Learn How to Read Floor Plans Guide

A floor plan is a scaled down image representing the layout for the walls in a building. It also has the placements for the windows and doors. Sometime other information is included like dotted lines for an aerial view of a roof system. We will keep our attention focused on the walls and their openings.

Understanding the Parts of a Floor Plan

The walls are represented by double lines with their intersecting points remaining clean. Doors are represented by an arc segment and a ray revealing the swing of the door. Windows are shown by various little figures directly in their position in the wall. Most walls are built from 2 x 4’s. The double line’s width will directly reflect the size of the wall. Common sizes include 5 1/2″ for 2 x 6 construction and 8″ for a concrete foundation stem wall.

The dimensions are lines with leaders on each end and measurements close to their centers. It is important to note which side of the wall the leader is pointing to. It is not uncommon for almost all of the dimensions to be “inside to inside”. When this is the case the leaders indicate the side of the respective walls that are closest to each other. This is the minimum measurement between two walls.

Overall outside dimensions that are on the opposite sides of the two walls and are the maximum perpendicular measurement between two walls are known as “outside to outside” measurements.

These dimensions can also be formatted like “outside to inside”, “inside to outside”, or “outside to center”. Call them as you would actually measure them. In other words, if you say “4′ outside to center”, then you would hook the outside and mark 4′ to the center of a wall on the sub-floor. Understanding this is a good start on your journey to learn how to read floor plans!

Diagram of a Floor Plan for LearningThanks to readers like you, we can fund this project.