Set Wall Surface tool to use external cladding?

Hi all,

Has anyone found a trick to setting the Wall surface tool to use external wall cladding for its material? I’m building an ICF building and the external cladding isn’t in-line with the wall heights that I’ve used to build the house. In some areas, I’ve used the step-down/step-up offsets, but I have a few instances where those just don’t work, so without recreating the walls to align perfectly with the material breaks on the external walls I used the Surface Tool.

However, the Surface tool assumes you’re cladding an internal wall, so I’ve had to hack around with the materials to try to get the same material on the surface. Short version: it’s no fun.

So, why am I doing this?

  • Dropping down the material from the overhead wall obscures windows and door openings
  • Stone returns that wrap a corner
  • Wrapping posts with stone work
  • Takeoff grouping for materials.

And because on my exterior cladding, I’m using a compound material, it’s virtually impossible to match that. I’d just love it if I could choose the external materials that a regular wall has.

Picture for attention. If you look at the stone return on the right, I’ve had to sort of hack a material together. The “light gray” siding is the malbec rabbeted siding, but it, along with stone on the garage door wall are compound materials, I’d have to try to recreate those in the “internal finishes” section, which is what the wall surface tool uses.

I should add that I figured out what I’d call another hack to get this done. Duplicate complex walls and set their heights to 0.1, then apply the exterior material and interior materials as you want. So you’re basically using one wall as one of the wall surfaces and then painting a second dummy wall with the offsetting effect. In my case, I’m using a solid wall type, so can go through my takeoffs later and just delete the dummy wall type and my materials estimates remain accurate.

Still, would be nice of the wall surface could do internal wall finishes, external cladding, as well as internal finishes so you can materials match a bit more easily.

Good question, and yes, there is a better way. PlusDesignBuild has a custom estimation tool :custom_estimation_tool:, which also tags the geometry so it works with scenes and organises inside your estimate.
TIP: ensure you use the right category when selecting the material.

Essentially, you can draw any Sketchup geometry, search for a material in the custom estimation tool, and associate it with Sketchup geometry. Here is a video link:

:+1:Yep, point taken. Let me know if you think the customer estimation tool over Sketchup geometry is quicker, if it is not we will add your request to the development list