Creating Decorative Deck Boards Within a Deck Room

Reference Number: KB-01016 Last Updated: 12-01-2014 02:04 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I would like to create some decorative deck boards within my deck. How can I do this?


Creating a decorative accent within a deck can be done by using a platform hole and ­polyline solid.

To create decorative deck boards within a deck

  1. First, Open the plan in which you would like to create the decorative deck boards, or start a New Plan .

    • For the purposes of this example, we started a new, blank plan using the default template. Next, we selected Build> Terrain> Create Terrain Perimeter to create our Terrain Perimeter and then used the Build> Deck> Polygon Shaped Deck tool to create an 8-sided, or octagonal, deck with each side having a length of 8' and raised the Floor Height to 24".

  2. Once your deck is is created, select the ­CAD menu and choose the appropriate shape that you would like to begin with for your decorative deck boards.

    If you want the object to be centered in the deck room, use the Center Object edit button to center it along the appropriate deck railing in floor plan view.

    For the purposes of this example, we began by selecting CAD> Circles> Oval .

    However, you can start with any type closed polyline, such as a rectangular polyline, and use the Change Line/Arc and Break Line edit tools to create nearly any shape. If you are unfamiliar with this process, you should review the Editing Closed-Polyline Based Objects section of your Chief Architect Reference Manual.

  3. Select the CAD polyline that you have created, and click on the Convert Polyline edit tool to display the Convert Polyline dialog, move the radio button to Hole in Floor Platform and click OK to display the Polyline Specification dialog, and click OK once more.

  4. Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Overview to see our progress so far.

To fill the hole with a polyline solid

  1. Select File> Close to close the Perspective Full Overview and return to the 2D floor plan view.

  2. Next, use the Select Objects tool to select the Oval, and click on the Copy and Paste in Place edit tool to create a copy of the selected oval at the same location as the original.

  3. The copy you have just created remains selected, so you can perform additional operations on it, and for the purposes of this example:

    • Click the Convert to Plain Polyline edit button to convert the platform hole back into a 2D CAD object.

    • Click the Convert Polyline edit button.

    • In the Convert Polyline dialog, select the Polyline Solid option and click OK to display the Polyline Solid Specification dialog.

  4. In the Polyline Solid Specification dialog:

    • Specify the Height and Thickness of the polyline solid.

    • Then go to the Materials panel to specify the type of wood material that you want for your decorative deck boards, then click OK.

    • This creates an oval polyline solid that precisely fits inside of the hole we created in the deck.

  5. Now, use the Select Objects tool to select the deck room and click the Build Deck Framing edit tool.

    • In addition to joists and rim joists, deck planking will be generated and beams and posts may be created, all based on the settings in the deck's Room Specification dialog.

    • If a floor is present below the one that the deck room is created on, the framing will be created there. If needed, beams may be generated with posts beneath them, if specified. When terrain is present, the posts will have footings, again, if specified.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    Note: Advanced Deck Framing will frame around a platform hole, but will not generate support for objects inside that hole. You will need to edit or add framing for this purpose.

Finally, you can also create multiple polyline solids to fill in the space of the hole that you created for more intricate and elaborate decorative deck board designs.

To create more elaborate polyline solids

  1. In the image below, we have applied different Fill Styles to each of the polyline solids in floor plan view, to make them easier to distinguish from one another when editing in floor plan view.

  2. The Transform/Replicate edit tool is helpful for creating normal, as well as reversed copies of a polyline solid, once you have the first one created.

  3. For information on customizing library materials, such as to rotate a material to have decorative boards meet as in the image below, please see online Knowledgebase article KB-01006 in the related articles section below.