Far more people would experience the joys of trying home repair, home improvement and appliance repair projects if there were ways to smooth over some of the sticking points – measurements that are difficult to make accurately, an inability to see clear instructions when in the middle of a job and so on. These are exactly the kind of problems that an army of programmers have been working on solving for a while now; the results are now out for anyone to take advantage of. All you need is a smartphone and the right set of apps.
What follows is a list of the best DIY home improvement apps for your smartphone, to help take the pain out of any project that you take up. The convenience that these apps offer isn’t just about making things easier. According to Slaterhogg.co.uk, home sales experts, convenience actually helps with accuracy. For instance, if you had a really easy way to measure room in a couple of seconds, you would probably measure a dozen times before you tried anything. You would also consult the instructions for a project far more often, if you had them right in front of you, no matter what kind of inconvenient position you were in.
iFixIt is a popular DIY website that has teardown and repair guides with great pictures and step-by-step instructions for thousands vehicles, electronic items and home appliances. While the app provides no greater depth of detail than the website offers, access over a convenient handheld device while you’re working on something can make a lot of difference.
Snapguide is a kind of Wikipedia of DIY guides. The crowdsourced guide is produced in a colorful way with full-page photos, detailed instructions and tips for thousands of arts and crafts projects, carpentry projects and automobile repair projects among others.
Apps that help you conveniently replace tools
There are a number of tools that you need to keep on hand for any carpentry or masonry job — a plumb bob, a bubble level bar, a set of protractors, rulers, and set squares. Rather than carry around this unwieldy set of tools all the time, though, you could just use an app — like the iHandy Carpenter. The graphics on the app tend to be excellent, and it can feel amazing being able to do everything you need on one tool. More importantly, when you have all your tools conveniently on a phone, you will find yourself measuring far more often.
Apps to help you make accurate measurements
Handyman is another great app for DIYers — not only do you get handy unit conversion and fractional calculators and mud weight converters, you get measurement tools, as well. This is an app that everyone should have, even schoolchildren. It’s chock-full of amazing ways to play with numbers.
Home-Improvement Calcs is even better than Handyman. It gives you specialized calculators for specific functions. Whatever you need — calculator for the amount of concrete to buy for a column or the amount of carpeting to buy for a room, all you need to do is to plug in a few numbers. You’ll never go wrong with this app.
Rooms Scan Pro is one of the most amazing measurement tools out there for DIYers. It actually helps you measure a room as if you had a laser measure tape with you. Since phones don’t have lasers, this app does the next best thing — it uses its sensors to judge distances. All you do is to need to do a measure room is to walk around the perimeter, tapping each wall as you come to it. Right away, you get accurate measurements.
Not long ago, if you needed to see what a room would look like with paint of a certain color, you had actually bring in samples from the store and paint sections of the wall. Now, painting apps dress up your room in the color that you want in no time.
ColorSnap by Sherwin-Williams is one of the most powerful apps in the home decoration business. All you need to do to see a room in a color is to scan a sample color on a sample swatch. Alternatively, if you find a color anywhere that you like, you get to take a picture of it, and direct ColorSnap to match it. You will see what exactly your room will look like in the color.
Planning and budgeting apps
Sometimes, the hardest part of successfully going through with the project is drawing up a plan and then keeping to it. An app that can help you in these areas can be very useful, indeed.
HomeZada does an excellent job helping you set project timelines and assisting you in drawing up home-improvement budgets. It also lets you save pictures and notes.
Magicplan is an organizing tool for DIYers, helping them write down notes for what they need to do. It also includes a digital tape measure (even if it costs a couple of pounds to unlock it).
It’s important to not underestimate the kind of contribution that these apps can make to a project. All you need to do is to try. You’ll understand your project more clearly and work with greater confidence when you have them.
George Ellis has been providing property maintenance for years and is always happy to provide some DIY tips online. He offers his insights to a number of different home and maintenance websites.