How to Specify the Depth of Floor Joists

Reference Number: KB-00049 Last Updated: 04-15-2015 03:00 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Lite


How do I set the ­joist depth for one particular room?


Floor platform structure is specified on a floor-by-floor basis in the Framing Defaults/Build Framing dialog.  You can also specify floor structure information on a room-by-room basis in the Room Specification dialog. 

In addition, you can also specify the depth of an individual floor or ­ceiling joist in its specification dialog; however, resizing a joist in this manner will not affect the space alloted for it in the floor or ceiling platform that it is located in.

It is recommended that you specify all structural information, including floor and ceiling heights and platform thicknesses, before you build a roof or generate framing.

To specify joist depth for an entire floor

  1. Select Edit> Default Settings  from the menu.  In the Default Settings dialog, click on Framing in the list, then click the Edit button.

  2. In the Framing Defaults dialog for the current floor:  

    • The floor framing information for each floor is specified on the tab for the floor below.  

    • To specify the floor framing defaults for Floor 1, therefore, select the Foundation tab.  

    • When you are satisfied with your settings, click OK to close this dialog, then click the Done button to close the Default Settings dialog, as well.  

  3. When you build floor framing for the current floor, all floor joists will have the depth that you specified above.  

To specify joist depth for an individual room

  1. Click the Select Objects  button, then click in an empty space in a room to select it.  

  2. Click the Open Object  edit button, and on the Structure tab of the Room Specification dialog:  

    • Specify the desired joist depth in the Floor Structure Thickness field.  

    • In Chief Architect X2 and prior, be sure to delete the (D), which stands for Default, or the default value will be retained regardless of your changes.  

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your change.  

  3. When you build floor framing for the current floor, the floor joists in this room will have the depth that you specified rather than the default depth.  

To specify the depth of an individual joist

When a joist is generated automatically or drawn manually, it's initial depth will be based on the default joist depth for the current floor or the depth specified for an individual room on that floor.  Once a joist is created, you can edit its depth in the Framing Specification (Floor Joist) dialog.  Bear in mind, though, that it may not fit the platform that it was placed in.

  1. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on a joist to select it.  

  2. Click the Open Object  edit button, and on the General tab of the Framing Specification (Floor Joist) dialog, specify the desired Depth value, then click OK.



For information about setting up your framing defaults, see the "To prepare to draw the structure" section of article 517 in this database:   How to create a pole barn structure.

Framing defaults can be saved as part of your template plan.  To learn more, see article 463:   How to create a style template.