Here we discuss technology for home maintance, including tools, software, and procedures. Some maintenance is do it yourself, while some is better left to a professional. The pros and cons of different approaches are discussed.


Painting warrants a whole web site of its own, or a book, or other source of information. There are different techniques, and different paints, for exterior painting vs interior paining. Staining of exterior wood involves yet another set of techniques. While I did my own interior painting the last time it was needed, I hired professionals to paint the outside of my house.

One of most important aspect of painting, whether interior or exterior is planning, and visualizing the results, and there are technologies that can help you do just that. I have seen too many houses painted that look like the owner picked the colors they liked, but they didn't look nice on the house. First, if you aren't using a visualization tool, you need to pick a color pallate, not individual colors. Why? Because the designers of the color palates have picked combinations of colors that look good together, and they have picked shades of each color that are suited for a particular application - such as the outside of a house. If you pick individual colors, it is just too easy to pick you favorite shade of yellow, that looks awful when it has been applied.

If you use a visualization program, you can adjust colors and shades to match you preferences, and because you can see how your house will look with all the colors you select, you can weed out the bad choices. The program I used is available from I had to pay a small fee to have a photo of my house "masked", but once masked, I was then able to use the program to try out different palates, and to adjust invidiual colors.

Tools and Equipment

If you are doing any of your own maintenance, you will need appropriate tools. Below I describe some of the tools that I use. My own preference for power tools is corded tools, rather than the battery operated cordless ones. While the cordless ones are more convenient (and I have some), all too often I find the battery is not charged when I need it because I don't use the tools often enough to keep a battery pack always charging. If you use them a lot, the convenience of cordless is worth it - but for my use, cordless tools are too much of a hassle.

For outdoor power tools, I also prefer electric over gas. In my case, this is in part for environmental reasons, and for cost of operation. Electric tools cost less to operate, but it means you need to be within reach of an electical outlet (I have some long cords) and you need to be careful not to cut the cord (which would negate any cost saving). In my case, the electicity is free since I generate my power from my solar panels. Among my outdoor electrical appliances are a corded electric lawnmower, a chain saw, a weeder, and a leaf blower.

Test Equipment

Some of my favorite tools are test equipment, and I list different kinds of test equipment below:


To reach your roof, attic, or any hig points in your house you will want a good ladder. I recently purchase a Little Giant ladder which I am quite happy with. While a little bit on the expensive side, it is extremely solid and can be reconfigured as many different kinds of latters, letting me reach the top of my two story house in its extension mode, or for smaller jobs treating it as an A frame ladder.