Your smartphone: A great tool for a better remodeling project?


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Managing a home-remodeling project is hard work. Even if a general contractor handles the details, you still have to organize paperwork, receipts, expenses and project milestones.

If you fail to manage costs and progress, you could spend thousands of dollars more than you need to pay on your project.

Enabled with the right apps, however, your smartphone can minimize the hassle of documenting, organizing and keeping your project on track.

Use your phone to take images, keep a running tally of expenses, make requests with your contractor and stay up to date on progress.

How homeowners use phones for remodeling projects © Bigstock

Here are a few apps that can help.

PlanGrid (Android, iOS)

PlanGrid eliminates the need to lug around paper blueprints by allowing you to access digital plans from your smartphone. Share the app with your architect and contractors and update plan changes to a master set everyone can see in real time.

The app also lets you pin photos to areas of the digital plans to be shared by all users. If you’d like to move the sink 10 inches, make the change on your phone and everyone will see it.

All data is backed up to the cloud for security and easy retrieval from other devices. The app is free for small projects requiring less than 50 sheets of storage.

Color Capture (Android, iOS)

Benjamin Moore’s Color Capture app makes it easy to match and select paint colors on the fly.

Simply take a photo of the wall color and the app will pull up a scrollable list of similar paint colors. Tap the closest one to obtain the color names, codes and accompanying swatch, then add those colors to a favorite list for later retrieval.

The app can also scan QR codes and has a library of more than 3,000 Benjamin Moore colors.

HomeZada (Android, iOS)

This nifty app serves as a one-stop place to manage home improvements and track home maintenance. For remodeling projects, use HomeZada to find inspiration, research design costs and estimate material quantities.

HomeZada also helps you set realistic budgets by analyzing and comparing your highest and lowest choices you made during the research phase.

If working on your phone or tablet is too cumbersome, you can also log in to a desktop computer to get a better look at plans. HomeZada also lets you manage multiple projects at once with budgeting and timeline features, making it a great choice for small landlords.

Home Improvement Planner (iOS)

This feature-packed app offers a variety of tools to plan and manage a large remodeling project with your phone. An “augmented reality” tool can help you visualize your project early in the process. You also can compare detailed quotes from contractors and subs.

Home Improvement Planner also lets you easily calculate and track material requirements, prices and preferred providers, syncing with labor estimates to help you maintain an updated budget.

The Contractors tab is especially helpful if you’re managing multiple contractors or subs. It can store quote details and allow you to easily communicate with calls, text or email.

Users also can set reminders to automatically notify contractors of impending tasks and milestones.