Basic Site Tools

With many projects you will need the same tools, here we will take a look at which tools those might be.

basic tools

In some cases it does not matter the type of project that you are working on, the tools you will need will be the same as for many others.Let’s have a little run through of the basic site tools.

In many cases it will not matter what type of building method or materials you have chosen, some tools will be of great use to you on a self-build project. It would be a good idea to remember that in the case of tools you will get what you pay for and so it would be best to invest in tools that are of a high standard as they will last you far longer than the cheaper tools which will very likely break after only a few times of usage. High powered tools may cost more but are very likely provide you with a better standard of service and during a self-build project this would be beneficial.

Examples of Basic Site Tools


The wheelbarrow is the classic tools used in many self-build projects. Your wheelbarrow would need to be light enough to make it easier to move from one end of the job site to the other but also strong enough to carry heavy loads. Your wheelbarrow will need a thick tyre that would be ideally 6-ply and this will need to be replaced at some stage.  When it comes to the ‘barrow’ part, painted steel frames and hods will do a good job but you will find that there is rust when the paint begins to wear away. A galvinised metal wheelbarrow will cost slightly more but it will last you for years. You should also try and go for a borrow with rubber grips as this will help you to push it through muddy areas without slipping.

Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is a basic site tools than can be used for all sorts of purposes. The best angle grinder would be the larger, 230mm (9inch) disk machine. They are very powerful , can be used for grinding as well as shaping and are able to cut both metal and stone. They tend to be powered by  either 2,000W or a greater motor, with speeds ranging from 6,000 to 8,500rpm. These tools may appear very similar and so it would be best to check the specifications carefully to make sure that you are buying the right tool for the job.

When you are looking at angle grinders to buy, try not to be tempted by the ones that are £50 as they will be harsh, heavy and probably wont last you very long.

Circular Saw

This is an important tool for every builder. A circular saw is able to handle wet wood along with all of the common structural timbers and would be a valuable part of every self-builder’s toolbox.

The motors with more power are able to slice through abrasive hardwoods without stalling. These motors run from around 1000W to 2000W. A machine with blades with a diameter  of 190mm would be able to cut through materials with a thickness of 60 to 65mm.

Hardpoint Saw

It is possible to buy a hardpoint saw at quite a low price but in most cases it would be better to spend a little more money to ensure that you are using a good quality saw that would make cutting a lot easier.

The blades of your saw should be rigid, around 1mm in thickness in order to resist flexing and to also minimise ‘whip’ and vibration when sawing.



Again, similar to the wheelbarrow, a shovel may seem like a very obvious tool but it would be a necessity for any self-builder hoping to do some digging work. The very best shovels are the ones that have been worn down by regular use over the years. The most important things to look for when choosing a shovel would be a high carbon steel head and a long socket to provide strength at the vulnerable pivot point. The actually shape of the shovel would be completely down to personally choice as you could either have the traditional ‘T’ shape or the more modern ‘Y’ shaped shovel.

Sledge Hammer

The sledge hammer would be another basic tool for self-builders to use on site. Ideal for coaxing timber and concrete into shape this tools tends to be available in 7, 10 and 14lb weights and it would be wise to remember that the heavier hammers are not always the best. The lighter 7lb models are sometimes the ideal choice as they are not tiring to use.



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