Guest Post from Charlie at Chips & Dust
This is a guest post written by Charlie over at Chips and Dust. Charlie is just starting out with his website so I wanted to give him the opportunity to share some great tips. I remember first starting out with this site almost 7 years ago and I’m very grateful for all the people who helped me get started. So in an effort to give back, I’ll continue to share posts from others starting out on their journey. Enjoy some of these great Free Online DIY Tools.
5 Free Online DIY Tools
Usually when we talk about tools for DIY’ers we are talking about cordless drills, circular saws, and hammers. But there are many valuable tools that homeowners can use that will never drive a screw or make one piece of wood into two. Better yet, these tools are free! Yep, you read that right, they cost nothing. Zip. Nada. Zero.
I’m talking about free online tools that you can use to prepare for your next project. We all know that good planning is the difference between a disaster and something you can be proud of. So get those ideas out of your head and onto, umm, the internet with these online apps that will help make your next project a success.
RoomSketcher is a full-featured floor plan tool that works inside your internet browser. It is a great online app if you are planning a remodel, trying to visualize an addition, or just like playing around with floor plans. You can customize room dimensions, place windows and doors, apply materials to walls and floors, and add furniture. When you get the design just the way you want it, you can snap pictures or do a 3D walkthrough.
2. Easy Closets Design Tool
Whether you choose to buy from Easy Closets or not, they offer a fantastic online design tool that can help you visualize how your storage space will ultimately look when it is finished. And this design tool isn’t just limited to closets. You can design a pantry layout or storage for your entire garage with their online program.
3. Orbit Sprinkler System Designer
Planning out an underground sprinkler system is tricky. Mixing improper head types or getting the spacing between heads wrong will leave your lawn with spots that are either dried out or soggy. Professional installers have lots of experience to draw from, but if this is your first (or third!) time putting in a sprinkler system you are going to need some help.
That’s why Orbit has created an online tool to help you plan your installation for free. You simply sketch out your yard, house, and any surfaces that you don’t want watered and then pick a location for the manifolds. One click generates a design with suggested sprinkler head placement and a parts list that you can take to your local home improvement store to purchase supplies.
4. Fine Homebuilding Calculators
Fine Homebuilding magazine features a number of great calculators on their site that can help you estimate supplies and costs before you even get started.
Nothing interrupts progress more than having to go back to the home improvement store for “one more” of whatever material you need to complete your current project. The drywall calculator will help you calculate the number of sheets you will need based on room height and total wall length. The calculator even accounts for openings that you may have neglected so you don’t end up with a bunch of drywall scraps.
The deck calculator estimates the cost of a deck based on size and chosen materials. This is a great way to get a handle on the cost of a deck project before you ever break out a saw, so there are fewer surprises along the way.
Since you will probably have to pour concrete piers when you build a deck, they have also created a concrete material calculator for pier foundations. Enter your pier and footing dimensions and the calculator will determine how much concrete is necessary. The tool even helps you decide whether to mix bags of concrete or call a ready-mix company to send out a truck.
5. Garden Planner
If you are planning a landscaping project the Garden Planner is a great way to lay out the various features you may want to include. Start by adding hard surfaces, water features and ground covers. Then choose from an assortment of trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers to complete the design. You can even add furniture to your design to ensure you will have enough space. You can print and save images of your design, but since the online version is only a trial version of paid software you can’t save your design.
There you have it – five absolutely free tools to help your DIY projects go smoothly. Since the internet is such a huge place, there are many more that I didn’t cover. So if you didn’t see one of your favorites in this list, tell everyone about it in the comments below!
About the Author: Charlie has been doing home improvement projects and building things for 15+ years. He is passionate about DIY and loves the smell of a home improvement store. You can check out his site, Chips and Dust.