Free DIY House Plans With Material Lists—Build Your Own Home For Less

If you dream of building your own home but worry about complicated blueprints and expenses, free DIY house plans with material lists can make it achievable. We’ll explain where to find quality free plans for cabins, sheds, garages and more. See how handy material lists make construction easier and more budget-friendly. Get tips to customize plans to your needs and begin your exciting DIY home build.


For many prospective homeowners, the idea of designing and building a customized home is appealing but daunting. Hiring an architect to draw up plans and a contractor to handle construction seems costly and complicated. This is where free DIY house plans can help turn aspiration into reality.

Homebuilding websites and blogs offer an array of downloadable plans for small homes, backyard structures and alternative housing. With a well-designed free plan, you can DIY much of the construction and contracted workers handle tricky parts. The inclusion of a material list detailing all necessary supplies makes the process smoother.

This guide will point you to prime sources of quality free plans. Learn how handy material lists make DIY building easier and more affordable. We’ll walk through important steps like customizing plans, securing permits and beginning construction of your future home.

Where To Find Quality Free House Plans To Download

Main Sources For DIY Plans

Many websites provide free home plans as a way to showcase their offerings in hopes you’ll purchase a premium design. Even with limited options, you can find well-drawn plans for cabins, sheds and garages to download.

Top picks for free DIY house plans include:

  • Popular Mechanics – Over 50 free plans for homes under 2,000 sq ft.
  • Family Handyman – Dozens of small homes and accessory building plans.
  • All About DIY – Free plans focused on alternative housing like shipping containers.
  • Other blogs and plan websites – Companies may offer one free sample plan.

Types of Free Plans Available

When downloading free DIY house plans, you’ll find options like:

  • Small homes/cabins – Compact 1-3 bedroom designs under 1,500 sq ft.
  • Backyard sheds – Single room sheds for storage or workshops.
  • Garages – Both detached and attached garage designs.
  • Barns and outbuildings – Livestock barns, garden sheds, pool houses.
  • Alternative housing – Homes made from shipping containers, earthbags.

Ensuring Plan Quality Before Downloading

To make sure a free plan will work for your DIY home build:

free house plans with material list
  • Read feedback and reviews – This clues you into any issues with the design.
  • Check sample plans if available – Gives a sense of the level of detail.
  • Request critiques of specific plans – Ask an expert to evaluate.

This helps avoid disappointment from low quality or inaccurate free DIY house plans. You want to be sure it’s buildable as a beginner.

Using Material Lists For Easier DIY Building

What Material Lists Include

A material list, also called a takeoff list, tallies all the building supplies needed to construct a home design. This typically includes:

  • Lumber and hardware needs – Wood, drywall, nails, screws.
  • Tools and equipment required – Saw, ladders, cement mixer.
  • Detailed supplies inventory – Windows, shingles, paint, plumbing.

How Complete Material Lists Help

For DIY home builders, having the material list for a free plan helps in key ways:

  • Estimate costs and plan budget – Know what materials cost.
  • Order materials efficiently – Buy the right amounts.
  • Reduce waste and avoid shortages – Prevent mid-build supply issues.
  • Save hours of calculation time – Avoid manually tallying.

Modifying Lists To Fit Your Build

With many free DIY house plans, you’ll want to customize the design. This means also adjusting the materials list:

  • Adjust for layout or size changes – Revise list for additions.
  • Substitute alternate materials – Swap cedar for pine siding.
  • Factor in geographical differences – Account for local codes.

Having the list in a spreadsheet makes it easy to modify as your unique build takes shape.

Planning Your DIY Build Using Free Plans

Design Stage

The fun part is choosing the free DIY house plan best for your needs. Decisions here include:

  • Ideal home style and size – Consider your lifestyle and family.
  • Features you need – Bedrooms, baths, garage, storage.
  • Customizing the plan – Adjust layout, materials, style.

Browse multiple free plans until you find just the right one to make your own.

Permits and Regulations

Before building, research things like:

  • Local building codes – Comply with zoning and safety rules.
  • Required permits and approvals – Build permits, septic permits.

Having your DIY house plan meet regulations now prevents headaches later.

Hiring Contractors vs DIY

Even using free plans, consider what tasks you can realistically tackle yourself as an amateur home builder. Areas you may want hired help include:

  • Framing the house – Walls, roof.
  • Utilities – Electrical, plumbing, HVAC.
  • Concrete work – Foundation, driveway.

Get quotes to decide if hiring out some parts is best for your build.

Beginning Your DIY Home Construction

Once your free DIY house plan is finalized, it’s time to break ground! We’ll walk through key phases:

Preparing The Build Site

Site prep tasks involve:

  • Survey and mark house footprint.
  • Clear area and remove topsoil.
  • Install erosion control barriers.

This readies the land for foundations to be laid.

Laying Foundations

Foundation work means:

  • Excavating for footings and slab.
  • Building foundation frame.
  • Pouring concrete and backfilling.

Proper foundations prevent structural issues down the road.

Framing The Structure

Framing is when the shape of the house takes form:

  • Assemble floor decking and joists.
  • Construct exterior wall frames and interior partitions.
  • Raise roof trusses and install sheathing.

The framing crew works from the detailed plans.

Completing Construction For Move-In Ready

The finishing touches involve:

Exterior Finishing

  • Install windows, doors, siding.
  • Build porches, decks, garage if in plan.
  • Exterior paint and trim details.

Curb appeal and weatherproofing are important.

Interior Finishes

  • Insulate and install drywall.
  • Tape, mud and sand.
  • Flooring, doors, cabinets, trim.
  • Paint, fixtures, finishes.

The interior takes shape as livable rooms.

Utilities and Landscaping

  • Install electrical, plumbing, HVAC.
  • Driveway, walkways, drainage.
  • Plantings, sod, fencing.

Utilities and landscaping make a house a comfortable home.

Building your own home from a free DIY house plan with material list can be very rewarding. You have the flexibility to adjust plans to perfectly suit your needs. Step-by-step material lists make the DIY construction process achievable.

You can build your ideal home with research. Look for the highest quality free house plans and modify them until they’re just what you want. Then use the handy materials list to smoothly purchase supplies and begin construction. While challenging at times, the pride of creating your own DIY home makes it worthwhile!

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