Using Marriage Walls

Reference Number: KB-00925
Last Modified: September 27, 2022

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to design a structure in which I need to have two walls side-by-side for bearing, sometimes known as marriage walls. 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 located on the General panel 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, a basic shell of the plan below is used.

Both the left and right exterior walls are set to be full gable walls and the roof has been built creating a basic gable roof style. The default Interior-4 wall type is used for the two interior walls.

To use marriage walls

  1. Select Build> Wall> Straight Interior Wall , then click and drag to draw the two walls in the same Start to End direction. After they are drawn, use their Move  edit handles to move them into contact with one another.

    Note: To turn on your Start and End indicators, access the Edit panel within your Preferences, check the Show Start and End Indicators box, then click OK.

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

  3. Click on the Open Object  edit tool to display the Wall Specification dialog for both of these walls.

  4.  On the Structure panel of the Wall Specification dialog that appears, select the Split Framing radio button under the Double Wall category, then click OK.

  5. Group select both of these walls again, then select Edit> Copy .  

  6. 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.  

  7. 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.

  8. On the General panel of the Wall Specification dialog, select the option for Attic Wall, then click OK.

    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.  

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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.  

  12. While still on the Floor 0 level, select Build> Framing> Build Framing  from the menu.

  13. On the Foundation panel of the Build Framing dialog, under the Subfloor for Floor 1 section, check the Build floor framing box, then click OK to build the floor framing. 

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

  14. 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. For more information on this tool, please see the Related Articles section below.

  15. You are now ready to continue with your design, including building the wall framing or manually editing any framing members if necessary.

The above Framing Overview  is just an example based on the basic plan used in this example. Recall that building your framing is one of the last steps in creating your plan, after adding interior walls, doors, doorways, windows, etc.

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