Maybe you saw the Fixer Upper TV show and got tempted to renovate a dilapidated home yourself, making a profit in the process. Apart from the necessary skills and finances, you will also need a wide range of good-quality tools — maybe considerably more than the set you already own.
A ‘fixer-upper’ property can be a great renovation project. Of course, the worse the state it’s in when you buy it, the more profit you can potentially make but the more input is needed — never underestimate time and costs! One or two specialists may be required, but an experienced builder can usually handle the bulk of the work. You already have a lot of tools — and, for a while, you can keep them in the fixer-upper house you just bought — but you might need many more for all the jobs you will now be facing, and a place to keep them long term.
The Tools You Will Need to Fix Things Up
Renovating your fixer-upper can require a very wide range of tools. Some you may already own but many you will have to buy, and you shouldn’t compromise on quality. We present our top 10 of the things you might need, from the most basic items to some rather specialist equipment.
- Basic tools: Maybe now is the time to treat to yourself to a new set: screwdrivers, socket wrenches, the whole works. Invest in the best, manufactured from carbon steel or chromium-alloy steel — and consider the types that can bear being hit on the end with a hammer if you’re that sort of builder!
- Work Clothes: If you never did a big renovation, you might not have these yet. Get heavy-duty trousers and a jacket plus some steel-capped boots. You may also need a hard hat — fixing a roof could be the first job you need to address — especially if you’ll have helpers working on the building.
- Ladders: A needy fixer-upper will require extension ladders that get you onto the roof, so you may need to enlarge your collection. Consider also the height of any other buildings you plan to erect on your fixer-upper’s land. In addition to aluminum ladders, strong fiberglass ones are now popular.
- Tile Cutters: For laying attractive floors and bathroom surfaces, a good-quality manual cutter can shape tiles precisely. But for a big house, your biceps might thank you for investing in an electric version. Aviation snips, or their mechanical equivalent, will be needed for vinyl siding.
- Saw Bench: A bench used for sawing wood — and countless other tasks — is standard carpenter’s equipment, but you might now think of getting one for the first time. You will probably be trimming a lot of wood and plasterboard in various parts of the house, so you’ll be glad that it’s portable.
- Power Drills: If there is a cable hanging out of yours, it might be out-of-date. Consider exchanging your old friend for a versatile battery-operated model, ideally with impact capability. Get a spare battery to swap in for an exhausted one for when you pull long shifts.
- Concrete Mixers: Concrete may feature large in your project, especially if the foundation needs some work — consider this your first task — and for making swimming pools. A hand-held electric mixer plus a bucket does small jobs, but a drum concrete mixer on wheels could be worth having.
- Welding gear: Nothing else hits the mark when working with metal on your fixer-upper. If you can make good-looking fences yourself, for example, that’s one less specialist you have to employ. Modern home welding is compact, portable, and may be less expensive than you think.
- Nail gun: These are invaluable for putting wooden items up quickly, for example when erecting partition walls or creating a frame for insulation material. They come with compact air compressors which are powered by either gas or electricity.
- Mechanized digger: Your fixer-upper’s grounds may not be a priority, but you will want to make them as beautiful as possible after the building work is finished. Landscaping is hugely enjoyable, and a mechanical digger would be useful for creating pools, ponds and other features.
When the renovation is completed, there may be no good place for your enlarged collection of tools. Cluttered garages and sheds are not ideal and are exposed to extremes of weather, and if you flipped your fixer-upper you may not have these options. Self-storage can be a great solution, and due to the industry’s rapid recent expansion, you will probably find a facility nearby. A 10×10 storage unit has space for machinery on the floor, with tools on the walls or on shelving — doors, windows and other things removed from your fixer-upper can also be put in there until you have a use for them.
Renovating a fixer-upper can be a hugely enjoyable experience where you can use the building talents you already have and develop some more. Plan and budget carefully, and factor in the cost of all the equipment you will need — the value you add to your fixer-upper house should easily offset the cost. It’s worth keeping all the tools you bought somewhere safe and out of the way so you can use them again another time. If you didn’t have the fixer-upper bug before, you might have it now — Chip and Joanna Gaines would surely approve!
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