New DIYer? Here's What You Don't Need

An assortment of tools

One of the great things about owning a home is the opportunity to fix things on your own. As a homeowner, there is a nearly never-ending number of do-it-yourself projects that will be available, and chances are you’ll want to do them all. However, if you’re just starting out and as a new DIYer, before you go out to your favorite home improvement or hardware store to stock up on tools, materials, and supplies, there are quite a few things you don’t need and a lot you need to know.

DIY Skill Sets

It isn’t that you don’t need skills, you do, but on a basic level if you’re just starting out. A project as simple as caulking around window seams, changing hardware on bathroom cabinets, or replacing the screen in windows or doors is straightforward.

If you take it to another level, such as painting the kitchen cabinets or the living room wall, while it may seem simple to do, there are a lot more steps than just opening a can of paint and slapping on a couple of coats. There’s more to the painting process than meets the eye, especially when it comes to prepping.

A woman painting a wall blue

As an example, here is a portion of what a professional painter needs to do for a quality job:

A professional paint job requires quite a few supplies besides the paint and a brush. They have a cache of tools including ladders, buckets, drop clothes, several types and styles of brushes to do specific jobs, a roller, roller pan, brush cleaner, paint sprayer, paint scraper, assorted wire brushes, putty knives, sandpaper, tubes of caulk, caulk gun, solvents to clean brushes, and much more.

You must first determine any damage that may need to be repaired or pieces replaced to cabinet doors or the drywall. The surfaces need to be thoroughly cleaned of any dirt or grease buildup, if there is chipping paint it will need to be removed, and if you're dealing with hardwood cabinets, do they need to primer before painting or staining? If you don't know the answer and you go out any buy things you don't need versus those you do, chances are you've wasted money.

With any DIY project, there are any number of steps, preps, and processes that must be taken in order to achieve a successful outcome. If you don’t know how to do the project, such as replacing vinyl or ceramic tile, installing a new toilet, or repairing, replacing, or installing drywall, you’ll waste not only time, but also money because you may have to have a professional handyman redo the same project sooner than later because it wasn’t done properly the first time around.

Tools You Should Buy

Planks of wood on a shopping cart at a home improvement store

Most DIY projects require a variety of tools, as noted above, which of course depend on the type of project you’re considering. For very basic projects, a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a wrench, nails, specific material (screen, caulk, caulk gun) and a few other odds and ends should suffice.

What you don’t need to do is invest in a lot of equipment such as expensive drills, assorted table saws, or every type and size wrench, screwdriver, and hammer available on the market just so you have them "handy" for projects that may arise.

A professional handyman will already have just about everything necessary in their inventory because they have the skill set and know what tools, supplies, and materials are necessary for specific jobs. And if they don't have something, they'll know what to get and how to use it.

Make an Informed Decision

If you're just starting out and have a DIY project you'd like to attempt, do your research first and decide if you can do it without professional help, and if so, what tools you'll need. Then determine if the cost of the tools and supplies that you may use only once. Determine if it's worth the DIY cost versus hiring a handyman to do the job. If it's beneficial for you to do the DIY project, then you've made a wise and informed financial investment.