What's your favorite way to create doors and windows?

Hi there,

I am very new to SketchUp and am finding trouble determining the best way to make doors and windows. I am used to Revit’s components that allow you to preset location, size, type, etc. Many videos I have seen for SketchUp indicate cutting wall openings and building the whole window/door but frankly, that seems to be quite time consuming. My model is attached with guides indicating the placement of 3 windows. These are just rough guidelines as I’m sure the measurements might be weird in relation to any components out there to use.
Malvern Studio Apartment 2.skp (140.4 KB)

for quick and dirty - i just cut the openings and use the Windows Tool and Door Tools to create the frame, jambs, doors, windows, mullions, etc etc. when i need precision or detailed drawing ready, i use my own components or manufacturer supplied components if specifying a commercial product.

I usually model doors and windows for each project based on the proposed (or likely) system, add trim and casing so that the overall style is reflected in door and window components so these can be duplicated around the building. Often they are not applicable to the next project having different units and finishes – so not a “universal” method. Sometimes mid-project I will be changing all the window styles. I try to design components so that these can be updated at once in the model where multiple units are repeated (Clearly this can often require checking each istance for realignment for dimensional changes etc.).

You might find this sort of approach time consuming if you compare to a parametric approach like Revit. For that you may wish to go toward something like Medeek Wall plugins. And there are other plugins, not so much BIM-like that do a lot for you like Flex Tools.

What and where is the ‘Windows Tool and Doors Tool’, you mention?

Even those of us who have years of experience with SU struggle to know what is the “best way”. But, as usual with such questions, it depends on what you are trying to do. If you just need to produce plans and elevations plus a few distant perspectives that are normally all you need in the early stages of a project, detail won’t matter much and you can just draw some very basic windows outlines, 2D even, and they will suffice. If you want something that can be sent to a joiner for manufacture, or something that will be photorealistically rendered, you have to do rather more. Horses for courses.

these are pretty old but i find them useful.
[Plugin] Window Tools 1.1 • sketchUcation • 1 [Plugin] Window Tools 1.1 • sketchUcation • 1
DoorTools (SU Plugin) - Ruby Library Depot DoorTools (SU Plugin) - Ruby Library Depot (archi.fr)

It’s important to master basic modeling technique first, without a solid foundation in SketchUp any task will be difficult /impossible. For example many of your guides lines in this file are not flush with the wall they are adjacent to, and some are actually not touching each other so there is no intersection to inference. Learning to pull guides from the edge of a surface and using inferencing to keep the whole model square and clean will make all future modeling, including windows and doors much easier.

2 Likes

If you can afford the plugin FlexTools works great to cut the opening and install a wide range of doors, windows, louvers and openings that are all dynamic,

Thanks for pointing that out, it looks like it’s just on one window in the nook area that is continually not intersecting the guides. The other 2 windows’ guides are intersected as I can successfully snap a rectangle. Any thoughts as to why the one window guides are not intersecting? When I went back in after viewing your comment, I noticed it was the horizontal guides that were off/above the face. I believe when I made the elevated floor for the nook, maybe some line thickness was added and the guides are snapping to the new geometry as opposed to the original wall geometry. So I changed the horizontal guide starting point from the top of the wall, which is now snapped to surface. Now when I make the vertical guides from the corners, the guides appear to be “in” the wall, not on as when I zoom in and orbit, the vertical guides become faded or disappear
Malvern Studio Apartment 2.skp (103.5 KB)

The problems you are experiencing in placing guides are a symptom of a bigger problem with this model in general. The walls are not square, or of a uniform thickness and there are many tiny errors and random measurements in this model. This is most likely a problem that started at the very beginning of your process when laying out the shape of the walls. If the initial plan view of the walls is crooked or imprecise from the start and corners are not 90˚ then the rest of the modeling process will suffer compound errors. Typing in absolute measurements as you go and paying close attention the inferencing engine cues (red, green, intersect, etc) on screen while laying out the wall is the way to start with a square model.

When extruding into 3D one must understand how and when to use the Push/pull tool and when to use the move tool, and to use careful selecting with the move tool to avoid inadvertently moving something connected and distorting the model. This is a common cause of the kind of warping we see here, moving something connects to other raw geometry. Understanding when and how to group and make components can help compartmentalize your model and mitigate that risk.

Take a look at the screen shot I included, look at the absolute positions of the 4 corners of this interior wall surface (relative to 0,0,0 which is the origin), they all have slightly different values indicating that this surface is not square with the drawings axis. Some of the dimensions have a tilde in front which indicates they are rounded or not precise at the current precision level, which in this case means less than 1/64th of an inch. That’s why a guide started at the bottom of the wall and preceding vertically is not touching the wall at the top, because the wall is not plumb.

With this particular model I would be inclined to start over. Go to Window>model info>units and turn up the display precision to 1/64th if you are using imperial units. This will help you to see errors as you model. This display precision setting does not affect the precision of your model, it just allows you to see smaller errors. You have enable length snapping off, which is good, keep it off.

You also have many of your guides on the outside of the group. You will need to open the wall group to be able to cut windows in the geometry, which will grey out your guides as they are included int eh “rest of the model” which is dimmed while editing. You can still sort of see them and you can still inference them but it might be easier to put the guides on the inside of the group.

This is all a lot of info I know, but the basic premise is that starting with proper technique is MUCH easier than fixing compound errors of sloppy modeling.

Here I start the process of fixing by erasing the walls vertical elements and top to get back to foundation, and then turning on line coloring by axis to see whats going on. Color by axis is NOT PERFECT and can allow for some error so be careful relying on it, but it’s a place to start looking for big errors. By holding the tape measure on a given edge I can read the length in the VCB at the bottom right. Then I use inferencing locking via the arrow keys to redraw a straight line, and have to move one outside edge to line up with the rest of the model. The errors are pretty pervasive and small, It can be fixed but I think I might just start over redrawing the base while entering dimensions by keyboard to be sure they are correct and whole numbers.

5

2 Likes

Thank you so much for your time and effort! It is greatly appreciated. I’m certain these challenges are inevitable when learning only from pre-recorded video instruction as opposed to live instruction. This part of my course had us import an image of a floorplan and trace over it which inevitably leads to inconsistencies, as I experienced many times drawing the walls before making this post. You seem to be quite experienced and comfortable with the program. Thanks again for your time.

If you take away one tip, it would be to employ the arrow keys to lock the line tool into one axis at a time as you initially lay out the walls of your model. This will save much future headache.

Nathan at Medeek Engineering has a Wall extension that has windows and doors that cut in automatically. I use it on almost all of my projects.

You may want to spend some time atThe learning Center andThe SketchUp You Tube Channel. Both are sponsored by the SketchUp Crew and well worth the time spent there.

Have a look at this.

“Many videos I have seen for SketchUp indicate cutting wall openings and building the whole window/door but frankly, that seems to be quite time consuming.”
You’ll have to cut the openings in no matter what, it seems like, eh? The window and door components are only time-consuming the first time – and then just re-use them an infinite number of times after that – can edit and re-save into similar [component] versions [different window sizes; door colors and sizes; etc.]. If the window or door is always a component [unexploded] that will be helpful.
For what I’m doing I don’t worry about handles or any other hardware or casing/trim. I’m just trying to show the client what the house will look like since they usually can’t interpret 2-D drawings.
Also not trying to do automatic insertions, “smart walls” or anything like that.
Works for some people; more trouble than it’s worth IMHO.

You could use my paid for extension WinDoor+. I’m an architect and I use it for all my projects. It cuts openings. You can make any kind of window or door with minimal ‘hand’ improvements. See this video Add Arched Windows - YouTube to see some of its power. The video has subtitles. You can buy the extension from the SketchUp Extension Warehouse for $60 plus tax. Search the EW for WinDoor+

I cut the RO where I want it and use the Marvin Elevate Dynamic Window components. We usually spec Marvins for our jobs anyway, but the components are useful for a go-to general window component during the design phase. I created dynamic CAD blocks from Marvin’s detail drawings, as well, for any AutoCAD work that I end up doing so that I have a matching set.

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that Flextools changed my life…well, my SketchUp life at least! Cuts both sides of a wall, and can endlessly be moved around and customized. And the staff at Flextools are very responsive and helpful with questions. There’s a learning curve, but when you need the kind of features it offers, it’s unsurpassed! https://flextools.cc/

4 Likes

Thank you so much for sharing, I think this is exactly what I was looking for.