How to Create Manual Roof Returns

Reference Number: KB-00235 Last Updated: 01-08-2015 02:02 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


How do I create a ­roof return, or eyebrow, using the manual roof tools?


Roof returns can be created by drawing and positioning manually drawn roof planes.

To create a manual roof return

  1. Open a Chief Architect plan in which you would like to create roof returns.

    In this example, a simple rectangular plan with a gable roof is used.

  2. Select Build> Roof> Roof Plane  from the menu.

    • Click and drag a new roof plane baseline along the outside edge of the framing layer of the wall that you would like to add returns to.

    • Click once inside the plan to locate the ­ridge and create a roof plane.

    • In the Set Baseline Height dialog, click the radio button beside Over wall top, then click OK to create a roof plane. 

  3. The new roof plane will display in floor plan view inside the perimeter of the gable roof plane.

  4. Click on the ridge top edge of the newly created roof plane to select it, then use the edit handles to move the ridge down until it meets the outside surface of the wall.

  5. Zoom  in on the new roof plane.

  6. Click on the side edge of the roof plane closest to the end of the wall to select it, then click on the temporary dimension that shows its distance from the opposite edge to display the in-line Move Object Using Dimension Text Box. 

    • In the Move Object Using Dimension in-line text box, specify the desired length of the roof return you want to create.

    • Make sure that the radio button beside Move Edge is selected, then click OK.

    • If you have difficulty selecting the new roof plane, click the Select Next Object  edit button or press the Tab key on your keyboard until it becomes selected.

  7. With the side edge still selected, click on the temporary dimension that shows its distance to the roof plane edge past the ­eave.  

    • In the Move Object Using Dimension in-line text box, specify the distance as 0.

    • Make sure that Move Entire Object is selected.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and move the roof plane.

  8. With the roof plane still selected, click on the corner edit handle where the ridge and outside edges meet and drag it in until it meets the corner of the wall.

  9. Repeat steps 2 through 8 on the other side of the wall to create a pair of returns.

  10. To see the results, select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Camera from the menu and click and drag a camera arrow towards the roof return that you just created.


To download a library of Bonus Exterior Fixture Items and other bonus libraries, visit our Content Resources page.

To learn how to create automatic roof returns in Chief Architect version 10 and later, see article #647 in the database:
How to create automatic roof returns