Remodeling tools: hammers, nails, iPhone apps?

Conrad Neuf | Improvement Center Columnist | October 26, 2012

Power tools buzzing, sawdust flying, and beads of sweat come to mind when you think about doing a remodeling project. It's an endeavor where the timid dare not tread, and if you're a serious DIYer, there's no room for fancy, high-tech gadgets. Or is there?

Remember the days of fumbling with maps while driving? That GPS doodad wasn't nonsense, after all -- it actually made driving in unfamiliar areas easier. The same might be said about the numerous remodeling applications available for your iPhone.

10 helpful iPhone apps for remodeling

Whether you're a DIYer or plan on hiring a contractor for your renovation, there's an iPhone application that can make the job easier. The apps cover the entire range of remodeling from planning the project to choosing the paint colors for the walls. Here are a few you may want to consider prior to tearing into your home improvement job:

  • iBluePrint -- Want to see how furniture might look in your redesigned room or if your existing couch and chairs will fit? This app allows users to draw floor plans that can be exported to another device. It even provides furniture templates so you can layout the finished space.
  • Carpenter's Helper -- If you're a DIYer, this iPhone app can provide assistance during the framing phase of your project. The most advanced of the three levels available can be used to figure roof pitches, stairway layouts, material takeoffs, as well as provide measurement conversions.
  • KAD software -- Few things are as frustrating as planning a full day's work on a project only to run out of material. This iPhone app can make sure it doesn't happen or at least not as often. The application is available for different types of remodeling materials such as lumber, paint, and wallpaper.
  • Task This -- One of the secrets to a smooth-running remodeling project is proper scheduling of contractors and materials. If you need reminders of when it's time to make a phone call, add this app to your items-to-pick-up list. It features a calendar and project lists, and it can help you keep your project moving forward in a timely manner.
    iphone and hammer
  • Concretulator -- Even professional contractors sometimes have a tough time figuring out how much concrete is needed for a job -- obviously they don't have this handy app. Just plug in your dimensions, and you'll know how many yards of concrete to order. If you're mixing your own concrete, it also provides the number of mix bags needed for the project.
  • Drywall Calculator -- Even many die-hard DIYers don't look forward to hanging and finishing drywall, but with this app it's at least a little easier to figure out the board quantities needed. You can even use it to estimate paint, carpet, and floor tiles.
  • Roofing Calculator -- While installing roofing isn't usually a DIY project, you may be able to order shingles for your contractor and get a little price break. This iPhone app makes it easy to figure out how many squares of roofing materials your home requires and even takes chimneys, skylights, dormers, and valleys into account.
  • I.D. Wood -- Do you feel a little overwhelmed in the lumber aisle of your local home improvement store? This app helps to identify the different lumber species and can assist with choosing the varieties that are right for your project.
  • ColorSnap -- Have you ever stood in front of one of those giant paint charts and felt slightly dazed and confused? Sometimes it can be rather difficult to choose from the more than 50 shades available of the same basic color. Not any more. This Sherwin Williams iPhone app allows you to match their paint colors to the shade you're attempting to duplicate.
  • Home Depot app -- And of course, what would a remodeling project be without The Home Depot? This app permits you to walk the aisles without even leaving your home.

This is just a brief sampling of numerous remodeling applications already available for iPhones. A word of caution, however: you may want to keep your iPhone out of sight in a pouch on your tool belt, in case your hardcore DIY buddies find out just how helpful those apps can really be.

About the Author

When Conrad Neuf isn't writing about old houses and remodeling projects, he's struggling through the never ending renovation of his old farmhouse in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and taking care of his rescue animals. He’s also an avid motorcycle enthusiast with many miles in the saddle. Conrad has a B.A. in English from V.M.I. and served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps many years ago.