Creating an Attic Truss

Reference Number: KB-00933
Last Modified: December 6, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier


How do I create an attic truss?


An attic truss is a type of roof truss with an open space at its bottom center to accommodate a living space, with webbing above and on either side of this living space.

Attic trusses can be created manually


In order to create an attic truss, certain conditions must be met in the plan:

  • The structure must be wide enough and the roof steep enough to allow space for a loft area with attic rooms on either side of it.The loft area must have Attic rooms on both sides and must be separated from these Attic rooms by Knee Walls. 

  • The loft area cannot be on Floor 0 or Floor 1 - it must have a living space below it that has a flat ceiling.

  • The roof must bear on the walls defining the floor below the loft area. It cannot bear on knee walls.  

  • Each side of the roof must be composed of a single roof plane forming a continuous slope with a single pitch from baseline to ridge.  

  • The loft area must have a flat ceiling.

To create the structure

Because attic trusses require specific conditions to be met before they can be created, we'll begin by drawing a simple structure that meets those requirements.

  1. Select File> New Plan  from the menu to open a new, blank plan.  

  2. Select Build> Wall> Exterior Wall  from the menu, then click and drag to draw a rectangular structure.  


    • In this example, a structure measuring 30' x 40' is used.  

  3. Click the Select Objects  button, then click on the vertical wall on the left to select it then click the Open Object  edit button.   


    • On the Roof panel of the Wall Specification dialog, check Full Gable Wall and click OK.  

    • Repeat this step with the vertical wall on the right, as well.  

  4. Select Build> Floor> Build New Floor  from the menu, and build a second floor based on the first floor plan.  

  5. Select Build> Roof> Build Roof  from the menu, and on the Roof panel of the Build Roof dialog:  

    • Check the box beside Build Roof Planes.

    • Specify the Pitch of the roof to be built. In this example a 12 in 12 pitch is used.  

    • Check the box beside Trusses (no Birdsmouth)

    •  Check the box beside Ignore Top (2nd) Floor.  

    • Click OK to close the dialog and build the roof as specified. It will bear on the top plates of the first floor walls.  

  6. Notice the dashed lines that now display in the 2nd floor room area on floor plan view.  


    • These are ceiling break lines, which represent the division between the flat, full height ceiling in the center of the room and the low, sloped ceilings on either side.  

    • The area with the flat, full height ceiling is loft area that will be accommodated by the open space at the center of your attic trusses.  

  7. Select Build> Wall> Straight Interior Wall  from the menu, then click and drag two interior walls along the ceiling break lines.  

    • It's easiest to draw them near the ceiling lines, then move them into position after they are drawn.  

    • If you want, you can create a custom wall type with sheetrock on only one side if the rooms with the low ceilings are to be unfinished.  

  8. Select each of these two interior walls and click the Open Object  edit button. On the Roof panel of the Wall Specification dialog, specify them as Knee Walls.  

  9. Next, click the Select Objects  button, then click in one of the rooms with a low, sloped ceiling and click the Open Object  edit button.   

    • On the General panel of the Room Specification dialog, select Attic from the Room Type drop-down list.  

    • Repeat this step with the room on the other side of the loft area.


The conditions necessary to produce attic trusses are now in place.  

To create an attic truss

  1. Select Build> Framing> Roof Truss  from the menu, then click and drag a line that is perpendicular to the ceiling break lines and runs from exterior wall to exterior wall.  


    • The resulting truss will automatically extend out to the eaves.  

  2. Select the roof truss and click the Open Object  edit button. On the General panel of the Roof Truss Specification dialog:  

    • Change the Bottom Chord depth to match your floor structure depth for floor 2.  In this case, 9 1/2" will be used.

    • Check the box beside Attic Truss.  

    • Check the box beside Force Truss rebuild.  

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your change.

  3. Create a Framing Overview  to see the results so far.  

  4. Select File> Close View to return to floor plan view.

  5. Make sure Temporary Dimensions  are toggled on, click the Select Objects  button then click on the attic truss to select it.  

  6. Click on a temporary dimension that shows how far the truss is from either end wall, and type the distance that the first attic truss should be from the wall.  


    • In this example, the truss is placed 24" from the outside of the wall's framing.  

  7. With the truss still selected, click the Multiple Copy  edit button.  

  8. Click the Multiple Copy Interval  edit button to open the Multiple Copy dialog, specify the desired Primary Offset for All Trusses, then click OK.  
    • The Primary Offset is the interval at which trusses will be replicated when Multiple Copy is used.  

    • In this example, the default value of 24" is used.  

  9. Click and drag the selected truss's Move edit handle across the structure, in the direction of the opposite end wall.  

    • As you drag, the preview outlines of new trusses display at 24" intervals.  

    • When you release the mouse button, the new trusses are created. 

  10. Create a Framing Overview  to see the results.