New apps for home improvement DIYers and contractors

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ May 1, 2012

Smartphone applications for contractors or home remodeling buffs have one incredible advantage over other tools: they don't require room in your tool bag! I scoured the blogosphere for some apps that can help in home remodeling or decorating projects. If you're willing to put some apps through the paces, you can pick and choose which ones will be up on your task bar. And for their price - a few dollars - you can always try more than you end up using.

Here are a few to consider:

Houzz Interior Design Ideas (free through iTunes). With more than 200,000 high resolution photos, Houzz' app organizes ideas by room, style, and metro area. Preview the features at Houzz.

Concrete Calculator Pro (available through iTunes). For 99 cents you can calculate the exact amount of concrete necessary to fill a square or rectangular form. If you're using a sona tube or circular form, there's a calculator for that, as well as the function to calculate exterior footings.

Home Design 3D By LiveCad (available through iTunes for $7.99). Design your dream home and then tour it in 3D. Comes with drag-and-drop furnishings, doors, windows, and floors. Comes in 12 languages and exports to your PC or iPad.

iBlueprint (free through iTunes). Create and export floor plans for yourself or (for contractors) your clients. iBlueprint is a helpful app for painters, home buyers, realtors, electricians and carpenters.

I.D. Wood ($4.99 at iTunes). I.D. Wood is an old favorite of the iTunes staff. Some 200 screen shots identify wood by species, botanical names, durability, woodworking properties, Janka hardness and sustainability. The new release supports the iPad retina display.

Home Improvement Calculators (iPhone and Android available from Construction Buddy). For a few dollars you can download calculators for paint, floor tiles, air conditioning, concrete, wall studs, wall paper, gravel, footings, drywall, carpet and bricks. Totals are expressed by material price, labor price and materials list. An app for contractors to create bids or for home owners who want to see detailed pricing for evaluating bids.

ColorSmart by BEHR (free from iTunes and the manufacturer for Android). You can look up palates at home on the BEHR website. But if you're on the job, ColorSmart Mobile can make matching up your colors a snap.

iHandy Level (free from iTunes). No need for a level in your tool bag. With the iHandy app, just set your iPhone on edge for measuring angles, slopes, aligning artwork or calculating the pitch of the roof.

There are hundreds more construction apps and more coming by the day. They'll save you time and help you make home remodeling decisions. At the very least, they can lighten your bucket.

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