Creating Roof Returns Manually

Reference Number: KB-00235
Last Modified: July 16, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect InteriorsVertical SeparatorHome Designer Professional


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

Full roof return and a hip roof return on the front of a home


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.

    Gable roof on a basic rectangular structure

  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, as shown in the image below.

    Manually created roof plane placed in a plan view

  4. Click on the top ridge 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.  

    Adjust the top ridge edge to align with 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 displays the length of the roof plane to prompt the Move Object Using Dimension text box. 

    Move Object Using Dimension text box with a value of 3'0"

    • Specify the desired length of the roof return you want to create.

      In this example, we have specified a value of 3' 0".

      3 foot wide roof plane for the roof return

    • Make sure that the Move Edge option located to the right of the input field is selected, then press the Enter key on your keyboard.

    • 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. 

  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 text box, specify an appropriate value to move the roof plane.

      In this example, we have specified a value of -18" so that the side edge of the roof plane will meet up with the overhang on the perpendicular side.

    • Make sure that the Move Entire Object  option is selected to the right of the input field, then press the Enter key on your keyboard to 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, or extend this roof plane to create a full return.

  10. Create a Camera  view to see the results.

    Camera view displaying manual roof returns