Must have tools for any DIY homeowners

When owning a home it’s not uncommon for small works to be carried out to improve or maintain your property. Even if you buy a new build there is, more often than not, a requirement to add and change things to suit your personal design ideas and decor desires.

Some of these jobs may be complex and require hiring a skilled tradesperson, but most of the time they are simple straightforward tasks such as fitting some shelves or wall mounting a TV.

Many new homeowners won’t have any experience with these types of tasks and so you might find yourself looking for online guidance and tutorials to carry out these tasks or you could even consider hiring a local handyman.

Regardless of whether you hire someone to do odd jobs around your home or not, it is still worth investing in some of the essential hand and power tools that will help you to maintain your property, do simple DIY tasks and get the job done right.


Photo by Fancycrave.com from Pexels

I’ve been improving and maintaining properties now for over 10 years and I’ve come to rely heavily on a number of basic tools that I simply couldn’t live without.

If you’re looking to carry out some work yourself and you’re a little unsure where to start, take a look through the list below for what I believe are must have tools for any homeowner.

In no particular order here’s my top 20 essential tools:

  1. Screw drivers – A simple set of screwdrivers is a must for anyone and you don’t need to spend a fortune on these. To manage 99% of jobs around the home you’ll need a couple of different size Phillips (cross head, aka pozidriv) and slotted heads. There are many other types of screwdriver heads but you’ll likely never need them unless it’s for a specialist job.
  2. Tape measure – A 5m tape measure with a locking mechanism is a tool used regularly in my household. You can go larger but the longer they are the bigger they tend to be. The 5m measure is the perfect all round size for most jobs and fits nicely into most tool boxes. It’s worth getting one that has both feet/inches and centimetres on as in the UK we seem to be stuck using both units.
  3. Adjustable spanner – A very handy tool for loosening and tightening bolts and nuts. Owning one of these will help you avoid having a whole box full of individual size spanners. They aren’t always the easiest tool to use but if you buy a good one it’s going to last and will be suitable for most nuts and bolts jobs needed around the house. I find some of the cheaper ones can lose their grip and generally be more awkward to use, especially in tight spaces.
  4. Hammer – The good old wacker. Whether it’s hitting in a nail, tapping in a Rawl plug or simply dismantling something this is an essential tool that I simply couldn’t live without. It’s worth getting one with a steel claw to allow the pulling of nails.
  5. Pliers – You’ll most likely find yourself at some point needing to hold something, pull something or twist something that isn’t possible with your bare hands. That’s where the pliers come in handy. Getting a good grip on something is important in a number of situations and pliers allow you to do just that without causing harm to your hands. You can get a number of different types of pliers but if I were to live with just one it would be a strong set of needle nose pliers. These will suit a large number of different applications and are a great all rounder.
  6. Spirit level – Simple but effective tool to get things straight, whether it’s a picture frame, shelf or even something bigger you’ll want it straight and level. You won’t need to spend a fortune on these, as sometimes cheap and cheerful does the job just fine.
  7. Stanley knife (aka utility knife) – A sharp knife is a good tool to have around and these are super sharp and strong knives with removable blades. Cut carpet, wires, wallpaper, plasterboard, the list goes on and these knives cover most jobs that a standard kitchen knife wouldn’t. It’s also worth having a set of spare blades on standby.
  8. Tape – Duct tape (aka duck tape or gaffa tape) and masking tape are two handy bits of kit to have around. Duct tape is a tough, durable and very sticky tape used for general purpose and temporary repair jobs. Masking tape is always good to have around for painting jobs. If you want a nice tidy finish then this tape will make all the difference.
  9. Tool box – You’re going to need somewhere to store all these tools so a toolbox is a great idea. They tend to come with a number of compartments for all the little bits and bobs, are tough and come with a neat carry handle. There are a number of different size and shapes but if you’re just looking for the basics then something small will do it. I currently own a small, medium and large tool box and carry case. The small one I have in the house for easy quick grab tools that I use regularly and then the medium and large for those tools that are used less frequently and taken to jobs away from home. If you don’t want to invest in a toolbox then you might settle for a simple carry bag or rucksack, either way it’s always nice to have all the essentials in one place.
  10. Pen and pencil – One of each of these should do it, but ensuring they are kept with the rest of the tools makes them easily accessible when doing the quick easy jobs like hanging a picture frame or measuring for the centre of a wall. Don’t forget a pencil sharpener for the pencil and I’d recommend a Sharpie pen for drawing on almost anything.
  11. Cordless power drill – A good drill is normally top of my list for essential tools because I use it so regularly. I couldn’t live without one. In fact, I’d recommend owning two. There are loads of different brands on the market but I’d strongly recommend investing a reasonable amount of money in a good one. This way you will have a drill that will last many years and will be durable and powerful enough for most jobs. I personally use Dewalt equipment but you might also consider Makita or Milwaukee. One of these combi drills should set you back about £100. You could spend less but as the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’. If you’re doing a bit more than the odd job around the house then a spare battery or even another drill or impact drive is a sensible option. One for drilling and one for screwing. This can half the time on most jobs.
  12. Drill bits – If you have a drill, you’ll now need a few drill bits. It’s worth buying a little set with a mixture of drill bits and driver bits. This won’t cost much but will cover you for the majority of your screwing needs.
  13. Hardware (Screws and plugs) – Known as hardware, screws and nails may be required around the home for many different applications so it’s worth having a small stock of these at the ready. Wall plugs are also good to have around for mounting things on the wall.
  14. Putty knife – A putty knife, also know as a decorators knife or filling knife is a small flat blade that is generally used to smooth filler. You can use it to apply filler when treating cracks or filling holes in a wall. The knife will allow you to smooth over and remove any excess filler before allowing it to dry and sand.
  15. Hand saw – A handy tool if you ever work with wood. A small hand saw will fit nicely into most tool boxes and can be used for those quick accurate cuts on most types of thin timber.
  16. Mole grips – These handy little plier type grips are great if you need to get a really tight grip on something. They can be adjusted to size and then act like a clamp, applying great pressure to an object. They feature a nice easy quick release lever once the gripping has been completed.
  17. Sander / sanding block – Depending on the amount of sanding you plan to carry out it might be worth investing in a orbital sander or a simple sanding block and sandpaper might do it. If you’re just tidying up a little dried filler then sand paper might be enough. If you plan on sanding back some garden furniture you will most certainly need an orbital sander. Either way I always keep a little sand paper in the small toolbox.
  18. Slip joint pliers – These are ideal for plumbing jobs and versatile enough to complete most jobs. If you have a leaky pipe or need to swap over some pipework then these will be needed.
  19. Safety gear (goggles / gloves) – Whilst not essential for most small jobs it’s worth having some glasses to protect your eyes, especially if you’re working on the ceiling or with power tools. Gloves are also handy when working with sharp or heavy blunt objects to protect yourself as accidents do happen.
  20. Set square or builders square – I always carry one of these as I work with a lot of wood. Getting the perfect right angle cut on many joins can make a big difference to many construction jobs and a decent set square can help you achieve this. Having one easily accessible in the toolbox is always a good idea if you like things straight.

So there is my top 20 essentials for a toolbox as a DIY home owner. Whilst not all are essential for absolutely everyone, I would recommend the first 10 at least for most.

Carrying out some basic maintenance around the home can be daunting for some but if you have these basic tools you can at least have a go at some stuff.

And, if you don’t like the thought of attempting any of this then you can always look for a local handyman like myself to help you along the way.

Thanks for reading

Ben


Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

My recent handyman projects and examples

In this blog post I will share with you some examples of the recent handyman services I have carried out for customers, as well as some of the handyman style tasks and custom made pieces I have built at my own home.

It’s a great way for you to see the types of bespoke furniture I can build in Gloucestershire and the kind of things you can hire a handyman for. Plus, a little sneak peek into our own home projects.

In ground trampoline

This was an exciting but very labour intensive job. It all started with an idea and quickly turned into reality within a few days. The hardest part of this project was the simple task of removing the earth – it was three days of many, many hours of digging into soil, stone and clay. It took two of us to create this hole by hand over three days.

For the centre of the hole we had to dig down 100cm according to the instructions and 25cm on the edges. The next task was to ensure it was level all the way round. Our garden is on a slight slope so we had to ensure one side was lower than the other.

There’s still a little more to do as we plan on levelling out the ground by the trampoline and the rest of the sloping side of the garden, but it’s in and functioning and the kids absolutely love it!

Custom built sleeper planter with seat

Transforming my garden slowly into a haven has moved a little bit further this summer with the addition of this planter. We managed to save a little money on this by using thinner materials.

Rather than use a thick 100mm sleeper we decided to go for a 50mm construction material which still looks great. By adding a seat to the structure we added a nice area to sit and enjoy the plants whilst also adding some strength and rigidity.

Using earth and soil from the trampoline dig, we filled the planter in preparation for the range of plants we added.

We just need to feed the clematis through the trellis, paint the top of the fence, stain the planter and this little area of the garden will be complete.

My wife forgot to take a picture of the overgrown mess that was here before she dug it all out, but it was a border half the size that was massively overgrown, flowing with weeds and had no edging. We’d needed to do something to the area for a long time and the huge amount of leftover soil from the trampoline dig gave us the inspiration. It’s a total transformation.

Custom built walk-in chicken coop and run installation

This chicken coop and run was something I previously custom-built and installed in my garden, but we sold it to a lovely lady near Stroud who wanted it installed in the garden of a nursing home.

When it was in our garden, it started off as quite small coop and run, but over the years it transformed into quite a large run. All hand built by myself, it was a fun and creative project that provided our chickens with a great space to stretch their legs and explore.

Moving it from our house to the new location was challenging as many pieces were very large due to it being a walk-in coop, but we got it there successfully and were very happy with the final result in its new location.

Read the full story of how I built this coop on my Wood Create site.

Custom made kids loft bed

I made this for my daughter to give her some more space in her bedroom. Made from 100% reclaimed materials collected over many months from various locations. The plan was to make a bed and steps that were high enough to fit over the top of her wardrobe.

Bella requested the heart shapes for the front and the rest was quite straightforward. This high sleeper is a great little hideout and bed that also offers suitable storage in the steps. Another job well done and a happy little customer 🙂

Thats all for now folks, but stay tuned for more exciting projects coming soon in and around Brockworth. I’ll share more examples of my work soon.

If you like what you see then please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

I also offer a number of custom made or bespoke tables via my sister site Wood Create. I’m currently working on a solid oak and industrial steel leg dining table for a customer in Thornbury. This is truly a magnificent piece and one of the heaviest tables I’ve ever made. Each leg is made from 70mm box steel and weights around 20kg on its own.

It’s very similar to my own dining table which was made using 100% reclaimed wood and is in the photo below. I love creating handmade furniture alongside my handyman services in Gloucester.

Property and garden maintenance in Brockworth, Gloucester

If you’re on the hunt for property and garden maintenance in Gloucester then you’ve come to the right place. Handyman Ben is a small family run business offering a number of services for household projects big and small.

If your home is in need of a little TLC and you don’t have the time, required skill or interest, get in touch and let me help. I have many years experience in a vast range of services and most importantly I offer a friendly, reliable service.

Reasons to hire Handyman Ben in Gloucester

Are you looking for a handyman in Gloucestershire? Here are a few reasons you might want to hire me for your odd jobs:

  1. I’m very keen on time keeping and understand the importance of arriving to a job (or quote) when I say I will. I find it frustrating when people don’t arrive when they say they will. It can be very disruptive to your busy day.
  2. Trustworthy and honest. I’m a hard working family man with something to prove. I love my work and I love my family and I know that in doing a great job, word will spread and more work will follow. Word of mouth is the key to success in this business. I spent 9 years working as an IT Service Manager at the Superdry head office which came with a lot of responsibility and trust in my abilities to deliver services across a global organisation.
  3. Top quality finishes. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my work, no matter how big or small. I find it impossible to leave a job without it being completed properly. This is evident in my woodwork and all my home renovation projects. If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing correctly.
  4. No job too small. Many trades people won’t be interested in the small jobs but I’m happy to take anything on, even if it’s just fitting a single shelf.
  5. Fully insured for all your jobs.
  6. A vast number of services. View my services page for some ideas of what I cover.
  7. I offer a variety of payment options: cash, bank transfer, PayPal, credit and debit card payments.
  8. I love what I do. I take pride in my work as it’s something I really enjoy doing. Having worked in an office environment for 9 years I can honestly say I much prefer the DIY projects, renovating my own home and creating new furniture.
  9. I have time for you to discuss your requirements and ensure you get exactly what you want. I’m a great communicator and understand the importance of getting the job done right.
  10. Flexible – I’ll work around your schedules the best I can. Fitting things in and around your busy schedule is important so I’ll accommodate the best I can in all situations. Early or late days and weekends are no problem.
  11. I deliver on my promises. A happy customer is more important to me than anything else.
  12. Hardworking. Hire me for a day’s work and that’s exactly what you’ll get. I have a great work ethic and always always give my customers the best value service.

Please get in touch and see for yourself the love and passion I have for my work. I’d love to hear from you by email, text, phone or send me a message using my online contact form.

Thanks
Ben

How can I find a handyman near me?

Many of us have lots of reasons to hire a handyman, but before you do, there may be a number of questions that arise which I aim to address in this post. Firstly I’d like to talk about what a handyman does and doesn’t do, or what duties a handyman might carry out.

Handymen generally work for both homeowners and businesses in a variety of skilled or low skilled jobs. Depending on what your looking for you might want someone to carry out a simple task like fitting a shelf or something more complicated like fitting a whole kitchen. Either way you’ll need to find the right man for the job.

Many contractors may only be interested in bigger jobs that secure them several days work whereas others may be willing to undertake the small odd job that could take an hour or two to complete. I currently offer either of these, ‘No job too small’ I say. Simply because I’m not greedy, I love what I do and want to offer a flexible service for everyone.

You can find a list of my services HERE, but in general I can cover general repairs, flat pack furniture construction, painting and decorating, pressure washing, internal door hanging, flooring and garden maintenance. I also have a sister company called Wood Create where I make custom and bespoke furniture.

Where can I find a handyman?

With access to the internet you’re open to a vast variety of options, but don’t forget there are local leaflets, magazines, social media pages and notice boards that shouldn’t be ignored.

With the internet being the most convenient way of searching many people will take this route, but we all need to be mindful of what we are searching for and how to filter the results for what we actually need.

When searching simple terms like ‘Handyman near me’ we end up with results from a number of national or even global online search portal services offering rather general or costly options.

Sometimes it’s better to search in specific areas and filter results to local businesses and look at online directories such as Yell.com. But, again, it’s important to remember not to just to go for the top results. These are often paid for and in general the services may be more expensive as a result.

Handyman prices. How much should I pay a handyman?

Prices will vary depending on the type of job, location and the amount of work required.

If you’re looking for handymen in the Gloucestershire area you’re likely to find a number of different quotes or hourly rates ranging from £15 per hour all the way up to £60 per hour. You can search the internet for price lists or business websites for average rates but there’s always something slightly different.

Are handyman quotes free?

Most handymen will offer a free quote and site visit if needed. All my local quotes will be free of charge if I need to attend site. If your quote requires excessive travel time then it may be best to discuss over the phone and with images of the job.

Where does Handyman Ben offer handyman services?

Handyman services in Gloucester – Look no further. Drop me an email, text or give me a call and I’d be happy to discuss your requirements. You can also contact me via the contact form on my main website pages.

Handyman services in Cheltenham – I also cover the Cheltenham area for all your handyman jobs.

Handyman services in Brockworth – I’m local to Brockworth and ready to help, no matter what the job, I’m happy to discuss with you. You’ll find me friendly, approachable and willing to take on a host of different jobs. I’m a very keen time keeper, in fact I’m a little OCD about arriving to jobs on time and I ensure all my jobs are completed to your satisfaction.


Why I’ve decided to go self employed

Many people throughout their careers ask this question at some point in time. For me, I came to this conclusion about 2 years ago when I realised I have certain skills in other areas that I really enjoyed doing. I began to wonder if I could make a living doing what I truly love?

I think in most cases it is possible to make money doing what you love, if you have the passion and drive to make it happen. You will need to be self motivated and be willing to put a lot of time into your new venture. Things will inevitably be slow to start off with but the important thing is, if you don’t try, you will never know.

For me, making this decision came from a number of key changes in my life. Here are a few of the positive reasons:

  1. Finding a better work / life balance. I wanted to be able to be more involved with family life, spending more time with the kids and helping out with the daily tasks, such as the school runs, general cleaning around the house and being able to spend more quality time with my wife.
  2. Working my desired hours. I’m not sure who invented the 9 to 5, but I don’t like it. It doesn’t provide the freedom to manage the day to day tasks such as taking the car to the garage, going to the post office or popping into town for some bits and pieces. Most of these tasks involve being available during “normal” working hours and it becomes a juggling act to make it all fit. Many of us are restricted by this and end up having to negotiate with our bosses to find the time to complete the simplest of tasks.
  3. The freedom to work on what I want. Whilst this is true most of the time, depending on how desperate I am for work, I get the opportunity to work on the jobs I like and enjoy. I am free to say no to jobs that don’t interest me. I also get to make and try different things which helps increase my versatility and try new and exciting things all the time.
  4. I can choose where I work. I’m not restricted to working in one office, at the same desk, day in day out. I get to travel to new locations and meet new people all the time. It provides great variety and something new to experience on a daily or weekly basis. Never boring.
  5. Potential to make more money. In many ways my hourly rate is higher than if I was in full time employment. Providing I have a full schedule I have the opportunity to make much more than when I was employed.

There’s the positive bits but if your thinking about doing this yourself you should take the following into consideration:

  1. There’s no guarantee of work. No work equals no money so ensuring that there is a constant flow of work is vital to survival. You have to be a proactive go-getter in this world to ensure the diary is full and the work keeps coming.
  2. Finding the work in the first place and quoting for jobs is a time consuming task and can often take up as much time as actually doing the work. Carefully planning each week is essential to ensure there’s time to manage the work along side the marketing and quoting aspects of the role.
  3. No holiday or sick pay. If you’re not working, your not getting paid. Calling in sick to work and getting paid is no longer a luxury you can afford. Taking care of your health and well-being is now more important than ever.
  4. Saving for a pension. Being self employed means that you now have to start thinking about paying into your own pension. This can cost as much or little as you like but no one is going to do this for you now.
  5. Tax returns. It’s now your responsibility to ensure you save and pay your taxes. Filling out the self assessment forms can be somewhat complicated and something that cannot be ignored.

Luckily my wife has been self employed for a few years now and understands the pros and cons of self employment, so I feel like I have that help and support in place already. If you’re going in alone it’s definitely worth chatting to someone with first hand experience before you take the plunge.

My handyman services in Brockworth and the surround areas is almost a dream job. It provides a certain level of freedom and flexibility in my life that the 9 to 5 didn’t, but most importantly it makes me happy, doing the jobs I love doing at home, as a full time career.

Take a look at my work and if your interested in anything please get in touch.

Handyman Services in and around Cheltenham and Gloucester

Good handymen can be far and few between these days but rest assured you can find honest, hardworking and punctual services right here in Brockworth. With a host of services available from Handyman Ben, you’re in the right place for most jobs. My motto, no job too small and service with a smile. 😁

I currently offer my services in and around Gloucestershire but offer the best rates close to home in Brockworth. This cost effective handyman service is also available in Hucclecote, Abbeymead, Abbeydale, Shurdington, Badgeworth, Churchdown, Witcombe, Little Witcombe, Great Witcombe, Birdlip, Cranham, Upton St Leonards, Barnwood and Matson.

I can offer the best prices within this circle

Looking further afield I also work in the following areas for a small additional travel charge. These include Tuffley, Whaddon, Brookthorpe, Quedgeley, Hardwicke, Longlevens, Wotton, Kingsholm, Linden, Podsmead, Hempsted, Innsworth, Longford, The Reddings, Warden Hill, Benhall, St Mark’s, Leckhampton, Charlton Kings, Pittville, Battledown, Prestbury and Swindon Village.

If your looking for my handyman services in the following towns or areas then I’m more than happy to discuss your requirements but again I need to ensure the travel times and costs are covered. These areas include Painswick, Stroud, Stonehouse, Briscombe, Woodchester, Cirencester, Colesbourne, Andoversford, Dursley, Westbury on Severn, Cinderford, Coleford, Tewkesbury, Winchcombe, Bourton-on-the-water, Nailsworth and Tetbury.

Services covering Gloucestershire

I also cover most of Gloucestershire so if your town or location isn’t listed please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to discuss your requirements.

If on the other hand you are looking to buy some custom or bespoke handmade furniture please feel free to contact me or visit my sister site Wood Create as delivery options are available across UK mainland.

At a quick glace here a a few services I can offer in these areas.

  1. Flat pack furniture building
  2. Wall fixings
  3. Wall mounting TVs
  4. Bespoke cupboards and shelving
  5. Garden maintenance. Lawn mowing, planting, digging, tree trimming, bush trimming.
  6. Patio and pavement cleaning
  7. Laminate flooring installation
  8. Skirting board installation
  9. Painting and decorating
  10. Tiling
  11. Bespoke furniture installation
  12. Garden building erection, sheds, play houses, climbing frames.
  13. Custom made and bespoke sheds or garden buildings.
  14. Home IT support, computer maintenance, support and advise. Home networks and storage solutions.

You can see some examples of my work here. I hope you like what you see. 🙂