number of purposes all on their own.
Cordless Drill and Drill Bits
A battery-powered drill with a set of drill bits is a must have for any Portland homeowner.
Advantages of a cordless drill include:
- Convenience: Cordless drills allow for easy movement. You can take it with you wherever you have to get a job done; not just places where there is a power outlet.
- Speed: Power drills will help you get the job done a lot quicker than with a screwdriver.
- Rechargeable batteries: If you buy a cordless drill with a rechargeable battery (which you should) you won’t have to constantly buy batteries. Nothing is worse than going to start a project and finding you can’t power your drill!
Make sure to invest in a variety of bits that can handle projects of all different types. They are generally not expensive, and well worth the flexibility they afford.
Some homeowner’s tool kits involve massive sets of crescent wrenches. This is usually unnecessary.
Instead, get a single adjustable crescent wrench; it’s an essential tool for any homeowner. The jaw of the wrench is adjustable, allowing it to fit nuts and bolts of varying shapes and sizes. You can even buy a wrench that self-adjusts – so no removing it from the bolt to tighten it.
Some homeowners think they can get by with just a pair of scissors. While this is true, a utility knife (otherwise known as a box cutter) serves a range of utilities a scissor could never do.
In addition to cutting open boxes, a utility knife will let you
- Cut paint around windows
- Trim the edges off carpet
- Remove old caulk
You should have a cutting tool bigger than a knife in your home of some sort. Generally, the best multi-purpose option for homeowners will be a hacksaw. This inepxensive tool will help you cut…
- Metal and plastic piping
- Wood (even the bottom of a Christmas tree!)
You’ll be happy about the smooth edges and safety the saw offers.
Home Utility Items
These items, while not necessarily traditional tools, will serve you extremely well when completing DIY projects.
Tape measures are a must-have tool for any Portland homeowner.
A lockable and retractable tape measure will allow you to measure for new furniture or rugs, and assist in installing artwork. It will also be useful for your yard or when needing to measure rooms.
Make sure to get one at least 25 feet long so you are prepared for any measuring project.
When you own a home, you will have projects that require a lift.
- Changing lightbulbs
- Hanging drapery and artwork
- Dusting hard to reach places
- Retrieving items from high storage areas
- Indoor painting
Make sure to get a step stool with at least three steps so you can get to those hard-to-reach places!
Water resistant and extremely sticky, duct tape is a necessary item for any homeowner. Initially created for temporary repairs for military equipment, duct tape can hold up to whatever you throw at it.
Some great uses for duct tape include:
- Patching up torn window screens
- Closing holes in hoses
- Sealing plastic items
- Wrapping cords
We recommend only using duct tape for temporary repairs, or until you can find a more permanent solution.
While you think your eye may be perfect, likely you still won’t be as accurate or exact as a level. Levels help you accurately hang pictures, shelves, and cabinets, and can provide peace of mind when hanging your items.
We recommend investing in a torpedo level, as they will also let you know whether your item is at a 45 degree angle. A must have item for aesthetically conscious homeowners!
No matter where your home is (and particularly here in the Pacific Northwest), electricity outages happen. Make sure you are prepared with a fully charged flashlight!
Flashlights are also great because a lot of the places you need to worry about as a homeowner – crawlspaces, under sinks, etc – are dark. Flashlight will help you more closely inspect these areas and properly fix the issue.
Portland Tool Resources
While these tools are a great place to start as a homeowner, there are still other resources you should take advantage of when owning a home.
- Northeast Portland Tool Library: This tool library allows free check-out of tools for use at your home. They’ll have some tools not on this list that will allow you to complete more specialized DIY projects.
- Tool Safety: Making sure your safe when working with tools is of the utmost importance! Make sure to read through this guide once you’ve compiled your tool set to keep things safe.
- DIY Projects: This resource shows will get you started on some simple DIY projects you can do around your home.
Have a Leaky Roof You Can’t Fix on Your Own?
The best tool you can have as a homeowner is knowing when you can fix something and when you need to call professionals.
Make sure to care for your investment. A quality and well-cared for roof is the key to a safe home. Make sure to resolve any problems the second they come up