Resources for Creating a Complex Roof Plan

Reference Number: KB-00158
Last Modified: October 1, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials


The roof I am planning is very complex. How can I use the automatic roof tools to produce a complicated roof plan?


The automatic roof tools allow you to create a wide range of roof designs. In this article, we will discuss some of the resources that you have available to you for learning how to use these automatic roof tools. By default, the program will generate a roof plane over the top of each exterior wall in your plan that is used to define a room. The result is a hip roof with the pitch specified in the Build Roof dialog. If you want some other condition over a particular wall - such as a gable instead of a roof plane, a different pitch, or a second, upper pitch - you can specify it on the Roof panel of the Wall Specification dialog.

You can also use the Break Wall tool to place breaks to define different segments of the same wall differently. We have many resources available for you to learn how to use the automatic roof tools available in the Home Designer programs to generate complex roof types, such as: 

Reference Manual

There are a number of ways to access the information contained in the extensive Reference Manual that came with your software purchase.

To access the local copy of the Reference Manual directly, you can select
Help> Launch Help .

  • On the Contents tab, you can select the Roofs chapter.

  • Alternately, you can search by keyword, such as for a specific roof style like Mansard or Gambrel on the Search tab.

  • If you select Build> Roof> Build Roof , and select the Roof Styles panel, you can click on a particular roof style to quickly launch the Reference Manual to the section to learn how to use the automatic tools to generate that particular style.

    You can click on the different roof styles to learn how to build them.

    Another great tip to keep in mind is that if you are ever in a dialog,and are uncertain what a particular item means, click on the Help button located on that dialog to launch the software's context sensitive help on thatparticular topic. In the case of dialogs, this will often show you a screenshot of the dialog, with numbers and a description of what each item means.

  • You can also select Help> View Reference Manual to view the entire PDF version of the Reference Manual.

User's Guide

Written for new Home Designer users, but a helpful reference for users of all experience levels as well, the User's Guide features a series of tutorials designed to introduce the basics of using the program. The User's Guide is organized by topic, and walks you through the process of creating a complete model, from the first wall to the interior design and landscaping, and including a Roof Tutorial section.

This guide is available in electronic format by selecting
Help> View Users Guide from the Home Designer menu.

Online Tutorial Training Videos

The free online tutorial training videos are located on our website at:

  • Choose a playlist on the left to view videos related to the topic chosen.

  • You can also search the videos by keyword, making sure to take note which ones apply to your version of the software.

Online Knowledge Base

This free online Knowledge Base has an extensive number of articles on how to use the software, including many that deal with roofs.

Some in particular that are worth highlighting as you learn how to use the roof tools are linked in the Related Articles section listed at the bottom of this article, but there are many more that you may want to search through and review.

Along the left hand side of the Knowledge Base is a list of categories. You can use these categories to navigate the different topics included in the Knowledge Base or you can run a keyword search through the search box located at the top of the website. 


Home Designer Training Webinars are a quick and easy way to get started or learn about our software. You will learn the basic elements of design and howto take advantage of the powerful building and design tools in your Home Designer Software.

Check out our website at to learn more!

HomeTalk User Forum

If you are struggling with how to accomplish a particular roof design, then you may want to consider registering for our free online user forum, HomeTalk.

  • HomeTalk is frequented by many helpful, long-time proficient power-users of the software, and is a great resource for both information and advice, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Once you have registered your user handle, you can sign in to search prior threads for the answers to questions you may have, and if you cannot locate an answer there, then you can post a new thread of your own as well.

Personal Training

Finally, if you have the Home Designer Pro version of the software, and would like individualized personal one-on-one instruction on manually creating your complex roof design, you have the option of signing up for personal one-on-one training. Information on this service can be located on the Chief Architect website at:


Bear in mind that some roof designs may be too complex for the automatic tools to produce in some of the less advanced versions of the software. If you find that you need more flexibility in designing roofs, then you may want to upgrade to either Home Designer Pro or Chief Architect Premier, which provide far more extensive control over roofs.

For more information about our most current program versions and upgrade options, visit our Products page.