The most important thing you could do to prepare for a renovation is to get correct measurements of your space. Whether you’re working off plans provided by a drafter or measuring the space yourself, accurate measurements ensure accurate pricing and only make the renovation easier for everybody. We strongly recommend taking your own measurements or having your contractor or installer take them for you. We’re going to break down a number of ways you can obtain the existing floor plans for your house, as well as spell out for you the correct way to measure yourself.
Finding the existing measurements
More often than not, plans for your house already exist and may be easy to obtain. You might actually have access to plans that you didn’t know about in the first place. You can do the following to get a hold of these records.
Talk to the contractor that built your house, if possible.
Some houses are older than others. If you’re living in a newer house, or know what contractor/developer built your house, then your floor plans might be a couple phone calls away.
Locate the archives of the municipality or county where your house is located.
It’s very possible that your county holds onto housing records for zoning purposes. One thing to consider is that you may have to pay a nominal administration or printing fee if you go this route.
Locate the fire insurance maps for the community
While fire insurance (or Sanborn) maps are typically used to appraise municipalities based on building material, proximity to other buildings and fire departments, the location of gas lines, etc… you might get lucky and find that your floor plan is documented as well. While Sanborn maps are not the most straightforward approach, they’re an option nonetheless.
Visit your local building inspector’s office.
The original plans for your house may not be available, or even different from your current layout if renovations have already been done. Luckily, if your home was inspected in the last decade or two, your building inspector’s office could have an accurate copy of floor plans.
Please note: while there are many legitimate ways to obtain a copy of an existing floor plan, this may not always be the best approach. If you are renovating an older house, it could very well be possible that it has already been renovated in the past. Additionally, even if you find a recent floor plan for your home, it might not be 100% accurate. Houses warp over the years, and you could lose inches off the original measurements. The best practice is to take the measurements yourself. If you’re unable to, obtaining the records is a suitable backup. Ideally, taking your own measurements, and cross-referencing them with an additional floor plan will ensure accuracy.
How to take accurate measurements
Measure from wall to wall at 36” height off the floor (this is the approximate height your counter will be at)
Measure from a corner to window or door opening (to edge of trim if any)
Measure across window/door opening from trim edge to trim edge
Measure from trim edge to far wall. Compare sum of #2, #3, and #4 measurements to step one to ensure they are the same.
Mark location of water, drain, gas lines and any outlets or switches
Measure from wall to wall above window to compare to #1.
7. Measure from floor to bottom of window sill.
8. Measure from window sill to top of window.
9. Measure from top of window to ceiling
10. Measure from floor to ceiling: Compare to sum of #7, #8, and #9.
Accuracy always yields the best results
Your renovation starts with a design and measurements. While budget estimates are accurate based on correct measurements, bad measurements could lead to reassessing the build, or even slow down the renovation altogether. Luckily, between your own measurements and the resources available to you, your measurements will be exactly what we need to convert your kitchen or bathroom into your dream space.