Architectural Graphics 101: Finish Schedules

Architectural Graphics 101: Finish Schedules

I’m thinking that I don’t need to explain what a Finish Schedule is or why it exists – but if I’m wrong about that just let me know in the comment section and I will explain it. If you spend some time looking at the drawing below, I think you’ll probably figure it out even if you have never heard of a finish schedule before today.

Architectural Graphics 101: Finish Schedules


Architectural Graphics 101: Finish Schedules – click to enlarge
The image above is a finished schedule template that I set up a long time ago – at least 22+ years ago. I was working at an office where I was the only architect on staff and everyone else was an interior designer – I was there just over a year and while this time provided valuable insight and terrific experience to my knowledge base.

As a result, I didn’t see a long-term future there since I was basically viewed as “technical support”, a position that didn’t sit well with me at that time in my development.



Once we can to an agreement on our abbreviations, we had to tackle how materials were broken up in the schedule. In my last office, their pattern was to identify materials by where they were placed (floor, wall, ceiling, etc.) rather than by what they were (ceramic, wood, paint, etc.).

The probably with creating a legend around where items are placed is that have the same material specified more than once. You could have a Floor Tile (FT) and a Wall Tile (WT), and you could even have a Ceiling Tile (CT) … and they could ALL BE THE SAME TILE!!

That’s bananas.

It is just “tile” and there should only be a single material specification for this product regardless of where to put it. If it’s a different size, or if  using matte on the floor and polished on the wall, that is a different specification.

I should also point out that in the schedule I am showing, the abbreviation I am showing in the “Tile” category should just be T-1, T-2, etc. so that  could put ceramic or porcelain tile specifications in this area even though it shouldn’t matter because that’s how legends work.
Architectural Graphics 101: Finish Schedules - colored by groupArchitectural Graphics 101: Finish Schedules – colored by group [click to enlarge]
I am going to break down this finish schedule sheet but I have a feeling it is pretty self-explanatory. I should also point out that I went back in and erased some information – those aren’t gaps in my documentation. I don’t think that a) people want their phone numbers out on the internet, and b) the address and numbers are probably wrong since this information is so old.

The two main things I want to point out is the Materials Description column and the area which contains the Vendor List, although I have something up my sleeve that I will throw out there at the end. Let’s take them in order:

Architectural Graphics 101: Finish Schedule Materials Legend

Materials + Vendor Information

In this project, these were all the categories we needed to cover but it is possible to come up with others. For each product, we had an abbreviation associated with the material category (PT for Paint) and then a numerical extension for each product (1, 2, etc.) and this is how we identify which product (or combination of products) go where.

Moving on to the Vendor’s column, it is just what  would imagine. It is the listing of all the vendors, the representative who was helping us, and all their contact information.

For all the architects who are reading this, I will readily concede that our interiors finish schedule is a bit more intense than a typical architectural finish schedule (maybe) but columns that we would add (typically in lieu of a “Wainscot” column) are a cabinet type (to identify painted, plastic laminate, and stain grade) and countertop column.

Architectural Graphics 101 Finish Schedule enlarged

The main thing I want to point out was that we frequently used multiple legend designations in our schedule. See in the image above that it happens in several locations but I have gone ahead and highlighted the base finish along the North elevation. See that the finish is both WD7 as well as WF5. Seems pretty logical that would know to use WD7 (Stained Hardwood Quartersawn Oak) as well as WF5 (Medium Light Oak – Match Designer’s Sample).


Finish schedules should exist in some capacity in every set of architectural drawings – and how to present that information matters. Obviously, the goal is to make it easy to find and easier still to understand. It’ll take some time to find which information you need to accurately represent and it is possible that you might have to modify this format between projects – although I highly doubt it.

Content retrieved from:

Life of Architect

Grand desain

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