Defining a New Wall Type

Reference Number: KB-02944
Last Modified: March 29, 2023

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


How can I create new wall types?


Chief Architect has a variety of wall types that you can readily use in any of your plans. You also have the ability to create your own custom wall type using the Wall Type Definitions dialog.

To create a new wall type

  1. Open the Chief Architect plan in which you would like to create a new wall type.

  2. Navigate to Build> Wall> Define Wall Types .

    This dialog can also be accessed by clicking the Define button on the Wall Types panel of the Wall Specification dialog or in the Wall Defaults dialog.

    Wall Type Definitions dialog

  3. In the Wall Type Definitions dialog: 

    • Click the New button at the top of the dialog.

      Depending on the new wall type you wish to create, you may be able to save time by selecting a similar preexisting wall type from the drop-down list at the top of the Wall Type Definitions dialog. A preview diagram of the selected wall type appears in the dialog. With the similar wall type selected, click the Copy button at the top of the dialog. You may wish to rename this copy.

    • Replace the wall type name with a short, descriptive name.

  4. To the right of the Wall Layers listing, click the Insert Above or Insert Below button to add a new layer to your wall. This new layer is placed above or below the currently selected wall layer respectively.

    You can select a wall layer and click Move Up or Move Down to rearrange the wall layers, or you can click the Delete button to remove a layer entirely.

  5. Repeat step 4 to add as many layers as needed.

  6. Place your cursor in the Thickness field beside layer 1, which is the outermost wall layer. 

    • Replace the existing value with the thickness that you need. 

    • You can also specify the desired Fill Style for a wall layer by selecting that wall layer and clicking its Fill column. 

  7. You can click on the selected layers' Material, Pattern, or Texture column to open the Select Material dialog: 

    • Browse through your materials to find a material that meets your needs. 

    • Click on the desired material to select it.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and return to the previous dialog.

  8. On the Material Properties tab in X15 and newer, or under the Material Layer section in X14 and prior, specify whether the selected wall layer is marked as Framing, Auto Detail as Insulation, and/or Air Gap.

    • Check Framing to produce framing for the selected layer when wall framing is generated. Select the appropriate framing Type from the drop-down menu, the Stud Spacing, as well as the Stud Width.

    • Set your Top and Bottom Plate Count and Width, as well as the Max Plate Length.

      These options are not available in X13 and prior versions.

    • Check Horizontal Framing to produce framing that runs horizontally instead of vertically, sometimes referred to as girts. When this is checked, specify the Bottom Run Elevation, which is measured from the center of the lowest horizontal framing member relative to zero, the default top height of the subflooring on Floor 1. Also, specify the Max Girt Length, available in X14 and newer versions.

    • Check Auto Detail as Insulation to generate Insulation boxes in the selected layer when Auto Detail is used in cross section views.

    • Check Air Gap to prevent the selected layer from displaying in 3D views or being calculated in the Materials List.

  9. On the Layer Properties tab in X15 and newer, or under the Selected Wall Layer Line section in X14 and prior, specify the Line Color, Line Weight, and Line Style of a selected wall layer. An option to extend exterior layers is also available in X15 and newer versions.

  10. On the Wall Properties tab in X15 and newer, or under the Energy Values section in X14 and prior, specify the wall type’s Energy Values. This information is used when exporting to REScheck.

  11. On the Wall Properties tab in X15 and newer, or under the Wall Settings section in X14 and prior, specify additional properties related to the wall type.

    • Specify the Brick Ledge Depth, which is the vertical depth of the brick ledge under walls of this type when a Brick material Type is specified for the exterior layer and a monolithic slab foundation is built.

    • Use the Build Platform to Exterior of Layer drop-down menu to select the wall layer whose exterior you would like the program to build the floor platform to. If this setting is set to the exterior wall layer, no exterior material will generate to cover the floor platform.

    • Repeat this process for Dimension to Exterior of Layer and Foundation to Exterior Layer to choose which layer you want dimension lines to locate and which layer you would like the foundation built to respectively.

    • Specify a Foundation Offset value to offset the Main Layer of a foundation wall on the floor below relative to the Foundation to Exterior of Layer setting. A positive value offsets toward the exterior; a negative value offsets toward the interior.

    • Check Partition Wall to prevent walls of this type from cutting through the surface layers of floors, ceilings, and other walls.

  12. When you have completed your new wall type, click OK to close the dialog.

To set the new wall type as the default

  1. Select Edit> Default Settings , and in the dialog that displays, expand the Walls category.

  2. Select Exterior Wall, Interior Wall, or the type of wall you wish to change the default wall type for, then click Edit.

    Exterior Wall default is selected

  3. On the Wall Types panel of the Exterior Wall DefaultsInterior Wall Defaults, or other wall defaults dialog, click the Wall Type drop-down menu to choose your new wall type.

  4. Click OK and Done.

  5. Now, any new walls that you create in this plan will use your new wall type.

    Note: To use custom wall types in multiple projects, it's recommended to create them in a custom plan template. To learn more about creating plan templates, please see the Related Articles section below.

    You can also change the wall type for walls that already exist in your plan. To learn more, please see the Related Articles section below.