Basic Homeowner Tools and Materials
Homeowner tools you need to have
The earliest known human to use tools was Homo Habilis, or Handy Man (not kidding) who lived in Africa about 2 million years ago. His basic homeowner tools included the kit as shown in the image below.
It is not known if this fellow Habilis became a tool user because he had a home to take care of, or if it was through his tool making that he eventually built a home? The Dr. Leakey’s were not specific about that when they discovered his bones in 1962. What is known is that when it comes to humans making tools and other things, Habilis is the troublemaker that appears to have started it all.
Homo Habilis’s had only simple, shaped stones to work with (shown below). Today’s homes are a bit more sophisticated so homeowners need more. To save you time, I put together a list of the bare minimum tools you need. This basic set of good tools is mandatory for modern homeowners.
Building Your Tool Kit
Below is a list of the basic tools and materials every homeowner needs to have, and know how to use.
You may not be familiar with some (or any) of these tools, so explanations for each are in the tool index below along with a very brief instruction on how to use them. Safety demands that you always use eye protection, hearing protection and gloves any time you use these tools. Here is a preventive safety kit you should have also.
Remember, this is a very rudimentary list and is not intended for professionals, but knowing how these tools work will really help you out. Use them for resolving simple everyday issues or to just get you by until you can arrange more professional help.
Assemble these tools and store them safely and readily available in a sturdy toolbox. Do not store them in a drawer in your kitchen.
Buy good quality tools only, and don’t whine about how much they cost. Good tools are your friends and will last forever. Cheap tools will let you down and end up costing you much in the long run.
Keep your tools in good working condition. Clean them after each use and don’t let rust or crud accumulate on them like I do. Keep your set of tools complete. If you break or loose a tool, replace it immediately.
Above all else, don’t let anyone borrow them, especially your teenage kids or neighbors. You may need these when least expected and you want to rely on them being available.
Tools For Your Homeowner – Kit
- Battery powered drill and impact driver kit.
- Driver set, and extension bits for the drill kit above Hitachi
- Drill bit set for the kit above Mastercraft
- Phone with camera
- Medium Philips-head and straight-slot screwdriver set
- Set of tiny jewelers screwdrivers
- Regular pliers
- Needle nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- Adjustable wrench set
- Pruning shears
- Toilet plunger
- Narrow spackle knife
- Utility knife w/extra blades
- 25’ retractable tape measure
- King-size permanent black marker
- Pencil and sharpener
- 20 oz. wood handled carpenter hammer
- Larger size channel lock pliers
- Medium and small pipe wrenches
- One set each of standard and metric allen wrenches
- A good quality flashlight
- An electrical circuit tester and GFCI tester
- Label maker
- 6′ ladder
Homeowner Tools – Descriptions
- Battery powered drill kit: These kits come with a variety of components. Get one with an extra battery and charger. These sets come in their own carrying boxes. Power drills are extremely handy and will be used a lot, so get a good one. You can use them as a normal drill or to drive screws or other fasteners. I like the Dewalt sets but Makita, Millwaukee and Bosch also make good kits.
Driver set and extension bit for the drill: Get a set with a broad range of different driver bits with extras of each because they are easily broken and/or lost. These kits are usually small enough to be stored in the same box as the drill kit.
- Drill bit set: Get a good quality, complete set of standard drill bits that will fit all the way up to the largest the drill hold (normally 1/4”). These will also come in a kit box that will normally fit into the drill box in order to keep it all together.
- Phone with camera: Your smart phone with camera is one of the best tools you have. Use it to photograph parts, labels, hard-to-reach problems, model #’s, etc. Some have apps for levelling, plumb-bobs, measuring etc. And using your phone to surf the net you can even refer back to this website if you need help.
- Straight-slot screwdriver: Get two Medium size, of the best quality you can afford.
- Philips-head screwdriver: Get two Medium size, of the best quality you can afford.
- A set of tiny jeweler’s screwdrivers: These are really handy to have for tiny work that sometimes is needed. They come in sets of 4 or 5 drivers with both straight and Philips heads.
- Regular pliers: I recommend two, a medium size and a small size. Again, get high quality tools with rubber coated handles.
- Needle nose pliers: Get a medium pair with rubber coated handles
- Wire cutters: Get a medium size, heavy duty pair of cutters. Get them with rubber coated handles if possible.
- Adjustable wrench: Also known as a Crescent wrench these are one of the handiest, general tools you will ever use. I would get a set of three.
- Narrow blade spackle knife: Get a metal version with a nice handle. These are great for patching holes in walls and scraping.
- Utility knife: Get one with a retractable blade. Stanley or other good quality brand w/extra blades
- 25’ retractable tape measure: Nothing fancy needed here. Get a Stanley or equal.
- Permanent black marker: Get a king-sized, broad tipped sharpie or equal.
- Pencil and manual sharpener: When hanging pictures or marking walls, it is good to be able to make marks that can be erased later.
- 20 oz. wood handled carpenter hammer: Get a good brand name with a smooth face for general use.
- Larger size channel lock pliers: These are specialty pliers that come in handy for plumbing chores now and then. They are good to have when needed. Do not use any of these tools to work on your nicely finished plumbing fixtures. Nice fixtures require specialty tools like these.
- Pipe wrench: Get a medium and small size wrench for your kit. Sometimes two are required.
- Allen wrenches: These come in handy little kits with all the sizes you will need. Get one set each of standard and metric.
- Flashlight: Your phone may have one of these built-in, but get a heavy duty one for your tool kit.
- Scissors: Have a heavy-duty pair of scissors handy.
- Shovel: A normal spade type shovel for moving some dirt now and then.
- Pruning shears: Get a small pair and a large pair, for pruning shrubs and tree branches.
- Toilet plunger: Get a plunger with a funnel shaped extension on the bowl side.
- Squeegee: Get one for removing water drops from glass and shower enclosures.
Basic repair materials to always to have on hand
- Work Gloves
- Hearing and eye protection
- A roll each of duct, electrical, packing, double sided and blue masking tape
- A couple rolls of regular Scotch tape
- A re-sealable tube of white acrylic latex caulk
- Extra garden hose washers
- Self-adhesive felt pads
- Super glue
- Contact cement
- White wood glue
- An assortment of small nails and brads in a plastic box
- An assortment of small screws and fasteners in a plastic box
- A small box of 8D and 16D vinyl coated nails
- A small box of 1.25” sheetrock screws
- Spray can of WD-40
- Spray can of food grade silicone lubricant
- A can of graphite lock lube
- A can of goof-off
- Window/glass cleaner
- A dispenser of straight, single sided razor blades
- Some clean rags
- Some matches and candles
- A small jar of white spackle
- An assortment of sandpaper from 60 to 400 grit
- Small amounts of critical touch-up paint
- Disposable paint brushes
- Extra light bulbs
- Extra furnace filters of correct size
- Extra water filters for refer, sink etc.
- Preventive Safety and First Aid kit