Dimensioning with SketchUp: Deck Project

In deck construction, we often are removing an old structure and replacing it with a comparable structure made from new material. Older outdoor woods are pretty much shot after 20-30 years. We usually start with an as-built drawing and estimate our materials and labor from there. Here’s a case study in deck as-built drawings using SketchUp.


This is the top view after some edits. The best way I’ve found so far to make a proper blueprint from a sketchup drawing is to export a 2d graphic and pull it into GIMP. Use the color selection tool with a low threshold value to select the background color and delete it. You can add architectural textures in SketchUp to identify different components. Here, for example, there’s a concrete pad under the deck that I differentiate in the print with diagonal hatching.

There are also options for correcting your dimensioning; you’re not stuck with the tiny font that’s the default. Open Entity Info, go to dimensioning, then there are a lot of nice options you can play with. Here’s the edited image:

Partial view at 100%:

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.42.56 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.40.47 AM

zupan dimensions pdf

You’ll notice the finished drawing is much easier to read!

Deck dimensioning zupan iso5 bump out R zupan iso 3 -- framing zupan iso2 zupan isometric zupan right

SketchUp will generate 2d exports from standard camera views that are essentially like CAD patterns on steroids. From this point, I can add photo textures of the client’s material choice, model their house and lot and drop it into place, have a very accurate material list, and dimension anything I’m missing by inferring it from its relationship to the other components. I can troubleshoot problem areas, estimate cost, and send this to everyone working on the job so they have it on their tablets to reference as work proceeds. It’s a great way to build rapport with local building inspectors too!

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