Creating Roof Returns Manually

Reference Number: KB-00235
Last Modified: January 16, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional


How do I create a roof return, or eyebrow, using the manual roof tools? 

Copper ridge home with full roof returns on gable ends


Roof returns can be created by drawing and positioning manually drawn roof planes.

To create a manual roof return

  1. Open a Chief Architect plan in which you would like to create roof returns.  

    In this example, a simple rectangular plan with a gable roof is used.  For instruction on creating a gable roof, see the Related Articles section at the bottom of this article.

    Rectangular gable roof

  2. Select Build> Roof> Roof Plane  from the menu.  

    • Click and drag a new roof plane baseline along the outside edge of the framing layer of the wall that you would like to add returns to.  Make sure you drag over the wall and not over the roof edge.

    • Click once inside the plan to locate the ridge and create a roof plane.  

    • If the Set Baseline Height dialog appears, click the radio button beside Over wall top, then click OK to create a roof plane.   

      Set Baseline Height dialog box set to Over wall top.

  3. The new roof plane will display in floor plan view inside the perimeter of the gable roof plane.  

    Roof plane display in the floor plan view

  4. Click on the ridge top edge of the newly created roof plane to select it, then use the edit handles to move the ridge down until it meets the outside surface of the wall.  

    Move the roof plane so it only goes to the outside surface of the wall

  5. Zoom  in on the new roof plane.  

  6. Click on the side edge of the roof plane closest to the end of the wall to select it, then click on the temporary dimension that shows its distance from the opposite edge to display the in-line Move Object Using Dimension Text Box. 

    • In the Move Object Using Dimension in-line text box, specify the desired length of the roof return you want to create.  

    • Make sure that the radio button beside Move Edge is selected, then click OK.  

    • If you have difficulty selecting the new roof plane, click the Select Next Object  edit button or press the Tab key on your keyboard until it becomes selected.  

      Made a 3 foot wide roof plane for the roof return

  7. With the side edge still selected, click on the temporary dimension that shows its distance to the roof plane edge past the eave.  

    Set the dimension to a negative value equal to the overhang and set it to move object

    • In the Move Object Using Dimension in-line text box, specify the distance as the length of the overhang as a negative number. In this example we used -18".  

    • Make sure that Move Entire Object is selected.  

    • Click Enter to close the dialog and move the roof plane.  

      The roof plane should now be in the corner

  8. With the roof plane still selected, click on the corner edit handle where the ridge and outside edges meet and drag it in until it meets the corner of the wall.  

    Drag the corner where the ridge and outside edge meet to the corner of the building

  9. Repeat steps 2 through 8 on the other side of the wall to create a pair of returns.  

  10. To see the results, select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Camera from the menu and click and drag a camera arrow towards the roof return that you just created.