Step-by-Step for the Elevations on a Floor Plan


Floor plans are views of the room or house from above, and elevations add the vertical dimension of the plan. It's necessary to know the heights of the objects to draw the elevation, and it's helpful to add details such as window and door styles. Different views of the building project should explain how elements relate to each other, without duplicating information. Floor plans and elevations help the contractor understand the intent and estimate the work, reducing problems during construction caused by lack of communication.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor plan
  • Square table or drawing board
  • Masking tape
  • Mylar, vellum or bond paper, 11 by 17 inches, or larger
  • T-square
  • Triangle
  • Architect's scale
  • Pencils, 4-H, 2-H and H, lead or semiautomatic type
  • Photocopier or printing service
  • Tape the floor plan to the table or drawing board, with the wall to be drawn in elevation parallel to the edge. Fasten a blank sheet of paper below it.

  • Place the T-square across the surface, holding its head firmly against the edge of the table or board. Draw a horizontal line -- the ground plane line -- across the blank sheet of paper, to represent the floor.

  • Support the triangle against the T-square. Keep the T-square parallel with the floor plan line. Line the triangle up with the corner of the floor plan, which represents where one wall meets another. Use a pencil to tick a corresponding intersection line along the ground plane for the wall, windows and doors, columns and posts, and other building objects drawn in plan view. Stop at the wall on the other side.

  • Line the triangle up with the first tick mark. Using the edge of the triangle, draw a light line perpendicular -- at a right angle -- to the ground plane line. Repeat for each element that's ticked off.

  • Take the architect's scale, and using the same scale as the floor plan, tick each perpendicular line for the height of the wall, windows, doors and other objects. Remember to scale the vertical distance that objects such as windows are raised from the floor -- if the window is raised 4 feet from the floor, scale 4 feet from the ground plane, for the location of the window sill.

  • Move the T-square up the sheet of paper to each tick representing the height, and extend parallel lines to intersect with the lines perpendicular to the floor. Take a dark pencil and draw firm lines for each object, darkening the light reference lines between intersections. Draw a line between the top of both walls for the overhead plane, or ceiling, including any height variations.

  • Use the light pencil to extend light lines from each object for dimensions. Use the square to extend lines perpendicular to the floor and below the ground plane for the width dimension of each object. Use the T-square to extend lines parallel to the floor and to the left of the wall.

  • Leave a gap between the ground plane line and the vertical wall and the dimension lines. Draw a line perpendicular to each dimension reference line, and print the dimension on top of the line.

  • Add detail to the elevation for clarity as desired, such as to explain door and window style, and hardware to indicate which way doors and windows open. Keep detail to a minimum.

  • Print notes about the elevation to the right-hand side. Add a label to the elevation directly underneath, identifying the elevation by its location on the property, such as North Elevation, or West Elevation. Leave a gap between the drawing and the label. Note the scale under the drawing label.

  • Add the title block for the elevation at the bottom right. Print the drawing title, your name and phone number, and the date. Place general notes above the title block.

  • Repeat the process for each wall elevation. Print the drawings or take them to a printing service. Keep the original in a safe place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sketch the drawing out first for practice, and transfer it to Mylar or vellum paper, so that changes can be made and mistakes remedied. Mylar and vellum are transparent, allowing sketch paper to be seen beneath.
  • Where parts of the construction need more detail, use section or detail drawings, drawn to a larger scale than the elevation and floor plan.
  • Avoid duplicating information, and keep the notes clear.

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