General tips and best practices for creating a full 3D model of our house

I’m pretty new to SketchUp, but have been watching training videos and messing around. I’m also an IT Engineer as a trade, so fairly technical.

I’d like to draw our entire house into SketchUp and a looking for advice of experts on how to best go about that - or if you have specific training videos that walk through various aspects of this kind of thing.

Things like: which order to do things is best? I’m almost thinking that after messing around a bit that it might be best to start with the measurements of the outside wall first - noting windows, doors and such. Then add the offsets for those outside walls. Then move onto the measurements of the inside walls, add offsets. Then do the push/pull thing up of the various walls and work on the vertical/3D aspects.

But as I know very little, I thought I’d ask here before I get too far along and create a complex web of errors that are difficult to adjust later.

Also, perhaps input on what and when to group during that process. I’m a little unclear if I get my measurements wrong, and I have a 3D box or series of rooms, how to most easily say - move this wall out 3", and move with it the attached wall, extending the length of a room, for example. I want to be able to make minor adjustments in that later ensuring walls stay straight, vertical and don’t get weird on me.

I know that’s a lot packed in there.

Thanks in advance though! This is fun stuff.

Sounds good. You can essentially draw 2d floor plan for the walls interior and exterior, however you draw it, and then push-pull the walls up. Add doors and windows after. Make elements into groups or components as soon as possible. Using an exterior outline and offsetting all of that in one go is a common approach.

You can use guide lines to help in the layout of the interior walls, except keep in mind that “offset” works only on two or more non-collinear edges on a plane so if you have an edge you want to offset, Move/ Duplicate would work. There are other tools. I like ThomThom’s edge tools that has a tool that allows you to offset a single edge on a surface.

There are, of course many house building plugins and powerful extensions like Profile Builder or Medeek Wall if you want to go that route. But what you describe is the basic "native’ approach.

With careful modeling (and at first you might make mistakes), you should be able to select walls and use the move tool, especially in a cardinal direction. or pushpull a surface to a new location.

Measuring and drawing an existing house is part art. You have to decide what you are going to draw from the measurements, just the finish surface or do you want to figure out where the studs line is. (You’ll usually want to record, at least the foundation edges if not the framing). I usually assign a standard wall width and fit that to a rectilinear plan, justifying between different measurements and trying to make the overall dimensions come out–allowing that there are inaccuracies in buildings and my measurements (so let fractions of an inch change if it helps make a clean plan). On remodels that I have to measure, I draw the finish and later clarify the stud lines where that level of detail is needed.


Have a look at this - helped me!

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Great tips both of you, many thanks.

One thing I would suggest is, don’t start working on your house, start by making a variety of different things before you start working on ‘Your Model’.

I’ve taught a variety of practical and technical courses to adults and time and time again I have tried to tell people not to make the thing they joined the class for as their first project. The ones that don’t listen always end up disappointed with the result or simply dropped out before completion.
Everyone wants to do ‘the project’ but the truth is you need to fail a few times to gain the experience necessary to complete your project well.
So model some things around you to actual measurements and model some random fantasy buildings, get a good grasp of the tools and solve some problems before you tackle the full job.