Drawing your own house plans?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 06-29-2010 12:31 AM 8303 views 1 time favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13345 posts in 3702 days

06-29-2010 12:31 AM

I am planning on building my first/dream house looking at doing a 1300 to 1500 sq ft house, I am going to do a lot of the work myself. I am looking at these two houses because they have extra space above the garage, for a extra bedroom or guess room. my question is worth the trouble to draw my own house plans? or just should I buy them? I also plan on turning the garage into a woodworking workshop :) All this depends on my efforts in getting a job.

32 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#1 posted 06-29-2010 12:46 AM

Sounds like a great plan Charles. all I get is error messages on your links. About drawing your own plans . It will depend how picky your building department is and if they will help you. There’s a lot more than just drawing the floor plan out. There’s excavation,drainage,foundation, plumbing, electrical,heating and air.framing and more.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3015 days

#2 posted 06-29-2010 12:50 AM

You need to find out what your local laws are on building houses and blueprints. Some places require certified blueprints – from an architect – and some places do not. If they have to be certified, you’d be better off just buying pre-certified plans (make sure they’ll pass for your local codes!). If they don’t, then go ahead and play around on your own. And see where you can find the building code for your local government. I know it sucks the romance right out of it.

Also check into the rules for building your home from scratch. The rules are so dramatically different everywhere… no use on speculating what they may be for you.

Btw those links did not work.

One of the things pretty high up on my to-do list in life is to build my own home. My personal taste runs different than what I can find in this area, most of the time, so I want to just make it EXACTLY what I want.

Though if you are looking at plans and want to make a workshop why not make a garage AND a workshop. I sure am fond of parking my car indoors. Three and four car garage plans are not that hard to find.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3702 days

#3 posted 06-29-2010 01:14 AM

Here is some pictures on the plans!

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3047 days

#4 posted 06-29-2010 01:16 AM

All I would suggest is that you have a detached workshop and the reason for that is shop odors, dust, noise all are further removed from the house. You can have a breezeway connection but I would not have the roof line connected to further isolate odors and dust. You would not be able to work in your shop if (for example) your future wife gets pregnant and is highly sensitive to paint and varnish finishes. By having a separate building for that, this problem is eliminated. Some woods have a powerful odor and you would not want it permeating the house. Also be sure to wire it for 220 power as well, if you are going to build it, do it right! A good thing to include is maybe a bathroom with showering facilities so you could clean up before going into the house. Good Luck and best wishes!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

I saw the addition of the plans after I posted so added to my post. The garage is too small! If for instance you want to park your future full size truck in it, it won’t fit, you will need at least a 24 ft depth.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3370 days

#5 posted 06-29-2010 01:18 AM

there are many books of house plans ,
a bookstore is a good place to go for that ,
i built a house for a family ,
they got a set of plans from sunset magazine ,
in the study books , they give you a basic floor plan ,
and an estimated cost to build ,
you can send for study plans for a reasonable cost ,
then if you find one you like ,
the real plans are pre approved for most building depts.
you can find plans for just about any kind of home you like .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 2984 days

#6 posted 06-29-2010 01:21 AM

Anybody can draw a floor plan … making sure that it is to code, will be accepted by your local building department, and can be read by your builder are the things that you are paying for.

If you think you can navigate all of that on your own, go ahead, otherwise purchase the things (and make sure they are complete plans.)

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3702 days

#7 posted 06-29-2010 02:56 AM

Ok, I was thinking that buying would be better. They have drafting software that you can buy these days.

View spclPatrolGroup's profile


233 posts in 2923 days

#8 posted 06-29-2010 05:24 AM

Growing up as the son of a contractor and architect, and working with my Dad on my own house plans, I can tell you there are things that you wont think of, that someone with experiance will. Its good to have an idea, but I would suggest you work along with someone who does this for a living. Tell them what you want, have them draft it, then revise, revise, revise, until you have a plan that you like, that also works functionally. Think of your mailman comming to you with woodworking plans for a bookshelf he made himself, full of butt joints, odd dimensions, calling for a combination of purpleheat and wenge, you could make the plans for a bookshelf that had the same look and feel, but much more practical.

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3026 days

#9 posted 06-29-2010 06:20 AM

Tyskkvinna is correct. Check with your local municipal, county or city by-laws.
I use a draftsperson, (I am fortunate my nephew his certification in drafting) they generally have an architect on staff, this allows you to help the design of what you want and they have the knowledge to make it work.
It is cheaper to make the changes on paper ahead of time than it is to get part way into building it and realizing what you thought might work doesn’t. Do your homework ! You want to know as much as possible about all aspects of building, For the most part building a home is the same as years ago, BUT Building codes do change.
I do NOT want to burst your bubble. I had a home with a WALK in basement, in my wisdom I used 1/2 basement as a workshop. THIS IS WAS NOT a GOOD IDEA. I sealed up all vents and soundproofed ceiling. The dust still floated around , the odors went upstairs. I would recommend a seperate building or a breezeway between house and workshop.
On a lighter note: The space above garage could be used as a space for the “Mother-in-law” or relatives to visit ?

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4154 days

#10 posted 06-29-2010 05:56 PM

I’m in the process of drawing up plans (not just floor plans) for my workshop. I’m doing a heck of a lot of learning, everything from allowable code distances and tolerances of rebar from the edge of concrete forms in the foundation (and how thick the foundation needs to be based on local soil and seismic issues, and the fact that I’m designing for a heavy living roof), to the narrow strips of housewrap that will extend from the furring that holds the siding away from the sheathing to create the drainage plane over the individual pieces of siding, to allowable spacings on the nails that hold the sheathing on given the aforementioned seismic and wind issues particular to my area.

And after all that, I expect to take these plans to a licensed structural engineer or architect and pay several hundred dollars, if not more than a thousand, to have them check me for errors and sign off on the plans so that when I take them to my town’s planning department I know I’ve got it right. And I’ve done some engineering for some of the roof truss designs I’m considering, but I’ll probably also take my roof loads to a truss company and let them do the engineering for that, too, just to make sure I really got it right.

Ragging on the deficiencies of architects is one of my pet hobbies, and I think it’s a grand thing to draw up your own plans, but if you value your own time at all it’s not going to be a way to save money (unless you’re looking at architecture as a profession and can amortize that knowledge over many houses), and it’s not a simple process.

If I could buy a set of plans that incorporated the more difficult aspects of what I’m trying to accomplish with my workshop and just alter them, rather than starting from scratch, even if those plans cost me a couple of hundred bucks, I would. In a heartbeat. And that’s less than 300 square feet, just four walls, a few windows, two doors, and a roof.

However, it’s also totally reasonable to take floor plans (which are very distinct from house plans) to an architect and say “here’s what I’m trying to accomplish, here’s why, can you help me come up with building plans?”

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3766 days

#11 posted 06-29-2010 06:32 PM

I design and draw all of my projects including house plans. In your case, I suggest you select a house design that you like and order a pre-approved set of plans. The reason is that the learning curve will most likely be too great. This way you will be able to concentrate on the actual building aspect of the project. You will learn the construction part of building as well as come to a much quicker and better understanding of how to read plans. There are so many things to consider when drawing plans. Keep it simple on the first few builds.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3702 days

#12 posted 06-29-2010 07:50 PM

Thanks guys, I’ve made up my mind that its best buy the plans instead of drawing them.

View JimF's profile


144 posts in 3322 days

#13 posted 06-29-2010 08:20 PM

Many years ago, my dad & I drew up a floor plan with a 6” plastic ruler. He took it to a general contractor who gave that to his drafting/design people. They developed the floor plan sketch into a full set of plans which was then approved and built. If you want a specific layout, you might try something like this. Apparently Dad’s layout was good as the contractor asked to use the plans for other homes in areas not near ours.

-- Insert clever tag line here

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3315 days

#14 posted 06-30-2010 05:19 PM

I have designed and built a few houses, including our personal “dream house”
I drew the basic plan, then took it to a local draftsman to do the “real” plans. He knows the local codes, so I felt much safer that way.

There are several computer programs to help you also.


View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2917 days

#15 posted 06-30-2010 08:35 PM

I have one suggestion if you want to play around with home plans (or ANY plans, including woodwork) and that is to log onto Google and download a copy of SketchUp 7. It’s FREE and a very easy to learn yet powerful drafting/planning program.
Although originally intended for architectural use, it lends itself to all sorts of design work and it’s in 3 D to boot!

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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