- 2006-03-21 : Added warning concerning invisible walls and multiple selctions, see tricks at the end of this page.
- 2006-03-18 : Added tip on how to create a new wall object.
Although simple to use walls can be very complex and I am still learning about them. This section is a very rough draft of my research so far
FloorPlan: Version 10
Walls are very complex and can be a tad confusing. In the simplest form a wall is a simple 3D rectangle. Walls have width, height and length sizes. The confusing component of walls is that their behavior changes based on how they are used in the plan. Depending on what is connected to or surrounding a wall they can be:
- Room perimeter, applies to wall faces
- Auto sized to fill in “between floor” gaps
- Have optional baseboards, wainscots and chair rails
A wall, like any 3D rectangle, has 6 sides. When a wall is created it has two faces, the wall length, two ends and a top and bottom. Materials can reliable be set only on the side faces. In most cases the Interior material setting is used for wall tops, bottoms and ends but on occasion FloorPlan will apply the external material to these faces or even show these as voids (a gray color). See Tricks and Problems below for texture issues with wall ends.
A single wall may consist of multiple segments that FloorPlan attaches together. A wall will split into two when it is intersected by another wall. Each segment has its own properties including height, base level, materials, etc. In this document the term wall and wall segment are synonymous
TRICK : To create a partition wall that is 4” wide use a 1” or 2” wall to draw a small room that totals 4” in width. This guarantees that only faces are visible.
TRICK : Walls cannot be triangles but this look can be simulated by using the roof tool. See Roof Rules (aka The Way of the Roof).
Interior or Exterior?
FloorPlan dynamically determines the type of face each wall has and updates these as walls are added, deleted or modified. All walls faces are considered external unless one or more of the following is true.
- Does the wall face form the perimeter of a room?
- YES: The face is internal and is considered a room perimeter face
- Does the wall face reside inside a room?
- YES: The face is internal
It is very common for one wall face to be an interior type (faces into a room) and the other face an exterior type (faces outward). An interior wall face may also be considered a room perimeter face (and qualify for additional settings such as baseboard), see Walls and Rooms below.
Walls and Rooms
A room is any area enclosed by three or more walls. Rooms have a ceiling and a floor. Rooms may be contained within other rooms (nested).
Some rules for rooms.
- Rooms are automatically created and initially named by FloorPlan as soon as an area is enclosed.
- To enclose an area the walls must merge. See below for some rules on wall merging.
- Only walls on the same location count towards a room.
- FloorPlan will mark out the perimeter of a room in red on the Plan view.
- The height and elevation of the walls have no impact on the creation of a room.
- Invisible walls count towards making a room. This allows false rooms to be created to allow finer control over floor and ceilings material settings.
- Rooms have a ceiling and floor automatically assigned. The floor is at the location Floor Level and the ceiling is at the location Wall Height.
- The square footage of a room is based on the red outline of the room.
- If a room fully contains another room then the inner room’s footage is not subtracted from the outer rooms footage.
- Such nested rooms will be highlighted in green when a containing room is selected.
- Room attributes can be edited in different ways:
- In plan view : click on any part of the room and the room area will be outlined in red. Then right click and select properties.
- The room name can be changed
- Ceilings and floors can be edited, or recreated, but cannot be deleted (an annoying limitation)
- All walls associated with this room can be edited. The materials selected here will be applied to all of the Interior related faces for the room.
- In 3D view :
- Click on the upper part of the room and the ceiling can be edited or deleted
- In plan view : click on any part of the room and the room area will be outlined in red. Then right click and select properties.
- Click on the lower part of the room and the floor can be edited or deleted
- In Drawing Info tab expand the attributes of a room. The floor and ceiling can be deleted or edited (right click). The entire room can be edited, with the same options available as in plan view, by right clicking on the room name.
- The only way to delete a ceiling or floor is to use 3D view or Drawing Info tab.
- The only way to recreate a floor or ceiling is to use the Drawing Info tab or the plan view.
- A room can be renamed via the Drawing Info tab or the plan view
- The room name and room area size can be disabled via Drawing Info or right clicking on a selected room.
- All room names and area size can be disabled for the current project via the menu: Tools / Options / Object Settings / Room options
- WARNING When a wall is associated with a room a hole is cut out above and below every wall (except invisible walls). This causes rendering issues when short walls (lower than the location ceiling or higher than the floor) are created.
- A room with one short wall. Note the ceiling cut out above the short wall. This also shows (photo rendered) how the taller walls are cut into by the shorter wall their entire height. This is easily fixed by sliding short wall back an forth. Click on the image to zoom.
- I find it works better to place short walls on their own location and set their materials to simulate the desired look. I then use invisible walls to form a room if I need to modify that area’s floor, ceiling or a square foot calculation is needed. I know of no way to remove the cut-out ceiling besides covering it up with another object.
Room Perimeter Faces
Any wall face that is part of a room is considered a Room Perimeter Face. All perimeter faces are by definition also interior faces. But a wall face can be internal yet not part of a room perimeter All perimeter faces for a room can be seen by selecting the room and noting the red selector. Every face the red selector is adjacent to is a perimeter face. Note that a wall face can be internal but not be part of a perimeter. This is true for rooms fully contained in other rooms.
Baseboards only appear on wall faces (actually wall segments) if the following are all true. Remember that a single wall may have multiple segments (see above). For purposes of determining baseboards every wall segment is independent.
- The following attributes are not zero (0)
- Baseboard Height
- Baseboard Width
- The wall segment face is part of the inner perimeter of a room. This can be seen when the room is selected the red selector highlights the inner perimeter.
The most confusing part of these rules is the last ones. If one room is contained within another () the outside faces of the inner room will not have baseboards (). Although the inside of the inner room will. The trick is to examine the walls and see which room or rooms it is defining. The red selector that appears when a room is selected will let you know this. The face (or faces) that are inside this room may have baseboards. A wall can be shared between two rooms and in that case both faces of the wall can have baseboards.
TRICK : External wall faces do not have baseboards, wainscots or chair rail materials. making an external face an internal face allows these options. To make an external face an internal face add invisible walls so the face is inside a room. Change the interior materials properties to simulate the exterior desired. Remember that enclosing a wall face with invisible walls will only trigger the interior face, wainscot and chair rail. To get baseboards the face must reside within a room defined by the associated wall.
Each wall face is considered either interior or exterior by FloorPlan. When the entire wall is selected, such as on the plan view, all the materials applicable for to either of the two faces are available.
- If both faces of the wall are external then only external properties are displayed
- If both faces of a the wall are internal then only internal properties are displayed
- If one face is internal and one external then both the internal and external properties are displayed
- See Tricks and Problems below for issues with wall ends.
Wall materials can be edited in a number of ways:
|Mode||Width||Individual Faces||Combined Faces|
If a both faces of a wall are the same (internal or external) then editing the individual face is harder. The only view this is possible in is the 3D view. In 3D view each face can be individually selected and edited even if they are the same type allowing for a wall with two external faces to have different materials for each side. In 3D view a single face is selected when only a 2D red outline appears, the whole wall is selected if the red selection is is 3D. With the face selected, right clicking on the selected area will present only the material choices for that face. This is the only way to make one side of a wall different from the other when both sides are the considered the same type (exterior or interior).
Wall properties. Only properties applicable to the at least one of the selected faces of a wall will be available during editing. All properties are available during object creation. The following Applies to definitions are used:
- All Faces : The property is applied to all faces of the wall regardless of which faces are selected.
- Interior Face(s) : The property only exists if at least one of the wall faces selected is considered an internal wall
- Room perimeter face(s) | The property exists only if at least one of the wall faces is considered part of a room perimeter This also implies the wall face is considered internal.
|^||Include in Quantity||All Faces||X||X|
|^||Trim||Interior Face(s)||X||X||The material that appears as trim surrounding all windows, doors, etc. for this wall face. Note that the dimensions of this cannot be changed|
|^||Wainscot||Interior Face(s)||X||X||Fixed at 50% of wall height. See below for some tricks to change this|
|^||Chair rail||Interior Face(s)||X||X||Fixed at 50% of wall height. See below for some tricks to change this|
|^||Baseboard||Room Peri miter face(s)||X||X||See description of room for details on room perimeters|
|^||Wall Width||All faces||X||-|
|^||Wall Height||All faces||X||X|
|^||Base Level||All faces||X||X|
|^||Baseboard Height||Room perimeter face(s)||X||X|
|^||Baseboard Width||Room perimeter face(s)X||X|
|^||Chair rail||Internal face(s)||X||X|
Creating a new Wall Object
Wall width (thickness) can only be set when a wall object is being created. Creating a new wall object in FloorPlan is very easy:
- Select the wall icon () from the tool bar
- Right click on a wall from the Object Insertion Tree () and choose Edit New as Copy
- The wall properties dialog will appear ()
- Click OK
- The new wall object will appear in the list and can be selected and drawn like any other wall.
Intersecting and merging walls
Walls will connect to and merge with other walls encountered on the same location. It is important to understand how walls merge with each other.
Walls cutting into walls
The green lines in the images below indicate how one wall cuts into another. Normally this cut is invisible. If one wall is a different height or starts at a different elevation than the other then the cut will be visible in the longer wall. Depending on the wall the cut may be a void (often the interior material) or a hole.
Wall intersection rules
Some rules governing how walls connect with each other.
- If the end of one a wall touches then the walls will usually be connected. On the plan view this is visually indicated by the appearance of a red dot showing the connection point of the wall.
- Sometimes FloorPlan will refuse to connect walls end-to-end that are dissimulator widths such as normal walls and invisible walls. Often dragging the wall over the top of the other will work, but sometimes you will have to form the wall elsewhere or create a fake room with invisible walls to simulate the effect desired. In general I do not recommend butting wall ends together, even for the same wall types. Instead drag the wall end to the appropriate length. Walls can butt to corners but be careful to get the alignment correct (see tips and tricks below).
- Note Sometimes a wall appears to connect to another but does not. Getting walls to connect at the ends can be frustrating and should generally be avoided.
- The connected walls have their ends adjusted to split the difference between the angle. For a 90 degree wall (normal room) the wall ends will each be cut to 45 degrees.
- When a wall connects to another at a point other than the end wall the target wall is broken into two walls at the connection point.
- NOTE The angle of the end is not normally a concern unless the walls are of different heights. In that case a void (non textured area) will appear in the longer wall. The way to fix that is to slide the shorter a bit then return it to its original location. This will cause FloorPlan to notice the wall height difference and change the intersecting point to butt-ends removing the void.
- When a wall intersects another the target wall is broken at the intersection point creating two segments.
- Each segment has its own material, height, etc. settings.
- FloorPlan outlines the currently selected wall segment in red and all other associated segments in blue. Clicking on each segment will add it to the selection (a plain click works, the shift key is not needed).
- FloorPlan usually merges segmented walls back together if the intersecting walls are removed
- Segments of different heights are never merged
- Segments with different material settings, but the same height may be merged when the intersecting wall is removed. There are bugs in FloorPlan that sometimes allow the segments to be separated but they are still being considered one. If the walls do merge then the material settings for the segments become the same. It is difficult to determine which segment’s material settings will be used for the newly merged wall so be prepared to edit the wall materials.
- Sometimes FloorPlan will refuse to merge segments no mater what is done. The only way to correct this, if needed, is to delete all but one segment then stretch the wall to fit.
- Walls of different widths do not reliable connect end-to-end except at the wall centers. On occasion FloorPlan will allow a wall to butt-to along the faces but I find this to be unreliable and when walls are moved they may disconnect, or jump to centers.
- This is especially problematic with invisible walls.
- WARNING Sometimes walls will not connect initially and a room will not form. Usually sliding the wall back and forth will cause FloorPlan to connect them. Zooming in at the connection point is also useful to verify the walls actually intersect.
After walls are connected see if they move freely. Walls can only move perpendicular to their length. A vertical wall can only be moved left and right. Walls can only be resized along their lengths. If a wall cannot move freely it may be because of:
- There is another wall segment blocking the wall from moving. This is common and can be hard to see. Zoom in to see the wall segment, click on the edge and you will see the rogue segment ().
- There is an object block the wall such as a door, cabinet, etc.
- Walls cannot move past the ends of their intersecting walls.
- Walls sometimes cannot be moved adjacent to other walls. This can be reduced by setting the snap grid to a small amount but that often does not resolve the issue. I suspect this is a FloorPlan precision issue, see .
Invisible Walls – Problems with
Invisible walls are very useful for creating separate floor and ceiling areas. They can also be used to create special floating roofs. Unfortunately they have a couple of very annoying problems:
- Invisible walls have caused stability problems for many users with the result being an occasional crash. Whenever working with invisible walls be sure to save your work more often than you otherwise might.
- Getting invisible walls to merge end-to-end (butt-to) is very difficult. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. I strongly recommend that invisible walls be stretched instead of joined. This may require deleting other invisible wall segments so a single wall can be created.
- Often,there does not appear to be an indicating (a red dot under the cursor) letting you know when a wall will intersect with another versus crossing through it when walls are different widths.
Sometimes the solution is to create a normal wall on a different location and then disable the display of walls for that location via the Display Filter tab. The problem with this is that the floor/ceiling will have holes in them where the wall would normally appear.
Tricks and Problems
- A room can be selected in Plan view and all of the faces for that room can be chaged via the Walls button.
- WARNING : Their is an option to apply the current formatting to specific rooms or even to all rooms on a floor. Be very careful using this! Invisible walls will receive the new material settings even though invisible walls do not have any material settings.
- I suspect invisble walls have materials but FloorPlan hides them when presenting the dialog box. But applies them when working with multiple selections.
- Hiding individual walls, ceilings or other elements for screen grabs or print to PDF
- Use the Photo Advanced tab of the materials dialog and set the LiW Name to invisible
- Using glass type may also work but there may be too many reflections and other side-effects of glass to provide the look desired.
- If all walls, ceilings, floors, etc. of a location need to be hidden use the Display Filter tab to uncheck the desired category of items for the current location.
- Multiple elements can be selected by holding the Shift key while clicking on the elements. This can make altering a number of object properties easier. There are some limitations to this:
- The objects must be very similar or else the properties option will not be available when the right click is used.
- If objects do not have an identical property FloorPlan displays Varies. This property can be still be edited and it will apply to all selected properties.
- All faces that make up the perimeter of a room can be quickly changed by editing the room and selected the Walls button. Remember that Size settings are applied to the entire wall regardless of which face is selected.
- Getting walls to join, especially end-to-end (AKA butt-to) is often difficult. Sometimes it is easier to overlap the ends, let FloorPlan join them, and finally delete any excess.
- Another strategy is to extend and intercept walls then zoom in and delete the unnecessary end segments. This technique is also useful for normal walls. The following show an example of this technique using 4” walls, which are easier to see than the dashed invisible wall line.
|The initial 3 walls of a room. Note that there is no need to get the wall lengths the same|
|The 4th wall was drawn so it intersected the other two instead of trying to get it to align on the ends. A red dot will appear where walls will be joined.|
|Zoom into each intersection point and delete the left over segments. This image shows two wall segments selected (red areas) via shift click and ready to be deleted.|
|[l2.overlay:#wall-anomaly||Notice the wall that does not quite align with the other. Although FloorPlan thinks they are the same wall they are not. Neither wall segment can be moved in this case. The only fix is to delete the misaligned wall (highlighted in red). This is a great example of why it is better to extend a wall by dragging the blue end|
|Walls, rooms, floors, ceilings||The blue dots indicate drag points for a wall. In most cases only the drag point at a free end of a wall can be moved. The cursor will change to a round targeting reticle when over a drag point.|
|Make sure each wall moves freely. If it does not then there is a left over segment. In this case the left wall does not move left because of a small segment left in the lower left (in red) than can only be seen by zooming. This segment was created by butting a wall to a corner of a room. This is allowed just be sure to get the alignment exactly on. FloorPlan does not treat this case as a single wall that was bisected by another, instead it is two segments. That prevents the left wall from moving to the edge. Delete the left over wall segment and all works as expected.|
- Drawing walls longer than needed then intercepting them with another wall is often more reliable than extending the end of one wall to join another. This is especially true when working with invisible wall. Remember to zoom into the corners and deleted those left over ends otherwise roofs, floors and ceiling elements may look strange.
- The ends, top and bottom textures have some peculiar issues. Collectively I am referring to these as wall ends.
- Initially set to the interior materials. There is no separate setting for these sides.
- If the wall faces are both external there is no way to change the ends textures.
- If the wall faces are internal it is possible to change the ends by changing the interior material.
- If the wall face again becomes external then the end will revert to the original interior settings regardless of the current interior settings. A bug?
- The most reliable solution is to do one of the following:
- Set the material of the wall object then add the walls. To change the ends, delete the wall(s) and repeat the process from scratch. Tedious!
- Set the interior materials and make sure at least one wall face is internal. If walls are on a location that does not naturally have an enclosed area use a large invisible room to make all walls internal. The wall faces do not need to be part of a perimeter, they just need to be internal.
Thanks to all those that provided comments and suggestions
- Doug Schafer (email)
- Nik (FloorPlan forums)
- Jack Zimmer (FloorPlan forums)