My Tools List for DIY Home Improvement!

I mentioned before the importance of tools.  Having the right tool at the right time makes your project easier to accomplish.
A couple of years ago I wasn’t at all interested in tools. I even got disappointed each time my husband got to the tool section at the hardware store to look for tools (like if that wasn’t a guy’s thing!) I bothered him because I didn’t want him buying staff we didn’t need. Besides, I hardly saw him using them!
Well, things have turned around. Ever since I got interested in updating my home my philosophy about tools changed drastically. I began to recognize how important and valuable those “pesky” things were! 
Little I knew, one day, I was going to give myself a Miter Saw as a Christmas present :)  Yes, that happened! Now I am the one asking for tools, and I never ever again bothered Dear Hubby again for coming home with a bag full of screws.  :)
After updating the kitchen and finishing other little projects around the house, I want to let you know which tools I think were vital to do the job. But I do not want to talk about the specifics of each tool, I’m NOT a pro, I just want to give you my point of view while working with them:

My tools

-Tape Measure and Levels
I have several tape measures; they have a tendency to disappear, only to find them hours later hanging from your back pocket! I also carry a small one in my bag wherever I go.  Levels are good to have in different sizes, the ones I used the most are the 2-foot and 4-foot.
Good to have in different sizes too or different weights.  A mallet is important to have; I used it a lot while painting the cabinets to close the cans of paint without damaging the rims.
-Pry Bars
So handy for pulling away baseboards, trim and in the kitchen I used them to pull away the little piece of backsplash the builder had glued to the wall.

Different sets, different sizes. You’ll gonna need them no matter what! It’s good to have a good quality set.
-Vise Grips
Also known as locking pliers, they help you hold almost anything.
-Reversible Drill with Bit set
I have a cordless that now is kind of useless because of the battery. I guess I have to replace it; it’s nice to work without a cable around.  I also have a corded one that I used a lot and it feels more robust than the cordless.
I use needle-nose pliers a lot in electrical work.  Channel-lock pliers used mostly for plumbing.
A small set from ¼” to ¾” is necessary.
Even if you have a circular saw there are situations where you are going to need a hand saw and you can make tons of things with this one, it just takes more effort.
-Circular saw

I used it a lot! The long pieces that the home center cuts for me are brought home to be cut even more with this guy.
-Miter saw
If you’re thinking about moldings, this is the way to go. You can go away with a hand saw, but a miter saw will do things faster and easier for you. As I told you, I bought myself this 10” compound.  It needs to be changed ASAP!

-Electronic Stud Finder
When looking for studs to hang shelves or fixtures, nothing’s better to use than a stud finder to do the job for you.
-Electric Sander
Besides having a good stash of different grid sand paper; having the electric sanders was a big help while sanding the kitchen cabinets before painting them.
-Nail Guns & Compressor

For me having a nail gun it’s a need!  I don’t know how to put trim without this tool. I once tried to do it with a hammer & regular nails and it was impossible!
It is a good idea to have several clamps and in different sizes. I used them while installing cabinets, to hold them while they were screwed together; also while building the island shelf and in general to hold mostly pieces of wood together while being cut with the circular saw.
-Utility Knife
Oh, so many uses for this one! It’s a necessity.

-Drywall knife
-Carpenter’s Square
-Wire cutter/stripper
-Extension Cords
-Caulk Gun
-Tool Box
-Safety Glasses
Painting Tools:
-Paint Brushes
Very important to buy good quality brushes for your painting needs. A 2½-inch angled brush it’s a basic one.
-Paint Tray
-9” roller frame
-5-in-1 painters tool.
I didn't include in this list the tools for tiling. You can find the ones I used to install the backsplash here.

In my wish list:
-Table saw
-Electric staple gun
-A better Miter saw

It is a long list, but you can begin buying a tool or two with each project.  Remember, quality matters. Buy tools from reputable manufacturers.  



  1. Great post Christina! It really is funny how quickly the tool section becomes so attractive when you are doing DIY projects. :-) Thanks so much for sharing all of these!

  2. I love your tool collection, it certainly makes me want to add to my wishlist once I have a place to make over rooms.

    Thank you so much for all your DIY projects =)

  3. Hola Cristina,
    Un besote desde España. Me encanta q haya alguien 1.- q se llame como yo, 2.- que sea capaz de hablar en español (muy bien) y 3.- q sea bastante McGyver a la hora de hacer de manitas en la casa. Yo he empezado hace poco con lo del distressing y la chalk paint. Todos los blogs q leo son de USA, aquí no usan la chalk paint y estoy en una fase de transformarlo todo al "shabby chic".
    Te descubrí saltando de un blog a otro y te metí en mi bloglovin, así q estaré al tanto de tus nuevas HERRAMIENTAS jajaja. Personalmente te diré q tengo una pistola de grapas y es genial. Q también pedí de regalo de Navidad un Dremel, pero no lo he usado mucho (todo llegará, aunq fue en el 2001) y de q he descubierto q para quitar barnices muy brillantes, lo mejor es decapante en gel y después quitarlo cn un estropajo de acero (tipo Nanas) Tampoco tenía lijadora eléctrica cuando lo descubrí.
    Sigue bien en Washington, ciudad a la q solía ir (soy azafata de vuelo), pero hace un año q no. Tu casa es muy bonita y tú la estás dejando mejor.


  4. Hello again,
    I don't have a blog, YET. But once I have one...beware world!!

  5. I am a beginner DIYer and would like to buy a mitre saw. What features are important in a mitre saw? I read your comment above that you want to upgrade your mitre saw. Thanks for the help.