Apptitude: Keeping track of home improvement projects, budgets, materials

Margaret Ely
Producer April 8

This simple, all-in-one home improvement planner won’t change a faucet or install a ceiling fan. But it will tell you how to do so. And Handy Man DIY will keep track of your room measurements, to-do list, shopping list and costs. Instead of going to the store with a rough idea of what you need and scribbled reminders on a sticky note, you’ll have everything on your phone.

Margaret Ely is a producer and reporter for Local Living and Weekend. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section. View Archive

To start, create a project you need to tackle. For me, it’s painting the bedroom of my small apartment. Put in measurements, and the app can convert them into square and cubic feet. You can include the smallest of details, too. There is space to put the room’s number of electric outlets, light switches, window dimensions and more.

For each project, you can add notes and build a comprehensive shopping list to track your costs; I itemized everything from the disposable paint roller pan to a few gallons of paint to the plastic dropcloth. You have to input prices yourself, but that’s a good way to stay on top of your budget. And if you’re teaming up on a project, you can share your shopping list via e-mail. The to-do list lets you check off items as you go, which can be helpful for staying on task.

Another bonus for the novice? The app has written and video tutorials for some home improvement projects, such as the aforementioned faucet changing and ceiling fan installation. Each tutorial also includes a shopping list, so newbies won’t be caught, say, under a sink without pliers.


Handy Man DIY (Jon Larson - LarsonImages /Wowzer Software)

The app does fall short in a few areas: It lacks photos and graphics. The video tutorials are a good start, but step-by-step tips with photos to illustrate installing window blinds would be more helpful, and make the steps easier to digest and replicate. There are also some noticeably missing tutorials the developers should consider including: How to lay carpet, how to hang art and how to install a chandelier come to mind.

Other potentially useful tweaks would be to add a total for estimated costs of all projects. If you have plans to revamp your master bedroom and bathroom, it would be handy to see how much you’ll want to budget for both in total.

Finally, while the app has a large library of materials, it could be expanded to include more items. Even better, the app should give you the option of adding a custom material. Any handy person worth the moniker is going to want to list the exact type and quantity of nut, bolt or screw a project needs.

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Stats

NAME: Handy Man DIY

COST: $1.99

OPERATING SYSTEM: iOS

CREATOR: Wowzer Software

USER RATINGS: Apple,  (101 ratings)

Review’s bottom line: “Another bonus for the novice? The app has written and video tutorials for some home improvement projects. ...”

Next week: RideScout

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