List of Home Building Materials

Summary: No two people or no two companies will ever calculate the same square footage or the same material list or take offs as they are called, for the same house.


First of all thanks for your books and online information.

I read your first book before I built my home in 1998 and it was an invaluable resource.

I am planning on building again in the Cedar Rapids Iowa area and have received a few building materials bids that vary quite a bit in actual materials used.

My question to you is, do you offer a service where you can look over a PDF of the blueprint and give an accurate list of materials needed, or do you know of such a service?

Thanks again for your willingness to share your knowledge.
Dan M.

Hi Dan,

The building materials bids that Dan is referring to is for those building supplies that are purchased from building material suppliers, lumber companies or home centers.

They include but are not limited to; framing lumber, nails, windows, doors, roofing, siding, paneling, and interior and exterior trim.

A complete list of Building Material Supplies and dealing with Suppliers is discussed in Chapter 7 of Be Your Own House Contractor.

The other items on the list do not involve as much confusion in getting bids or prices.

Well Dan, I would take the bid with the most materials which is also probably the highest price bid and removing the name of the company and removing the pricing, type the whole thing over and save it as a PDF.

Then you will have just one materials bid list, hopefully a worse case scenario, of what you need to shop comparatively and competitively for at other home centers and building suppliers.

Now you can compare pricing for the total cost for each supplier’s bid and that is what, to me, is important.

Using this method, I found that building suppliers cut prices on whatever items they can in order to win the overall lowest bottom line total.

Works for me…and saves a lot of frustration and haggling.

By the way, be sure that whoever you buy from has an excellent policy for returns and/or reorders at the bid pricing.

That way, if the bid contained too many items or too much of something, you can return them.

If there was too little of something, you can order more…at the same quoted price.

If this whole process sounds a little too inaccurate, keep in mind that no two people or no two companies will ever calculate the same square footage or the same material list or “take offs” as they are called, for the same house.

Good luck,
Carl Heldmann