Is Sketchup compatible with other home design software?

Hello everybody,
I am trying to find a home design software and I was impressed by Sketchup features and ready to try it. However, it is possible that I will decide later to switch to another application. Will I be able to save and open my work in other application instead of recreating it again? May I open other files formats in Sketchup? Will I be able to use libraries of floor plans from other formats?
Does Sketchup have a library of complete house designs including floor plans and building structure details?

There are file formats such as DWG that you can export from SketchUp–if you have the right version. The usability of the export depends on your work, and what program you are moving it to. Also SketchUp’s export for DWG (for example) is often considered subpar. You’d have to try it out to consider if it works for you.

The general method of using imported plans is to trace over an imported dwg, dxf etc. So yes you can import plans and draw over them in 2d and take that into 3d.

SketchUp (Trimble) does not have a library of house designs. SketchUp does not come with building detail models or drawings.

You may find some resources… for example @Sonder sells detail models in SketchUp format that can be modified for your project.

There are add-on extensions paid and otherwise that help model buildings structures and components. For example, @Medeek offers extensions that help you model the house assemblies and includes a lot of functions based on building industry standards.

When I think of SU, I don’t consider it a home design software like Chief Architect or even like some of the low end “design” software or websites out there. It’s really a 3d modeling program that you could design anything with, and (as mentioned above) there are some third party resources that might help in making house models.

Thank you very much for your respond! It looks like you do you consider SketchUp as a full scale design application. However, I played with the free version and I love it. I am just starting and I may consider in the future to move to a more serious application and an easy transition will be a big plus. Are there any files formats which are considered an industry standard so I could open them in several applications and if possible that I would be able to port my work to a more advance application? For example, Open Office can open MSWord files; I am looking for something similar at SketchUp.
It also would be great if I could open another apps format library in SketchUp.

It sounds as if this is a hobby for you and as such you can probably do a lot with SketchUp Free. The 3D Warehouse has lots of entourage components that you can use. Enjoy playing with it.

Thank you Dave,
Does 3D warehouse have a complete two stories colonial house with 4 bedrooms in stock? I could not find it!

I would like to play with a completed project to learn the ropes.


You can do that, but I think the best way to start would be to start a model from scratch, and to go through free courses at and videos in the SketchUp YouTube channel.

Many of the Warehouse models are overly complicated and may be difficult for a newbie to make heads or tails of, and many, too, do not follow a good model organization scheme.


thank you Anssi,

I did start a model from scratch and I love Sketchup, This is what I got so far.

However, my goal is to draw a sketch based on this plan and pictures

Then I would like to make some changes to the floor plan. As you may see this is a bit more than basic so I would like to find the same level of house so I can take it apart and see how it works to learn and make mine.
I think you point that many do not follow a good model organization scheme. I wonder how to find the one which was designed with the best practices for Sketchup?

I’d caution you on copying plans that have a copyright like those you’ve posted.


Good point, never thought about it. What are the rules of floor plans copyrights? How much should I change in the geometry to consider it to be original?

In realty I like the concept of this plan but I would like to make substantial changes, so I think I will be OK.

Have a lawyer explain the rules.

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To be upfront and honest with you, what you’ve proposed here is the same as saying, “I’m going to take apart a car so I can know how to cast aluminum, process shatter-proof glass, and vulcanize tires.”

The finished product will give you no insight on the reasons and methods behind all the components within. Also, very few example models contain the level of detail you may be seeking in terms of framework, structural members, mechanicals, etc. Those of us who make such models are paid to do so (even wannabes like myself).

The plan you’ve posted is a complex house, and it will take considerable knowledge and skill to correctly modify. If you’re just wanting to daydream with this, then go for it. If you have ambitions of making real building plans, you’ll want to take several steps backwards and familiarize yourself with the methods involved first.

RLGL is correct. Copying a design has risks should anyone find out, with significant repercussions. A lot of time and money goes into creating a design.

Everything you said has a lot of sense. I guess I need to explain better what I am trying to do and I hope my efforts will make sense as well. I want to build a home and I am in talks to a modular company which can do it for me. I need to bring them a floor plan so their engineers will design the building.

I made a tour of many houses which will fit my style and budget and the one which I referred to here is the most desirable for my family. However, there are restrictions which the modular design dictates, so I need to fit the most complicated living space into 4 boxes 16x46 where all the bedrooms, bathrooms, wiring and pluming will be situated. I need to add that the house will be a hybrid so central area will be stick-built and consist of two story foyer and a family room.

To summarize: 1) I am not stealing the plan but use it as a starting point to design my house. 2) It is a challenge to make a nice combo of a two stories family room and a kitchen if I need to fit the kitchen into a box with restricted dimensions. Thus I want to make a model to play with to make the most functional design. With that in mind I do not need the lumber and pluming layout since the builder take care about it, I just need the proper space planning.

I hope it makes clear that I am shooting for a simplified virtual model to see the house before investing in ordering the final floor plan.

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I’m sorry, but this is the most ignorant thing you could say about designing a house. The framing, plumbing and mechanicals ABSOLUTELY matter. You can’t just say “make it look like this” and expect it to be so. This is what I meant in terms of the house design being complex. That central stair system is very tricky in terms of load bearing members, spacing, and myriad other things. You could easily find yourself asking them to build a house that literally cannot be made.

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@OldManPatterson1979 This is uncalled for.

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There are tens of thousands of house designs that are based on classics like Federal, Tudor, Craftsman, Georgian, and the list goes on. So if one of those inspires you go for it! Just don’t steal, make it your own.

This is a very good book.

One of many I own. But it is.

I don’t agree, perhaps a word or two stronger than delicate but I agree with the sentiment.

God said ‘and let there be bananas, let them be yellow and bent… the rest I don’t care about the plumber can resolve that’
And low there were bananas and they looked good. And Adam took up a banana, peeled it, bit into the tender yellow flesh and said, ‘wtf this thing tastes like sh…!’

Never expect the manufacturer to know what was in the designers mind.