Using Marriage Walls

Reference Number: KB-00925
Last Modified: September 22, 2017

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to create a duplex in which I need to have two walls side by side, also known as marriage walls, to provide for independent framing for each unit.  How can I model this in Chief Architect?

exterior view of duplex home


Creating marriage walls in Chief Architect is easy using the Double Wall directives on the General tab of the Wall Specification dialog. The Double Wall options specify how a selected straight wall frames when it is parallel to and touching a second wall.

For the purposes of this example, you will use the basic shell of a duplex plan below.

Both the left and right exterior walls are set to Full Gable Wall on the Roof tab of their Wall Specification dialogs and the roof has been built creating a basic gable style. The default Interior-4 wall type is used for the two interior walls.

  1. Select Build> Wall> Straight Interior Wall  and click and drag the two walls in the same Start to End direction.

    Note: To turn on your Start and End indicators, select the Edit menu, go to Preferences and in the Preferences dialog, click on the Edit category. In the Selection section, place a checkmark next to Show Start and End Indicators and click OK.

  2. Once you have both of the Interior Walls placed, use the Select Objects   tool to select the first wall, and then hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on the second wall so that both walls are group selected.

  3. Click on the Open Object  edit tool to display the Wall Specification dialog for both of these walls, go to the Structure panel, select the Split Framing radio button under the Double Wall category and click OK to apply this change to both walls. 

  4. Group select both of these walls again, and select Edit> Copy .

  5. From the Menu click Tools> Reference Floors> Up One Floor  to the A level, or Attic level, and select Edit> Paste> Paste Hold Position .

    You may receive a warning that you are placing an object on the attic floor.  If so, click OK to continue.

  6. Now that you have pasted copies of the Split Framing Double Walls on the Attic floor, with both walls still selected, click on the Open Object  edit tool to display the Wall Specification dialog for them.

  7. On the General panel, select the option for Attic Wall and click OK to apply the changes.

    This double Attic Wall will not be created automatically by Chief Architect, which is why you need to create it manually for it to build and frame correctly.

  8. Select Build> Floor> Build Foundation  to display the Build Foundation dialog:

  • On the Foundation panel, increase the Minimum Height under Stem Walls to 48"

  • Leave all of the other values at their defaults, then click OK.

  • In the New Floor dialog, choose to Derive new Foundation plan from the 1st Floor plan and click OK.

  • Chief Architect will now display the foundation level, also known as Floor 0, and a single Foundation Wall will have been built beneath the double wall above.

  • While still on the Floor 0 level, select Build> Framing> Build Framing  to display the Build Framing dialog.

  • On the Foundation panel, and in the Subfloor for Floor 1 section, place a checkmark next to Build floor framing then click OK to build the floor framing.

    If you do not have the "Framing, Floor" layer set to display, a dialog box will display asking if you want to turn on this layer.  Select Yes to display the layer.

  • On the foundation level, you should now be able to see that the floor framing for each side of the double wall on the structure has framed independently.

    If the floor framing is not displayed as you expected or desire, consider using the Joist Direction tool to define the direction that joists are laid out.

    More information on this tool can be located from within Chief Architect by selecting the Help menu, going to Launch Help, and in the space provided, type in the keyword of "Joist", click search, and then select the "Joist Direction Lines" search result.

  • You are now ready to continue with your design, including building the Wall Framing or manually editing any framing members if necessary.
  • The above Render Framing Overview  is just an example based on your basic plan.  Recall that building your framing is one of the last steps to take in creating your plan, after adding interior walls, doors, doorways, windows, etc.