How to Read New Floor Plans: Essential Tips



If you ever want to build your own custom home, you will probably find yourself taking a long, hard look at the new home construction plans drafted by your builder. These plans provide a blueprint for what your home will look like when constructed, and they can give you an opportunity to approve the floor plans and request changes to bring the proposed home even closer to the home of your dreams.

If your builder is going to send you drafts of custom floor plans to be reviewed and approved, you'll need to know how to read these plans, evaluate the proposed build and make sure every element of the plans are consistent with what you want as the buyer. Read on for an overview of how to read home construction plans, as well as how to use these plans to support a better construction process.

How to Read Floor Plans: The Basics

While the specific styles used to draft floor plans can vary from one builder to the next, there are some standard elements of floor plans that will be consistent no matter who drafts your plans.

  • Exterior Walls: Outside walls are illustrated by a thick black boundary separating your home's indoors from the outdoor space on your property.
  • Walls, Windows and Doors: Interior walls are designated by thick black lines that aren't as thick as your home's exterior walls. Windows and doors are illustrated as breaks between these walls. With most doors, a curving line will be drawn onto the floor plans to indicate which direction that door opens—which is important for planning purposes, as well as evaluating the functionality of your indoor spaces.
  • Stairs and Open Areas: Stairs will be marked by their own unique graphic, and the floor plan should indicate via an arrow or text description whether those stairs are going to an upstairs or downstairs level. In stairwell spaces, it's common for the ceiling area above and around the stairwell to be open—this should be indicated on the plan.
  • Room Dimensions: Each room's dimensions should be written in feet and inches. This is important when understanding the scale of these rooms and when evaluating their size to make sure they suit your preferences.
  • Kitchen, Bathroom and Laundry: All of these rooms make use of large plumbing installations and/or appliances that need to be accounted for. These appliances should be depicted to scale in these spaces to verify that they're large enough to suit your needs.
  • Ceiling Height: In any room where the ceiling height is different than the standard height (usually nine feet), this height should be clearly printed on the floor plans.
  • Furniture Plan: A furniture plan helps you understand how your furniture will fit into the new home. This is important when evaluating dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, among other parts of the home. Make sure the floor plan incorporates a basic furniture plan to illustrate how large pieces of furniture will work in your space.

In addition to these basic features, ask your builder if there are other design elements you should be aware of. In some cases, designers may add certain details related to the ceiling, exterior home design, or other construction elements that you will want to be aware of when reading these plans.

Tips When Evaluating Custom Home Floor Plans

When your builder supplies you with a floor plan to review, take the following steps to make sure you properly evaluate and understand the proposed construction:

  • Ask to see a model home if the builder offers one. If you're buying a home in a larger development project, you might be able to find a model home that offers similar features and a similar or identical floor plan as your proposed construction. There’s also the option to use a virtual design studio with Lancia Homes!
  • Compare the dimensions of your home's rooms to the dimensions of those rooms in your current home. By using your existing home's floor plan as a comparison, you can review new plans to determine if additional space needs to be created or reallocated to other parts of the house.
  • If you see a symbol you don't understand, ask the builder to explain it. Many floor plans feature a legend to help you understand the markings on the plan, but some builders may have their own style and symbols that require explanation.

Where can I find floor plans for my house?

Those looking to build homes will usually get customized floor plans from the company in question.

In some cases, homeowners may be working with a builder to perform significant renovations on an existing home. When this happens, your builder will first want to review the original building plans for your home to understand the underlying structure supporting the home—and to make sure their building plans are feasible given the home's current construction.

These plans may be held in several different locations. If the home was recently built or if the builder is still in operation, they may have the original plans on file in their office. Alternatively, your municipal office that issues residential construction permits may have these plans on file and available upon request. The same is true for your local building inspector's office, especially if the home was recently built. Check with these sources first, and if you come up empty-handed, ask those organizations if they have any suggestions of where you might look.

Who creates house plans near me?

For most residential home construction, one will start the planning process by working directly with a builder. Many residential building companies offer in-house drafting services for house plans. When you contact local Fort Wayne builders, floor plans are a standard part of their planning and design process, saving you the cost and hassle of finding an outside planner or architect.

Your home's floor plan is the blueprint to building the home of your dreams. Take an active role in evaluating and guiding the creation of these floor plans, and you'll end up with a home that offers everything you're looking for.