When you are designing a home for your needs, you need to remember that each page on the floor plans is a single story. For example, the basement may have a full plan, as well as the ground story. Then, every story after that gets its drawing. There are a few reasons that house plans take on this plan. The most obvious is that you can’t get more than one floor on a single sheet of paper.
However, this approach is also necessary because it allows for more detailed plans. So make sure to look through your plans to get an idea of what your house will look like when you are done. If necessary, stack them on top of each other – some plans are transparent to allow this step – to get an even better idea of what to expect from your home once it is fully built and ready to move into it.
Check the corners of the plans to get an idea of which floor is which in your home. Here, you should see a number or a description that lets you know the story of the house. The location of these will vary depending on the home builder. Some will put them in the top right corner – for easier scanning – while others place them on the bottom. So please pay attention to make sure that you find them as efficiently as possible.
Understand That Line Darkness Matters
Whether your plan is hand-drawn or computer-generated, you need to pay special attention to the thickness and the darkness of the lines. These lines represent different elements of your home, such as the walls, and will vary in shade and depth. This change in tone is not a mistake or something that should be ignored. Instead, it is crucial to understand their texture to grasp the design of your home better.
For example, the thickness of the wall lines on your floor plans represents how thick they will be when the home is finished. Exterior homes should have denser and darker lines, while interior ones will have thinner ones. Scan your plan to get an idea of where you can anticipate the denser walls and plan for this factor when building, as thicker walls will require more materials to finish them properly.
And, as always, make sure to talk to your building professional if you get confused. These experts can describe the location of your walls, why some might be thicker than others, and much more. These experts will also help you better understand the various symbols on the house plans. However, you can do a little studying yourself to better understand these items before you even look at the plans.
Know What the Symbols Mean
The toughest part of reading floor plans is knowing exactly what each symbol means on the page. Some are quite obvious and easy to understand. For example, the door signs are usually little arcs and other types of lines that make sense if you look at the page and examine where each is placed. However, other symbols can be quite denser and harder to understand without a little help.
For example, pocket doors – or those that slide into the wall – are shown as small rectangles that disappear partway into a wall. Windows are usually shown as breaks in the wall and are represented by thinner lines. Remember when we said that line thickness mattered? This is a classic instance of that fact.
Other elements, such as stairs being drawn as a rectangle with an arrow pointing their direction, are both easy to understand but potentially confusing. Thankfully, many plans do come with a key that makes reading them a lot easier to handle. Make sure to look through this key to get an idea of what to expect with your plan. And talk to your builders if you’re still confused about anything on the plan. They will point out anything that you don’t understand and make sure that you get the point. And they can give you other pointers that make this process easier to handle.
Read the Plans in the Right Order
Lastly, you need to know how to read your floor plans in the proper order. This step isn’t just about reading from the bottom to the top – though this step does help – but about reading them in the right direction. For example, reading from left to right helps because this is often the easiest way for most people to grasp complex information. And go from top to bottom to get a better feel.
Then, you need to make sure that you don’t just glance over the plans but use the key and help from your builders to truly understand the nature of the plan. This process includes attempting to visualize every area in the house, including where you plan on placing certain types of furniture. If this step seems a little too hard for you to do, you may want to consider 3D modeling of your plans.
This process creates accurate but straightforward visuals of your home that you can walk through to get an idea of what it will look like when you are done building. Many home builders will provide this type of service for a small fee or may even do it for free when preparing plans. Though these visualizations are not designed to work off of when building, they help to make it easier for homeowners to grasp what their home will look like when done.