13 Essential Tools for Any Remodeling Project

Ever wonder which tools you always need on standby for any remodeling project?

1. Hammer


No project is complete without a drop-forged 16-ounce hammer for driving in and pulling out nails. Look for one with a fiberglass handle for extra shock absorption.

2. Tape Measure


Measure twice and cut once with a tape measure that extends 25 feet, and buy one with a strong tape so it doesn’t droop in the middle.

3. Level


Most people can’t eyeball an even surface with 100% accuracy, but a fluid-filled level can. A 9-inch level will do the job just fine.

4. Set of Pliers


There are three types of pliers—needle nose (for narrow spaces), small slip joint, and wire cutting—with each serving its own special purpose in remodeling. As a bonus, wire cutting pliers also double as wire strippers.

5. Box Cutter


Also known as a utility knife, the retractable blade is sheathed in a plastic cover for safety. The blades can also be replaced easily, which means that this knife has almost no chance of getting dull.

6. Pry Bar


Choose a pry bar that’s 12 to 18 inches long, and that’ll be enough to pull out tough nails or remove molding. And for any demolition duties, a pry bar cuts out a lot of the grunt work.

7. Set of Screwdrivers


It’s a matter of when, not if, screwdrivers will be called upon, and having a full set (1/4 and 3/8 inch flat heads, No. 1 and 2 Phillips, Robertson, hex, Torx, square recessed) means not having to scrounge around and make do with inferior devices.

8. Electrical Tester


An unexpected electrical current is one of the worst surprises to come across, so guard against this with an electrical tester that comes with two probes and a light. There are fancier options available, but they still do the same job as the basic one.

9. Handsaw


Wood doesn’t cut itself, and an electrical saw might not always be available. Instead, invest in a 12 to 15-inch handsaw that cuts quickly and safely.

10. Vise Grips (Locking Pliers)


Sometimes, an object won’t hold still between your knees no matter how hard you try. A vise grip, though, clamps onto just about anything that needs stabilizing and comes with an adjustable screw drive in the handle for precise fits.

11. Reversible Drill


A 3/8-inch reversible drill is an absolute essential, and can also be used as a power screwdriver when it’s not drilling holes. To save on weight, buy the corded option and ensure it never runs out of power, too. A full bit set to accompany the drill goes without saying, with masonry bits needed for drilling through metal or concrete.

12. Safety Glasses


Whether it’s a small, half-hour project or a complete overhaul, protect the body parts that make it all happen. Chances are, nothing will most likely happen but in the event that the worst happens, safety glasses mean there’s a chance to fix a mistake.

13. Tool Box

Tools need a storage place, and a tool box is the way to go. All your tools are in one spot, quick to access, and easy to reach for a new one.

Always remember to take safe precautions whenever starting any remodeling project, and to think about every move before it happens.

Amy Wright
Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.
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