The days of planning your dream house on the back of a serviette are gone – or at least there are lots of software tools that can help you and your carpenter plan a building project.
Here’s a selection of our favourite free online DIY Internet tools.
Many in the building trade still use inches. To speak their language, translate centimetres (cm) into inches (“) by using a metric converter. Mobile phones also commonly have conversation software preinstalled. Dig out the instruction manual for more.
Lots of sites offer online planning software to sell you their product. Ikea has a tool for visualising your kitchen and built-in wardrobes. B&Q provide a kitchen and bathroom planner. Alternatively, Mydeco has a generic room planning tool and Sketchup, while more technical, allows you to design anything in 3D.
Building material calculator
If maths is not your strength, you may like the calculators offered by B&Q to work out how many tiles, rolls of wall paper or pots of paint you need. Sourceforme also has an impressive array of tools in its belt. You give it dimensions and it estimates numbers of floor boards, timber for stud walls, quantities of bricks, mortar, concrete and more.
You could buy paint testers to try out a new colour scheme; or you could avoid streaky walls by playing around with colour themes online. The Dulux MousePainter tool allows you to upload and paint a picture of your room by dragging and dropping colours. Alternatively create a unique paint to match any colour that you photograph at Dulux.
Homebuilding & Renovating offer ball park figures of new building costs. If you are considering a loan, see the Moneymadeclear loan calculator and budget planner to help you work out the monthly payments and affordability. Remember that building projects often go over budget by at least 10%. Our advice: ditch debt, save instead!
These are some of the free Internet planning tools that we like at Oliver Gibbs Carpentry & Joinery. They are not a substitute for professional advice or quotations; but they are useful aids to planning carpentry work.
Let us know what online gems you have found by leaving a comment below.