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Creating a floor plan is not quite as easy as it seems. You’d think you’d grab a measuring tape, a piece of paper, and a pen and you’ll be all set. But that isn’t the case. This is where your search to find the best floor plan app begins.
Floor plans are actually very intricate and precise. They need to be meticulously planned and measured to get the results that you are seeking. Even a trained professional can spend hours drawing out a floor plan by hand or by using an expensive, cumbersome desktop CAD program.
Luckily, many people carry around an incredibly powerful computer with them, an iPhone or iPad. There are some very user-friendly and powerful floor plan applications out there that will allow you to draw your floor plan without having to be seated at a desktop.
The number of Floor Plan Apps in the App Store saw an explosive increase in in the last three years. Even as this trend continues, users are still complaining about clunky interfaces and clamped feature sets.
While there are some great apps out there, they also tend to get more expensive as the needs of the software increase.
Many mobile CAD (computer-aided design) apps have odd limitations in their features. Often these come as a surprise to new CAD drafters and floor planners. For instance, being able to create your own blocks, shapes, and symbols to store for use later in the app should be non-negotiable. Yet this is something that you can’t find in even the most well-known iPad CAD apps.
What is a Floor Plan App?
A floor plan app is an application for either iOS (Apple) or Android that allows the user to create and draw floor plans on their mobile device. Floor plan apps are not only limited to floor plans inside of a home, but can also be used to draw and plan landscaping, foundation and concrete, and interior design.
What can you use a Floor Plan App for?
Powerful floor plan apps can have a variety of uses, especially if they are based on CAD (computer-aided design) principles. These apps can be used for the following purposes:
By far the most popular use of floor plan apps is to draw out a floor plan for a house or job site. You can use either your finger, a stylus, or an Apple Pencil to draw out your floor plan on your iPad.
Floor plan drawing apps vary in terms of their accuracy and precision though. Some applications will give you accurate measurements and scale, whereas others give no more information than drawing on a piece of paper. Since it is necessary for floorplans to be accurate and to scale, you want to make sure the app you use has these qualities.
If you are looking for accurate and measured drawings (which you should be), you should be looking for more of a mobile CAD solution than a simple drawing app.
Mobile CAD apps translate to more professional-looking floor plans and drawings that can be used to perform a home renovation, or presented to a customer as part of a sales estimate.
Another popular use of drawing applications is as a part of the residential sales process. Contractors and salespeople from industries such as foundation repair, waterproofing, and HVAC need an accurate floor plan in order to mark their scope of work and generate an onsite proposal.
An accurate drawing allows for greater communication with the customers and reduces the chance of an unhappy customer.
Presenting a customer with a professional-looking site drawing and floor plan can increase the number of sales you make as well. You’ll stand out amongst your competitors who are still providing sloppy pen-and-paper drawings with their estimates.
READ MORE: 7 Ways Technology Increases Efficiency in Your Residential Sales Team
Many field auditors and site inspectors need to utilize some sort of drawing app while doing inspections. They need a mobile solution so that they can mark up and make comments on areas that need improvement or that are up to code.
Accuracy is incredibly important for these inspectors as they are doing tier inspections, as the safety of the building and site can depend on their work. The best iPad building design apps for inspectors allow for accurate drawings and markings on the go, as well as a library of shapes that represent the items or products that they are reporting on.
READ MORE: Site Plans: Everything You Need to Know
Just like inside the home, it’s as important to draw and sketch out the exterior of a home before embarking on an important project.
From tree placement to flowerbeds, landscapers are in need of an accurate drawing tool in order to plan out their outdoor artwork.
The best drawing apps for landscapers would include freehand drawing tools, area calculators to calculate needed materials, and a large shape library to represent the various different bushes, flowers, and trees that they’ll be installing.
READ MORE: How ArcSite works for Turf Companies
What should you look for when searching for a Floor Plan App?
With all of the options in the App Store, looking for a quality floor plan app can be overwhelming. Here are some features that you should look for in a great floor plan app:
A great floor plan app should be easy to use, first and foremost. It should feel like drawing with pen and paper but better.
The user interface should be easy to understand and be filled with useful tools that will enhance your drawing and bring it to the next level.
iPads and iPhones contain amazingly powerful processors and hardware, and the drawing tool that you choose should take full advantage of this power. You want to choose an app that will perform to the best of its ability and tackle any challenge that you throw at it.
Quality drawing apps can take on any site to draw, regardless of the size, level of detail, or the number of lines and shapes.
Precise and accurate
Without precision and accuracy, you might as well have drawn your floor plan on the back of a napkin. These qualities are exactly why you turned to a digital solution. There is no excuse for a drawing application to not allow you to be more precise and accurate than you could be by manually drawing out your floorplan by hand.
Precision and accuracy ensure that any projects that you are using the floor plan for will have the best chance at success by starting with the best possible floor plan.
Draw different lines, angles, and shapes
Not every floor plan will only require straight lines. Some projects may require curves, angled walls, or representations of doors and windows. However, not every floor plan offers these options, so it’s important to choose the most full-featured floor plan drawing app if you need to have detailed and accurate drawings.
Some applications, such as ArcSite, will let you create your own custom shapes as well as access 1000s of premade ones, to represent anything you could imagine in your floor plan drawings.
What most Floor Plan Apps are missing
A modern alternative that is made for iPad
The legacy floor plan apps were developed as afterthoughts to their desktop CAD software, but ArcSite was built as a mobile-first app. This is unlike most mobile CAD drawing apps, which are built as extensions of their desktop versions.
Being initially developed for desktops causes gaps in functionality and clunkiness that don’t translate well to a great iPad experience. ArcSite was built to be powerful, fast, and as easy as possible on the iPad, with just about zero learning time involved.
An enhanced pen and paper experience
When you draw floor plans from scratch on the iPad with ArcSite, it feels like drawing with pen and paper. The app interprets free-hand motion and converts it to precise shapes and lines, as well as records the dimensions in the background. You can create and store a library of your own shapes for the floor plans, or you can choose from ArcSite’s pre-populated library of commonly used shapes and blocks. It’s like being at the drafting table, but faster and easier.
Flexible UI for editing floor plans
When you edit floor plans on the iPad with ArcSite, you get a fast and smooth experience. Redoing a drawing is simple and changes are tracked in the app as you make them. This way, you can see the edit history for any plan and remember exactly what has been changed.
Cloud collaboration for your plans
Collaborating on drawing plans has never been easier. ArcSite allows you to invite team members to work on the drawing with you, and you get to see who made what changes. For the team members who aren’t your drafters, you can export and share the plans with them in a variety of formats right from the app. It only takes a couple of taps on the touchscreen.
Create your first floor plan today
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