Customizing Deck Planking and Framing

Reference Number: KB-00794 Last Updated: 11-25-2014 04:39 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Lite


I would like to create a deck with angled deck planking and border planks.  How can I customize deck planking and framing?


When a Deck room is created, the ­floor platform is modeled using joists, beams, posts, and planking as specified in the Deck Room Defaults dialog.

  • If a floor is present below the one that the Deck room is created on, the framing will be created there. If needed, posts for the deck may be generated beneath any beams that are generated.

  • If a floor is not present below the Deck, framing will be generated on the same floor as the room. Beams may be created but posts will not.

  • Deck framing and planking are placed on the “Framing, Deck Framing” and “Framing, Deck Planking” layers, which are often turned off in floor plan view.

Editing deck attributes and building deck framing

  1. Open the Chief Architect plan in which you would like to customize deck planking or select File> Open Plan  to open a new, blank plan. 

    • In this example, a simple 10' x 10' deck is used.

  2. Click the Select Objects  button, then click in the deck room and click the Open Object  edit button.

    • In the Room Specification dialog, go to the Deck panel.

    • Editing the information on this tab will control how the deck planking and framing is created. 

    • The second part of this article will describe how changing each one of these settings effects the deck. 

  3. Once you have made the necessary changes in the dialog, click OK.

  4. In Chief Architect X3 and newer, if changes are later made to the settings on the Deck tab of the Room Specification dialog, the deck framing and planking will be automatically rebuilt in response. To prevent this from happening, you can uncheck Automatic Deck Framing.

    In Chief Architect X2 and prior, you will need to select the deck room again and go to the edit toolbar and click the Build Advanced Deck Framing  edit button to generate the deck framing.

Deck panel settings - What they mean and how they effect framing

Deck Planking:

  • Plank ­Overhang

    • Use this to specify how far deck planking overhangs the joists.  In the example below, the value is changed from 1/2" to 1".

  • Plank Width

    • Use this to specify the thickness of the deck planking.  In the example below, the width is changed from 5 1/2" to 10".

  • Plank Gap Width

    • Use this to specify the width of the gap between each deck plank.  In the example below, the width is changed from 1/2" to 1 1/2".

  • Plank Direction

    • This is used to specify the direction of the deck planks. 

    • When Automatic is checked, the program will place the deck planking parallel to the longest edge.

    • In the example below, Automatic is unchecked and the Plank Direction angle is changed to 45°.

  • Number of Border Planks

    • Use this to specify the number of border planks that will go around the edge of the deck.

    • In the example below, this value is changed from 0 to 3.

  • No Border Against Walls and Herringbone

    • Both of these checkboxes are only applicable when border planks are present. 

    • No Borders Against Walls prevents border planking from being generated along any walls defining the deck.

    • Herringbone produces a herringbone pattern where the border planks meet, instead of miters at the corners.

    • Examples of each are shown below.

Deck Structure:

  • Joist Spacing

    • Use this to specify the distance between the joists that support the deck planking. In the example below, the spacing is changed from 16" to 24".

  • Joist Direction

    • Use this to specify the direction of your joists.

    • When Default is checked, the program looks at the direction of the deck planks and the size of your deck to determine which way the joists will run.

    • In the example below, Default is uncheck and the direction is changed to 45°.

  • Support ­Beam Depth and Width

    • Specify the width and depth of the beams that will support the deck joists. In the example below, Depth and Width are changed from 4"x8" to 6"x12".

  • Support Beam Spacing

    • Use this to specify the spacing between the beams that support the deck joists. In the example below, the spacing is changed from 96" to 48".

Note: To modify the Joist Depth go to the Structure panel of the Room Specification dialog and click the Edit button next to Planks, Joists (L).