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The 7 most important tools for self-builders

Posted By: Daniel Howard

Published: 06/06/2019

Do you aspire to live in a home built with your own two hands? Or do you just like the idea of making a tidy profit from building a house and selling it on?

If maximising profit is the prime goal of your self-build, the more time you spend doing jobs yourself, the more money you save on labour. Your level of expertise will determine how much you need to rely on professionals, but there are plenty of jobs that even a novice builder can undertake themselves. Of course, you’ll need the right tools to tackle them.

Here’s a list of the most essential tools for self-builders:

1. Drill driver

Having a cordless drill driver in your toolkit can save you a lot of time and effort. These gadgets combine an electric screwdriver with a drill, and the cordless variety runs on rechargeable batteries, giving you the freedom to drill and screw wherever you like! Make sure you get at least 12v of power and a hammer action to give yourself enough grunt to get into tougher materials like masonry.

2. Paint brushes

Painting and decorating a house can take up to three months, so if you’ve got the time you can save labour costs by doing it yourself. Although a set of brushes can be bought quite cheaply, don’t scrimp too much as cheaper ones tend to shed their hairs quicker than a dog in summer. For large walls and ceilings purchase a roller with an extending pole, and don’t forget some dust sheets to protect surfaces from unwanted paint splatters.

3. Adhesive

When it comes to the finishing stage of your build you’ll find there are countless things that need fixing in place. Tiles, skirting boards, rails, or even squeaky staircases can all be stuck down using adhesives. Some multi-purpose adhesives double as a sealant, which is handy when you’re looking to save pennies.

4. Retractable knife

A razor-sharp blade is a must-have. From cutting plasterboard to sharpening your carpenter’s pencil, a good retractable knife can perform countless tasks. Make sure you go for one with a good grip to help ensure both comfort and safety, and keep a stock of spare blades too.

5. Plastering trowels

Plastering can be responsible for around a tenth of labour costs on a typical self-build, so you can save a tidy sum if you have the skills to do it yourself. Get a couple of different sized trowels to cover both rendering and finishing, and go for ones made of stainless steel. This material will deliver a sharp-edged finish, is easy to maintain, and has enough flexibility to make it easy on your joints.

6. Bucket

Whether you’re mixing plaster, measuring materials, or just lugging stuff around the site, you can’t go far wrong with a heavy duty builder’s bucket for a great general-purpose container.

7. Shovel, broom, dustpan & brush

Even if you’ve delegated most of the jobs on your self-build to professionals, one area where you can still save on labour costs is site maintenance. Every seven to eight hours spent building requires one hour of site servicing, which includes keeping it tidy. By purchasing a good shovel, broom, and a dustpan and brush you can pitch in when it’s time to clean up, allowing your labourers to concentrate on the job at hand.

Of course, this list barely scratches the surface; you could fill a fleet of shopping trolleys with useful tools for housebuilding, but this lot should at least be a good start. If you’ve got any questions about these items or any other aspects of self-building, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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