Joe’s Beginner’s Guide to DIY Tools & Products

Joe’s Beginner’s Guide to DIY Tools & Products

Fed up of hearing from me all the time? It’s okay. I won’t be offended. There’s another person around here who wants to have a say too, and he’s the one I talk about so often on this blog – my husband and the official DIY’er in this house – Joe.

He drags me around B&Q at the weekends to look at really exciting things like….screws. He asks for duct tape for Christmas. And he keeps a 4 pack of beers in his shed. For “emergencies”. It’s fair to say, DIY has become a hobby for my lovely hubby, as well as a necessity to keeping this household up and running. And I tell you what, he’s learned a lot in the past 3 years.

Here, Joe wants to introduce you to some of his favourite – and hated – products that he’s come across as a newbie handyman, in case anyone else is in a similar situation to where we were 3 years ago. Take it away Joe! 


(He’s going to kill me for using this photo haha!)

We are coming very close to the 1st full completion of our house before we’ll probably need to go back to the beginning and start again. We have everything prepared for our first baby in terms of making the house safe and it’s now a dust-free and hazard-free zone which is perfect for a family home.

But getting here took a lot of work. When we started renovating our house, I had no DIY skills. I spent my teen life horizontal and usually hungover if I’m totally honest. I wasn’t really practical but since going head to head with our house, it’s taught me a lot. Although we’ve had help with many areas, I feel confident enough to say I can do the majority of it from plumbing to building to landscaping to plaster boarding to painting to bathroom fitting to tiling to joinery work and my all-time favourite – destruction.

I am very good at that.

So, from my learnings, I thought it would only be polite to share a few tips. Over the past 3 years, I’ve gone through plenty of products, and I’m sad to say that some of them I would never use again. Like I said, I was starting from scratch so I really didn’t know what I was doing and have used the majority of products out there to know which is best. This is not a sponsored post and I am not favouring certain brands, and yes I know that apparently only a bad workman blames his tools, but this is just my take on what’s happened and hopefully it will help you too if you’re just starting out.

Grab Adhesives

Don’t use: No More Nails. It takes a while to dry and is far too runny so each job I ended up using nails to hold the fixtures in place until the adhesive had set. Kind of defeated the object of it really.

Do use: Evo stick Serious Stuff Grab N Fill. This is everything you want and it acts as a grab adhesive and filler. It sets fast with a very strong grip.  No problemo. Also recommend No Nonsense Mighty Grab Adhesive. This is more of a thick putty though so don’t get any on your hands!

Gloss paint

Don’t use: Crowns Brilliant White Non Drip Gloss. If you want to be re-glossing your doors every few months after your door has turned yellow, use this.

Do use: Dulux Non Drip Brilliant White Gloss – PING! Bright white. Enough said. It applies to wood really nicely and you don’t need a dollop on your paint brush to get a good finish. You may need two coats if you thinly apply it but I have done three doors with two coats on both sides and still have half the tin left.

Mastic Guns

Don’t use: Cheap versions. I have gone through 3 cheap guns (I think they were B&Q value range) and bent the METAL handle on each. The substance you’re trying to push – either sealant or silicone of some kind – in my experience has been stronger than the metal handle.

Do use: A heavy duty version. There is no brand that comes to mind on this one, but just pay that extra few pounds to get the better one, don’t skimp out.


Don’t use: Unbranded paintbrushes or rollers. I get that they are cheap enough for you to paint once and then dispose of, but they do tend to leave half of the brush fibers in the paint job, and tend to leave some pretty horrendous stroke marks on the wall.

Do use: HARRIS. I just love Harris brushes. They are a few pounds more than the cheap stuff but the results will be far superior and cheap enough to use once and dispose of if you don’t look after them after each job, like me. Oops.


Don’t use: Anything that says Diall. I hate writing off a brand altogether but from masking tape to paint brushes to rollers to laminate flooring insulation to lino adhesive to filler to sandpaper. I just haven’t got along with any of their products. In some areas, they’ve been okay, but if we are spending all this money I want to know I’ve got something that will do a good job that lasts.

Do use: Anything else. Sorry, Diall.

I spend a lot of time in merchant stores so hopefully this will help other DIYers make a few informed purchases! We’ve bought the cheap stuff, and now we know better, and in some cases, it’s worth the splurge. I may do another of these posts as I clear through my shed, but in the meantime if you have any recommendations on DIY products, whether ones to use or ones to avoid, hit me up in the comments!