Modifications & Customization of This House Plan

You are thinking about making changes to your home plan? Rest assured, this is very common and almost everyone makes changes to their plan while building their home. The following is intended to walk you through that process of making changes or customizing the home plan you have chosen to suit your specific requirements. Whether your issues concern your lot, special requirements of your locality or just personal preferences, making changes is easy and very common.

Building in Reverse

Building the design in reverse? No problem! Mirror prints, where the plan is printed in reverse are available. When you order Mirror Reverse plans, the lettering is also reversed, so all of your plans except one set of plans in your plan package will be a basic, non-reversed set to easily read the text and measurements. For example, an eight set plan package would contain one set mirror reversed, and seven sets non-reversed. If Right Reading Reverse (RRR) is an option under Plan Packages, the plan as well as the text and measurements are reversed.

Red-lining blueprints

This is by far the most common way that most changes are made. It is also the simplest and least expensive. Although our industry uses the word "blueprints" this is a holdover from days past. All the plans used today for construction are printed on white paper with black or blue line lettering. Because of this fact, notations are easily made on these prints. They can be made by pen, pencil or a red line pencil, which stands out clearly, — hence the term "red-lining".

Red-lining is not recommended for major changes, but is suited for the vast majority of changes, such as:
  • shifting of interior partitions that have no effect on structural spans
  • extending a wing of a house lengthwise that has no effect on structural spans
  • material changes, specifications, fixtures, cabinet layouts, contract provisions, etc.
  • shifting or adding or changing windows or doors
  • addition or deletion of fireplaces, garages, false dormers, raised or dropped ceilings, etc.
If it involves more than some material or specification notes, red-lining is best done by an experienced contractor who is familiar with your local codes and would know if the change requires further input from a local professional. Since plans may not be photocopied make sure to order enough sets - usually at least 8 - so each can be noted with the proposed changes. A red-line set is acceptable for contracts, most lending institutions and most building departments. If you are building in very high wind zones or flood plains zones where local engineering is required, red-lining may be unacceptable.


Where major changes are contemplated, a reproducible or vellum is suggested. You can check under "View Pricing Options" to see if this plan is available in reproducibles/vellums. The reproducible allows an experienced local draftsperson to add, erase or draw involved changes to any plan. Reproducibles are also extremely helpful where local engineering or code modifications are required. Changes that may be made with our reproducibles are as follows:
  • enlarging the home in any direction even where roof pitches or rafter lengths are changed
  • adding a room, garage or porch
  • changing foundation types if not available with the basic plans (most are available, so check first)
  • elevation changes including roof pitch and roofline changes
  • significant interior layout changes
  • adapting a plan to meet local codes or to provide engineering where required

Reproducibles are best if modified by a local architect, designer or engineer, but may also be modified by an experienced contractor. Authorization is provided to enable you to make prints from the reproducibles at a local copy shop. Copy shops are not permitted to reproduce house plans without such an authorization.

Also, check under "View Pricing Options" to see if this plan is available in a CAD file for use in modifying plans. These are the electronic files that contain all the information on your blueprints.

Remember, making changes is easy, common and most often made simply by red lining your changes directly on your plans.