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Can You Suggest Online Calculators for Home Improvement?


Online Calculator

Online Calculator

Copyright Lee Wallender; Licensed to About.com
Question: Can You Suggest Online Calculators for Home Improvement?
I'm looking for a collection of online remodeling calculators - roofing calculator, vinyl siding calculator, etc. Can you help?
Answer: Yes. I try to make a note of good online calculators when I find them. The key word here is "good." The world abounds with online calculators, but good online calculators are far and few between.

Below, find my favorite picks for home remodeling calculators for tiling, roofing, flooring, and much more.

Countertop Calculators

Recommended: Corian and Zodiaq Solid-Surface Countertop Estimator

A big multi-national home improvement supplier with cojones? Yes, it's none other than DuPont. With their Corian/Zodiaq (quartz) countertop estimator, not only do they take on the mundane task of calculating square footage, but they factor in things like edge treatment and backsplashes. Oh - and they work in price estimates for installation, too. I love this calculator.

Tiling Calculators

Recommended: Warmly Yours Tiling Calculator

This tiling calculator is by far the best I have seen to date. The reason for its success is that it is Flash-based. If that doesn't mean anything to you (and no reason it should), just keep in mind that Flash-based calculators allow for a more visual, graphic representation of your tiling layout. So, instead of plugging numbers into forms, you get to do the more natural thing, which is moving walls by dragging them with your cursor.

Downside of this online calculator: no pricing estimate. Oh well.

Roofing Calculators

Recommended: New England Metal Roof Online Roofing Calculator

You're hard-pressed to find a good online roofing calculator that gives price estimates. Most calculators stop at square footage, afraid to venture into the scary world of price estimates. But New England Metal Roof's calculator tries to peg a rough dollar estimate for your roofing job, including tear-out of old roof. Note: this does not just include metal roofs; it also includes composite, wood/cedar, Spanish tile, and many other times of materials, including metal.

One downside is that this online calculator does not let you input a precise roof pitch. Roof pitch does have a very real determining factor on price. However, my take on the matter is that most homeowners will not get up on the roof or in the attic to measure pitch, and will just guesstimate anyway. So this calculator's Flat, Low, Medium, Steep, etc. pitch designations work just fine.

Siding Calculators

Recommended: Mitten Vinyl Siding Calculator

I have yet to find a really good online siding calculator. In the meanwhile, this one will have to do. The thing I like about this siding calculator is that it will add up all of the various surfaces for you. Most siding calculators ask for total square footage right off the bat. But this calculator does it for you, and includes waste materials and those weird surfaces like gables, soffits, and fascia.

Downside: no price estimates. Also, it is often confusing as to which "Calculate" button to press, since the form has several. I am not in love with this siding calculator. But with a little revamping, this could be a neat little tool.

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