Category Archives: Painting


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Carpenter? Designer? DIY? Look No Further Than Your iPhone!

The iPhone has changed how we look at our everyday world. There was once a time where you needed to go to the home improvement store to buy a level when hanging pictures or shelves in your home, or consult an expert in the paint department to devise what colour you think would match your favourite pillow. Now, you can look no further than your iPhone!
With the vast amount of apps available, you can be sure that whether you’re a carpenter, designer, or just a person who loves a little DIY, you’ll be able to find the right app to help you get the job done.
These apps can help you choose paint colours based on a flower that you love in your backyard, develop a floor plan for re-designing a room, and even calculate the amount of drywall you will need for a job. There’s even an app to help schedule and remind you when things need regular maintenance around the house, such as maintenance on your lawn mower and changing your furnace filter! Here are 11 great apps to get you started.

Color Capture by Benjamin Moore & Co (FREE – 2 star rating) lets people snap a picture of a colour inspiration and instantly find its match from Benjamin Moore’s more than 3,300 paint colours. You can save your pictures and their coordinating colours to your Favorites, browse through Benjamin Moore’s inspirational color cards, and even locate your nearest Benjamin Moore retailer.

Dream Home & Dream Home HD by Apalon ($0.99 – 3 star rating) are irreplaceable apps if you’re craving for changes in your house, don’t mind adding new colors into your interior design and you are not afraid of experiments with your living space. Both iPhone and iPad versions showcase various styles in the interior design through high-resolution photos. If you are looking for a traditional or unusual design for your bedroom or want to add some modern decor elements into your living room or any other room in your house, then Dream Home is here to inspire you and push your creativity beyond limits.

Drywall Calculator by Jeremy Breaux ($0.99 – 3 star rating) is a handy app that assists you in easily figuring out square footage of a room. Whether you want to calculate just the walls, ceiling or a slope (triangle,) or any combination of the above. After you input your dimensions, total square footage is figured and displayed, along with the number of 4′ x 8′  (8′ is the default, you can change to any length) drywall sheets you will need.

Eden Garden Designer by Herbaceous Software Inc. ($1.99 – 3 1/2 star rating)  lets you create and share beautiful virtual gardens. Start with one of the included gardens, ready for planting, or create your own through your iPhone’s camera or photo library with a picture of your own garden if you want to ‘design before you dig.’ Then choose a plant from the color, height, planting zone and climate categories in the Plant Library.  Once you have chosen your plant, simply tap on the garden where you want it to grow and watch your plant come to life in vivid, photorealistic colours. If you are just beginning or are a real green thumb, Eden Garden Designer lets you design beautiful gardens without having to learn expensive and complicated garden design software.  Eden is designed to be a delightful and useful tool for gardeners of all abilities and interests.

Handy Man DIY by Wowzer Software ($1.99 – 3 1/2 star rating) is a feature packed home improvement planner disigned to assist you in renovating your home by providing the information you need to complete a new project. Need to find out how much paint, flooring or trim you need? Enter in your room measurements and let Handy Man DIY to the math. Handy Man DIY also takes the guesswork out of shopping with prebuilt material lists for common household projects, or you can build your own. It also allows you to enter price information to estimate project cost.

Home Improvement Calcs by Double Dog Studios ($1.99 – 4 star rating) has over 115 do-it-yourself and home improvement calculations and unit conversions. Not just calculators but the ability save and open saved calculations and add calculators to a favorites list.  You can also email calculator inputs and results so you can easily share your calculations.  Search functionality enables you to quickly find the calculator you want. Current calculators include: Concrete & Bricks, Electrical, Framing, Heating & A/C, Interiors, Lumber & Materials, Miscellaneous, Yard, Area, Volume & Angle, Conversions, & Linear Measurement.

Home Maintenance by POJO Software Inc. ($4.99 – not yet rated) is an application that tracks the upkeep of your biggest investment—your home.   Home Maintenance alerts you to items in your home that need repair or inspection according to a schedule set by you.  Choose from the application’s predefined list of suggested items and how to care for them or create your own.  Maintain a service history for all items along with details of the repairman, cost and date last serviced.  Home Maintenance will automatically update your next service schedule and visually warn you when items are due for servicing.  You will never need to wonder when it was that you last replaced the shingles on the roof and you will know exactly how to prolong the life of your water heater so it doesn’t end up leaking all over your basement floor. This app is your one-stop shop for all your home’s maintenance needs.

iHandy Carpenter by iHandy Inc. ($1.99 – 4 star rating) is an app that is like having a ruler, protractor, bubble leveler, plumb bob, and surface leveler all in the palm of your hand. Whether you are hanging a picture and need the leveler, or you are mitering the corners of crown molding, this app is for you!

inchCALC by River Studio ($1.99 – 3 star rating) is an entry level construction calculator for people who work with the FEET – INCH – FRACTION dimensions used on common rulers and tape measures. inchCALC takes inputs directly in the same FEET – INCH – FRACTION units as tape measures & rulers, does the calculations, and displays the answers in the same units. Also available is inchCALC+ ($4.99 – 4 star rating) which is the PRO level version, and contains more features than inchCALC.

MagicPlan by Sensopia (FREE – 4 star rating) measures your rooms and draws your floor plan just by taking pictures. You can then get your floor plan in PDF, JPG and DXF format or publish an interactive floor plan on the web. With MagicPlan, everyone can create a floor plan in only a few minues.

Mark on Call – Home Design Interior Space Planning Tool by M.O.C. Interior Designer, LLC. ($1.99 – 3 1/2 star rating) is an easy-to-use app that makes designing and space planning your room easy. It’s like having a personal product showroom with an on-call interior designer right at your fingertips. You can plan, preview and carry out your design visions while staying organized and within budget.

Painting 101

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface. When it comes to painting the interior of your home, some people feel overwhelmed by all there is to consider. What type of paint will work best in your home? What tools/techniques to use? and so on. The truth is, painting is not the chore it used to be. A professional look is now easier to achieve. Whatever your project, talk to the paint experts where you purchase your paint. They are a valuable resource!

Start with a painting kit! Here is a list of things that will help you get started:

  • drywall mud (putty) or spackle
  • putty knife
  • drop cloth(s)
  • step ladder
  • rubber/plastic gloves
  • safety glasses
  • paint thinner
  • cleaning rags
  • paint can opener
  • painter’s tape
  • assorted paintbrushes
  • roller and roller covers (you may want to consider an extension bar to reach the ceiling)
  • roller tray with disposable liner
  • multi-purpose paint tool *TIP* this can be used for a variety of things, such as: clearing away caulk, pulling nails, cleaning roller covers, applying putty, and scraping away old paint.
  • primer
  • paint stirring stick

The next step is to choose your paint! Here are a few things to consider:

  • First you’ll want to consider paint types. There are two common types of paint: oil or alkyd and latex.
  • Latex paints are more popular because they are practically odourless, dry quickly, and clean up with soap and water.
  • Oil or Alkyd paints are suitable for multiple surfaces, and show fewer brush strokes, but it takes longer to dry. This paint is very durable and resistant to extreme weather conditions, which makes it suitable for indoor and outdoor projects. For cleanup, you will need turpentine or paint thinner.
  • The next thing you’ll want to consider is the finish. Flat finishes have a soft, even appearance. They mark easily, however, so you’ll want to use them in rooms that don’t get a lot of traffic. Eggshell and satin finishes have a low luster and are washable, making them a great choice for rooms that get more use. Semi-gloss finishes are the most durable and are perfect for rooms that take a lot of abuse. Glossy finishes are shiny and are typically used on trim work.
  • The best way to choose a color is to try it out first. You can never
    make a good decision based on looking at the color swatch in the store. Take it home and tape it to the wall to see how it works within the space and with your room’s lighting. The swatches don’t always reveal the actual color when it dries. You can test a few colors of paint on a spare piece of wood and place it against the wall.
  • PAINTING MYTH: Contrary to popular belief, you can paint over oil or alkyd paint with latex paint. To do so the walls should be cleaned, painted with a super adherent acrylic primer, then latex paint can be applied.To test if the paint on the walls is oil or alkyd some stores carry inexpensive test kits, or you can use methyl hydrate or non acetone based nail polish remover. Apply a small quantity of one of these products to a pad and rub vigorously on the painted surface. If the surface remains shiny it is oil/alkyd; if the paint is stripped it is latex.

The next thing you will want to think about are brushes and rollers! The type of paint you choose, will determine the tools you use to apply the paint to your wall.

  • Natural bristle brushes are made with animal hair and used mainly usedwhen applying alkyd or oil-based paints, stains and varnishes. Laytex and water-based paints will dry out the bristles.
  • Nylon or synthetic bristle brushes are best used with acrylic and water-based latex paints.
  • Before purchasing one of these brushes, make sure it has a thick head of evenly distributed bristles. Cheaper brushes may have gaps in the middle of the head. An angled sash brush is great for cutting in corners or for painting trim.
  • Foam brushes can be used for intricate work such as painting moulding or window casings. However, these brushes are normally good only for one use, as they’re hard to clean and easy to tear.
  • Paint-roller covers come in different naps and textures. For smooth walls you’ll want to choose a roller with a
    very short nap — 1/8″ to 1/4″. For more textured walls, pick something a little longer — 3/8 to 1/2″.

Your next step is to prep the walls for painting! Paint won’t stick to the wall if you haven’t taken the time to prep. The surface must be clean, non-glossy and in good condition.

  • Before prepping a room for painting, protect the furniture and flooring against splattering paint or accidents using drop cloths.
  • A good idea is to remove furniture from the room altogether, if
    possible. If this is not possible, then move furniture to the center of the room and cover with drop cloths.
  • Remember to wear safety goggles and older clothes in case of paint
  • Wash walls. Washing your walls from top to bottom is always recommended because paint sticks better to a clean surface. T.S.P. (Trisodium Phosphate) is commonly used to clean walls before painting.
  • Before painting, remove all wall plates and light fixtures, and tape off light switches and electrical outlets. To protect any light fixtures and trim that are unable to be removed from walls cover with plastic and secure with painters tape.
  • When painting a bathroom or kitchen, wash the walls with a solution of approximately three teaspoons of laundry detergent to one gallon of water.
  • Scrape any cracked or flaking paint with a paint scraper.
  • *NOTE* Lead in interior paint was taken off the market in 1979. Paint in houses or apartments built before that date almost certainly contain small amounts of lead paint. Exposure to large amounts of lead can cause serious illness. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead. However, lead paint is not generally a problem if it is not flaking, peeling or blistering. To check if the walls contain lead, you can obtain a lead paint test kit at most major hardware and some health food stores. Sanding or heat stripping lead paint requires safety precautions, including protective clothing, a mask, goggles and gloves. Lead paint in the form of sanded particles are a health hazard. Pregnant women and children should never be exposed to dust or fumes caused during lead paint removal.
  • If there are large imperfections or holes in your drywall, apply your
    patching compound, let dry, and sand away the excess until the wall is smooth and even. *TIP* Ensure the compound is fully dry before sanding or applying primer/paint.
  • Paint doesn’t always adhere to glossy surfaces. It’s recommended to use a light grade sandpaper to take the gloss off the surface so your new paint sticks like it should. Sandpaper is handy to take away other small imperfections on the wall such as plaster bumps.
  • Once all the old paint and imperfections are gone it’s time for primer. Primer not only provides a good surface for the paint, but it also brings out the paint’s true color. A high-quality primer will help to hide any small imperfections on walls. Use a good water-based primer on new drywall. Choose an oil-based primer for walls that have heavy stains from water or smoke damage, or if the wall has paneling.
  • Start in the corners of the wall and up near the ceiling, “cutting
    in” the paint with an angle brush. An edge pad can also be used for clean lines around doorframes, ceiling edges and corners.
  • A great tip is to do a “W” pattern to paint walls. Start in the corner of a wall and roll on a 3′ by 3′ “W”; then fill it in without lifting the roller. Repeat until the section is finished. This helps hide seams and any places where the roller has been lifted and put back on the wall again.
  • Once an area starts to dry, it’s best to leave it alone. Going back over
    it can leave marks and color streaks in the paint’s surface.
  • A common problem known as “hatbanding” occurs when painters
    use a paintbrush for cutting in and a roller to apply the rest of the paint, thus producing a different texture along the ceiling and trim. To prevent hatbanding, roll the paint as close to the cut-in areas as possible.