House Plans | Floor Plans | Blue Prints
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Reading to Understand House Blueprints
Blueprints are the footprints of your home. They generally consist of four to five pages or more and are quite easy to understand after learning some basic information about them.
Ask your home designer to lend you a set of home blueprints in the 1000 to 1500 sq. ft range. Study them to get familiar with blueprint reading. Even better, inquire if there is an extra set available for you to keep or arrange to get a set made up. This way you can write notes and mark them up with color markers as desired.
Once you understand the blueprints for a smaller home, it will be easier to comprehend more complex plans. Thus, the information in step 5 has been written from a beginner's point of view.
To begin, avoid trying to understand everything on the entire page at one time. Then use this same approach for each page. Examine each page item until you are able to understand what it means.
House Plan Elevations -These are normally page one of the blueprints. The elevationis shows the exterior elevations, displaying at least the four sides of the home. Complex plans may have more detailed drawings and additional pages. Remember, you're studying basic house blueprints. While using the following steps, spend at least a few minutes to review each step several times before going on to the next. As beginners, you may want to set the blueprints aside to return later.
As you review the elevations begin with the aesthetics or "curb appeal." How does the overall home appearance look to you? Study the roof pitch. Is it to steep? To flat? Just right? Are the windows positioned to be in balance with the lines of the home? Is the exterior siding product consistent with the home style? Are things too high, too low, to much to one side or just right. Would it look better with or with out shutters, etc. Apply your imagination, but keep in mind to study one thing until you understand it before moving on to the next.
Floor Plans - There are many aids to assist you with the reading and understanding of house plans, but before getting into those, start with understanding just the house floor plan layout. Color in the thin lines of the walls, one color for interior and another for the exterior walls. Then study the traffic flow, location of the bathroom(s), windows, stairs, fireplace, doors, the swing of the doors, laundry room, etc. If these features are not where you think they should be mark on the prints where you think these should be, keeping in mind the positioning of the furniture.
Next, study each individual room beginning with the Bedroom. Put the furniture in place to see if it interferes with the windows and doors. Is the size of closet adequate? Bathroom: Is there adequate storage space and shelving, consider the size of the mirror(s). Are two sinks possible? etc. Family room: Arrange the furniture and locate fireplace, window and door location. Living room: Use same approach as the family room. Kitchen: Is there adequate mobility space? How is the traffic pattern for those assisting or just passing through? What about the placement of the appliances? Is there adequate counter space and cabinet storage space? What about the placement of food items, dishes, pots and pans, etc.
Foundation. or Basement - These are normally page three of the blueprints. Color in the exterior walls and use a different color for the interior walls (if any). What are the plans for this area today, what about the future? If you're having thoughts of finishing the basement, give some thought to how you would lay it out and then pencil this in. If plans include a future bathroom, consider putting in the "rough-in plumbing" now. Place the laundry appliances at a convenient location. Can part of the basement be exposed for a patio door? Do you want a code approved emergency exit? Stretch the imagination!
Detail Drawings - Page four of the blueprints are normally the details. Here you'll see detailed drawing of all the house cabinets, counters, specific additions and/or requested drawing, etc.
Cross Section - The cross sections are normally foundon page five of the blueprints. Cross sections are a side cut away of the home, detailing height dimensions, materials, build specifications, etc.
House Blueprint Symbols -At the beginning of this page we mentioned "symbols" found on the home blueprints to identify various items. Examples are electrical boxes for light fixtures, outlets, switches, sinks, skylights, furnace, hose bibs, patio doors, roof pitch and many other symbols. Until you are able to recognize and understand these symbols you should you venture into the mechanicals on the house blueprints. These primarily consist of the electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning.
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This concludes this brief primer on how to read blue prints. If you are interested in a free copy of a 3200 sq. ft., french colonial style house plan you might want to check out this site. They offer you a free copy-- yes free - assuming you are willing to give them five minutes of your time. By the way, if you had to BUY the house plan on this site it would cost you around $650.
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