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Home plan: Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

[ecis2016.org] Here is an explainer on how to read complicated house floor plans

To read and understand home plans or floor plans, could be a difficult task for the average home buyer. However, it is necessary to read and understand house plans, which are also referred as floor plans, to visualise how one’s dream home will look.

You are reading: Home plan: Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

House plans: What are floor plans?

House plans or floor plans act as a blueprint for the construction of a house on paper. House plans are also an expression of intent from the architect to the non-professional (as far as reading house plan is concerned) property owner. In other words, floor plans or house plans are prepared by professionals to explain house designs to non-professionals or home buyers.

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A house plan typically will have:

Cover sheet: Showing the house’s finished exterior

Foundation plan: Showing the house’s footprint

Floor plans: Showing rooms, walls, doors, windows, etc.

Interior elevations: Showing vertical wall plans, including plans for built-in cupboards, bookshelves, etc.

Exterior elevations: Showing the view of each of your house’s four sides

Roof plan: Showing an outline of your roof

Wall details: Showing insulation details and name of the materials used in flooring and roofing 

How to read a floor plan/house plan?

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There are some basic rules to read a floor plan. First, you need to look at your house plan as if you are looking down on a doll house with no roof.

Your house plan or floor plan usually showcases structural elements such as walls, doors, windows, and stairs. It also shows mechanical elements of the structure like plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), and electrical systems. 

Symbols in a floor plan/house plan

Home plan Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

Let us find out what various cryptic symbols in your house plan represent:

Walls

Home plan Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

In your house plan, walls are represented by parallel lines. They may be solid or filled with a pattern.

Openings

The breaks in walls represent doors, windows, and other openings between rooms in your house plan.

Doors

Home plan Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

In your floor plan, the thin rectangles represent doors while the arc showcases the direction where doors would swing. Doors may look different on the floor plan depending on their forms and types. For example, pocket door floor plans are drawn as thin rectangles that disappear into walls, while sliding doors are drawn partially open alongside the wall. Double doors look like the letter ‘M’, with two curved lines meeting at the centre.

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Windows

Home plan Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

In your house plan, windows are breaks in walls that are crossed by thin lines. This is primarily indicative of the window frame. A line or an arc would show the direction in which the window would open. 

Stairs

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Home plan Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

In your floor plan, stairs are drawn as a series of rectangles. Stairs, bisected by a line with an arrow at one end in a floor plan, indicate the ascending stairs while landings are shown as larger rectangles or squares. 

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Appliances and plumbing

Home plan Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

House plans use stylised symbols, representing the outlines of elements they represent. Therefore, you would find symbols for appliances like refrigerator, stove, washing-machine, bathtubs, sinks, showers, toilets, drains, etc.

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning

Home plan Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

A house plan will typically come with a separate drawing representing elements of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. 

Home plan: Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

Electrical symbols

Home plan: Know how to read a floor plan or house plan drawing

House plans also include electrical symbols. These would be accompanied by subscript, explaining the exact usage of electronic symbols. Such drawings would show wall jacks, switch outlets, ceiling fans, lights, etc.  

Abbreviations used in house plan/floor plan

Besides symbols, floor plans also use the following abbreviations. Note: The list is indicative and not exhaustive.

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Floor plan abbreviations

  • AC: Air-conditioner
  • B: Basin
  • BC: Bookcase
  • BV: Butterfly valve
  • CAB: Cabinet
  • CBD: Cupboard
  • CF: Concrete floor
  • CL: Closet
  • CLG: Ceiling
  • COL: Column
  • CW: Cavity wall
  • CT: Ceramic tile
  • D: Door
  • DW: Dishwasher
  • EF: Exhaust fan
  • FD: Floor drain
  • HTR: Heater
  • KIT: Kitchen
  • LTG: Lighting
  • MSB: Master switch board
  • O or OV: Oven
  • REFRIG or REF: Refrigerator
  • SD: Sewer drain
  • SHR: Shower
  • WC: Toilet
  • VENT: Ventilator
  • VP: Vent pipe
  • WD: Window
  • WH: Water heater
  • WR: Wardrobe

FAQs

Are floor plans different from house plans?

A house plan refers to all the drawings of a building, while a floor plan is the map of an individual floor in the building. Floor plans are part of a larger house plan.

Do you need an expert’s help in reading a floor plan?

There is usually some standardisation in all house plans, however, there can be variations in how symbols of a particular house plan look and what they represent. Therefore, it would be ideal to consult an expert.

Source: https://ecis2016.org/.
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Source: https://ecis2016.org
Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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