Are You Including Ceilings In Your Sketches?


What Do Your Xactimate Sketches Look Like?


“We don’t ever sketch anything. We don’t change the ceilings in our sketch.” 

Have you ever said these things before? Many people have. Why put forth the effort to accurately sketch a property, including all offsets and ceilings, and present it to the adjuster when tons of other contractors get paid without giving this information? Besides, adjusters don’t technically NEED the information, right? Well… Consider this:


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Architectural Drawing


Why Should You Sketch Accurately?


Have you ever had an adjuster angrily exclaim: “You’ve got too much equipment in this place!” Before going any further with this scenario, I want to ask one question: Did you calculate your air movement or did you just walk in and place air movers, guesstimating based on experience? When asked to guess how many air movers a given space needs, restorers answers vary widely. However, according to the IICRC s500, restorers should install 1 air mover in every affected room. Additionally, restorers should add 1 air mover for every 50-70 sq ft of affected wet floor in each room100-150 sq ft of affected wet ceiling and wall area above 2 feet and every wall inset or offset greater than 18 inches.

Our suggestion? Use the standard. Not only will it take the guess work out of your mitigation job but is also easily justified in your estimates or invoices. How?

If your sketch is accurate to the inch with all offsets included, doing the math for the adjuster will be easy. Even if they don’t do it, you can show them how you calculated it and reference the air mover standards of quantity ( This takes the negotiations out of professional opinion (yours or the adjusters) and puts it into a conversation about standards. It is what you are supposed to do. This will help your justification.

Should I Adjust Ceilings in Sketch, and Why?


In order to have accurately measure cfm, you need to measure length, width and height. This measurement will help determine the equipment usage for both dehumidifiers and air filtration devices. No doubt, you are calculating this by either an app or some other means.

Consider this: if you needed to calculate the length, width and height at a minimum to help determine your equipment usage, doesn’t the adjuster need at least that information to justify the charges? If we aren’t providing this info, we are handcuffing ourselves and throwing up red flags for claims handlers. If we are getting pushback on our dehus or afds, could it be that our sketch was not accurate? We didn’t give them the info. So we can’t get mad for being questioned.


Want to learn how to adjust ceilings in Xactimate? Check out our self-paced video training!


Regardless of whether you are using Xactimate, Xactimate Mobile, magicplan, Matterport, or pencil and paper, sketching a property accurately is an important part of documenting the claim and will help you justify your charges. So, train whoever is doing the sketches to do it accurately. If your techs are sketching, train them to do accurate sketches and give the person negotiating a level playing field when justifying charges.

nick sharp xactimate course

Written By: Nick Sharp

Nick Sharp has worked with Jeremy Reets for over a decade now. He started in carpet cleaning and mitigation before moving to the construction side as a project manager. He then was the senior estimator for Champion Construction for over 8 years. Since its inception in 2015, Nick has been an instructor of our Restoration Estimating & Negotiating course. His most recent venture is as a restoration estimate consultant. Nick is an Xactware Certified Trainer and is also has his Level 3 Certifications in Xact 28 and X1. He’s a bad boy on that sketch but better at finding lost money!


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