Whether you're remodelling your kitchen or just fixing a leaky tap, keeping up with your house's basic maintenance is an essential part of home ownership. And with these helpful mobile apps in your tool-belt, you'll be able to tackle virtually any project without having to get your contractor's licence.
You never know where you'll find the perfect colour for your living room. But when the moment of inspiration strikes be sure you're ready for it. The free Colorsnap app (iOS, Android) from Sherwin-Williams can help by analysing that perfect colour, wherever you find it, and converting it into a matching, custom tint mix code for the company's paint brand.
All you have to do is take a picture of the colour you like, tap on the hue you like best, and the system will return its "closest result". An image of my Navy Blue lighter shot under bright white indoor LED lighting for example, came back as "Quixotic Plum, SW 6265" which is close enough!
"Measure twice, cut once" is one of carpentry's most fundamental rules, up there with "no horsing around near the band saws." The same holds true for home improvement in general. Before you can start in on a project -- whether re-tiling a bathroom, laying down new hardwood floors, or even painting a hallway -- you've got to know exactly what the scope of the project is and how much materials you'll need.
The Handyman Calculator (Android) can assist you with the more complex maths -- from figuring square footage and stud spacing to unit conversion to asphalt volume, tile, paint, carpet and linoleum coverage calculators, this app takes care of all of the heavy mental lifting. You just need to provide the correct measurements.
The iOS faithful should check out Home Improvement Calcs from Double Dog Studios ($2, iTunes) for similar functionality to the The Handyman Calculator, including more than 74,000 preset functions from mulch coverage to attic insulation volumetrics. It also includes enough helpful explanatory illustrations that you'll be able to BS your way through the timber section of Bunnings with ease.
Or, better yet, avoid the hassle of going to the home improvement store altogether. Bunnings offers dedicated apps for both iOS and Android which allow you to shop and purchase floors and paints.
In addition to big renovation projects, a house requires regular maintenance and upkeep -- especially the older it gets. To keep on top of the innumerable little duties that keep small problems from becoming big, expensive issues, check out House Maintenance Schedule ($2, freemium, Android). This calendar app helps schedule and remind you of upcoming maintenance projects, from flushing the water heater and inspecting fire extinguishers to changing HVAC filters and cleaning downspouts.
And if you find yourself stumped by a project, there are plenty of resources on the internet to help you along. The Family Handyman DIY Tip Genius ($5, freemium iOS) by Readers Digest is designed for both the iPhone and iPad and is packed with more than 300 (1800 if you pony up $5) ideas and tips to keep you from bungling the job. For more ideas and tips be sure to also check out the regularly scheduled podcasts from Handy Guys and Money Pit Home Improvement. Now get out there and make Tim Taylor proud.
Top picture: RTeo