How to Do a Lumber Takeoff from Plans

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Carpentry, including accurate estimates of all wood requirements based on construction drawings, is an important part of the construction process Specific carpentry is important for production planning, budgeting, and project planning This is a complete tutorial on how to make flying trees from pictures. How to Do a Lumber Takeoff from Plans

1. Understanding the Plans

Before beginning the lumber takeoff services, it’s essential to thoroughly understand the construction plans. The plans typically include:

  • Specifications: Materials and construction methods.

Carefully review these documents to get a clear picture of the project scope, dimensions, and specific requirements.

2. Gathering Tools and Resources

For an effective lumber takeoff, you’ll need:

  • Blueprints or digital plans: Ensure they are up-to-date and accurately scaled.
  • Measuring tools: A scale ruler for physical blueprints or software tools for digital plans.
  • Spreadsheet software: For organizing and calculating quantities.
  • Takeoff software: Optional, but it can significantly streamline the process.

3. Breaking Down the Structure

Divide the structure into different components. Common categories include:

  • Walls: Both interior and exterior.
  • Floors: Including subfloor and joists.
  • Ceilings and Roofs:Rafters, trusses, and coverings.
  • Other elements: Stairs, railings, and any additional wood structures.

4. Measuring and Counting


  • Studs: Measure the total length of each wall. Divide the length by a certain spacing (16 or 24 inches) to determine the number of stitches needed, then add additional stitches for corners, openings and joints.
  • Plates: Generally, each wall requires one bottom plate and two top plates.
  • Headers:The width of each window and door opening should be measured in order to calculate the header length. Account for double or single headers as specified in the plans.


  • Joists: Measure the span of each floor section. Calculate the number of joists by dividing the span by the spacing interval (commonly 16 or 24 inches). Add rim joists around the perimeter.
  • Subflooring: Determine the area of every floor segment. Depending on the size of the paper, which is approximately 4 by 8 feet, change the area to the number of pages made of base material (such as plywood or OSB).

Ceilings and Roofs:

  • Rafters and Trusses: Measure the width of the roof and calculate the difference between them to determine the number of columns or beams required. Consider any special roof features like valleys or dormers.

Other Elements:

  • Stairs: Measure the rise and run and determine the size and orientation of stringers and tread risers.
  • Railings and Balusters: Measure the height and length to determine the number of poles needed.

5. Creating a Material List

Once all measurements are taken, compile a detailed list of materials. This list should include:

  • Type and size of lumber: Specify the grade and size of the lumber 
  • Quantities: Indicate in detail how many pieces or linear feet are needed overall for each kind and size.
  • Waste factor: To account for cutting errors, flaws, and offcuts, add a waste factor (10–15%).

6. Using Takeoff Software

If available, takeoff software can automate much of this process. Programs like Plan Swift, Bluebeam, or Builder trend allow you to import digital plans, measure directly on the screen, and generate material lists automatically. These tools can improve accuracy and save time.

7. Verifying and Adjusting

Double-check your measurements and calculations. Verify that all components have been accounted for and that quantities are reasonable. Adjust the material list if necessary based on practical considerations, such as the availability of lumber sizes and the construction sequence. How to Do a Lumber Takeoff from Plans

8. Collaboration and Review

Provide the material list for review to the principal project participants, such as the contractors, engineers, and architects. Their opinions can be useful in pointing out any contradictions or missing details. Collaborative review ensures that the takeoff is accurate and complete.

9. Ordering Lumber

With an accurate material list, proceed to order the lumber. Consider the following:

  • Supplier selection: Choose reliable suppliers known for quality and timely delivery.
  • Lead time: Account for the time required to process and deliver the order.
  • Storage and handling: To minimize damage and guarantee convenient access during building, make plans for appropriate on-site storage.

10. Continuous Monitoring

Throughout the construction process, continuously monitor the lumber usage. Compare actual usage to the takeoff estimates to ensure that the project stays within budget and that there are no significant variances. Adjust future takeoffs based on lessons learned from ongoing projects.


The process of taking a timber takeoff is meticulous and deliberate, requiring precise measurement, careful planning, and extensive documentation. You can make an extensive material list by comprehending the blueprints, dissecting the structure, taking precise measurements and counts, and utilizing technologies to help with computations. The project is further guaranteed to run smoothly and efficiently with little waste and cost overruns through collaboration and ongoing monitoring. Any building project’s success depends on accurate lumber takeoffs, which are not just an initial but a continuous aspect of the building process.

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