Reading the Floorplan


1. Lines – Defining Flooring Types
There are many lines you will see on your plans; some serve more obvious purposes than others. Around the living room /great room you will see a medium dark line that comes off the stairs at a 45 degree angle, and then merges with a line parallel to the kitchen. On one side of this line you will see a note “C” (Carpet) and on the other side a “T” (Tile). This line will show where the Tile and the Carpet meet. We will also use this line, in conjunction with notes like “H.W.” (Hardwood), “Lam” (Laminate), “L” (Linoleum), in doorways and archways to define where the different flooring types meet.


2. Lines – “Hidden Lines”
Another line you may see on you plan is a very fine dotted line. These are “Hidden Lines.” We use these to define things that are hidden behind/below other objects that are shown in a darker line. These lines also may represent something that is above what we are showing on the plan; such as a dropped beam, or bulkhead. These would always be labeled. If you look at your fridge on your plan, you are likely to see a dotted line with an arrow pointing to it that notes “Bulkhead to top of Cabinets.” In this case there will be a dropped bulkhead above the cabinets to hide a dropped beam, or to provide space for mechanical runs.

3. More Lines
Beams are always represented on the plan by a line that shows a short dash followed by a long dash. And if the beam is dropped that will be flanked by two fine dotted lines that represent the edges of the drop beam. When the second floor line doesn’t line up with the walls below we will show that line as a uniform dashed line. It will always be accompanied by a note that reads “Ssecond Floor Line” or “Line of Second Floor.” When the second floor is Cantilevered (extends beyond the main floor walls), we will label it as “Cant’d 2nd Floor.” The other line you’ll see is a basic solid line. This is there to represent any other solid objects such as stairs, shelves, counters, and ledges.

4. Notes
There are many notes on our plans, and most of them are there for construction purposes. But a lot of them can be useful to the customer as well. Whenever we show something on our plans that isn’t immediately obvious what it is, it will be accompanied by a note. Sometimes it will be a short description of what is being done (as with the beams, bulkheads, posts, half walls, and railings), and in other cases it will simply be a note referring to a detail, and where that detail can be found.
For example: If the fireplace has been upgraded, there may not be room to show that on the plan. A note will be added that likely reads “See Fireplace Detail: Pg 6/11” stating that the detail can be found on Page 6.

Other items that will be noted on the plans are the joist size and direction, any roof trusses that are covering the main floor and their direction/orientation, or any other specific construction Item like tall wall locations, and attic hatch locations.


5. Details
All of our main floor plans will also contain details – mostly for fireplaces and kitchens. We use details mainly to give our trades an accurate representation of how that particular item will be constructed, and what it should look like when it is finished. A detail is particularly helpful when it is difficult to show something on the plan from a top view, and a side/front/profile view will give a much better representation. As well, the details give the customer an idea of what specific parts of their house will look like once completed.

The most common detail you’ll see on a Shane plan will be the fireplace details. These show the type of fire box included, the location and style of the mantel, how big the mantel will be, how high off the floor all the specific items need to be, and what type of finishing material will be used (stone, tile, marble, MDF, rough timber, etc). If the fireplace has any built-in shelves around it, those will also be specified for height, configuration, and material.

6.  Room Dimensions
Inside every room, just below the room label we will show the room dimensions to the nearest inch. Ledges, or niches, will be labeled for height from the floor, and if it’s required the opening height and width will also be noted. Beams, lintels, posts, second floor lines, bulkheads, and many other structural items will also be labeled.

7. Dimension
On our drawings we will use dimensions to locate many of the items we’ve talked about. Dimensions will be used to give locations of corners or ends to walls. They can be used to locate beams, posts, doors, windows, stairs, or any other structural objects. We will show them on the outside of the plan to indicate the overall dimensions of the house, or to indicate specific wall lengths for construction purposes. Dimensions are a key component of any drawing as they tell the trades exactly how big any particular item will be, or exactly where it will be located. They can also be useful for customers in determining the length of a wall for pictures, lighting, or furniture placement.

Well, that covers what you would commonly find on a Shane Homes Main Floor Plan. Thank you for reading. Please look forward to one of my colleagues who will be breaking down the Second Floor Plans in a future Shane Homes Blog.

From all of us in the Shane Homes Drafting & Design Department,
Kindest Regards.

Jason Hofer
Architectural Technologist

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