Building a Clerestory Roof

Reference Number: KB-00492
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

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


How can I build a structure with two shed roofs facing each other?


A clerestory style roof, also known as a mono-pitched, lean-to, or skillion roof, has two shed roofs with ridge or top edges that face one another, and with one top of the ridges higher than the other.

You can create a roof of this type using the automatic roof tools in any Home Designer program.

To create a clerestory roof

  1. In a new plan, select Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall  then create a basic structure.

    In this example, a basic 20' x 20' structure is used.

  2. Draw two parallel walls on the interior, use the Temporary Dimensions to ensure that they are at least 18.5" apart, as shown in the image below.

    The distance needed between these two walls is dependent on the default Gable Overhang as specified in the Build Roof dialog. The default overhang is 18", but some additional space is needed to provide enough space so that the lower roof plane does not cut into the upper exterior wall. This distance can be less if the Gable Overhang is lessened, so long as there is an additional 1/2".

    These walls will be a temporary walls used to create the roof style.

    Note: For this to work correctly, these walls need siding facing the interior of the small room they create.  When drawing exterior walls, the exterior siding will automatically orient itself to the outside of the wall, assuming you draw in a clockwise direction; clicking and dragging the wall downward will generate siding on the right side of the wall, clicking and dragging the wall upward will generate siding on the left side of the wall.

  3. Use the Select Objects  tool to select the top wall and use the Open Objects  edit tool to open the Wall Specification dialog, and on to the Roof panel, check the Full Gable Wall option and click OK

    Alternatively, use the Select Objects  tool to select the wall and click the Change to Gable Wall(s)  edit tool to set this wall as a gable wall.

  4. Repeat this process to set the bottom wall as a Full Gable Wall. so that a gable roof with a ridge in the center of the building is created.

    Note: Home Designer Essentials does not automatically build roof planes, select Build> Roof> Build Roof and click OK in order to build roof planes.

  5. Next, using the Select Objects  tool, select the two inside walls and follow the same procedure, instead setting them as High Shed/Gable Wall.

  6. Using the Select Objects  tool again, select the center room created between the high shed/gable walls and click on the Open Object  edit tool to display the Room Specification dialog for this room.

    If you experience difficulties selecting this room rather than the walls, use the Next button in the edit toolbar, or the Tab key on your keyboard, to select the next item in the selected area.

  7. On the Structure panel, in the Ceiling section, uncheck the Roof Over this Room option and click OK.

Once you have your walls defined correctly, you are ready to raise the height of the finished ceiling for one of the rooms to complete the clerestory effect.

To raise the finished ceiling height

  1. Using the Select Objects  tool, select the left room in the plan, and click on the Open Object  edit button to open the Room Specification dialog.

  2. On the Structure panel, increase the Finished Ceiling (F) value.

    For the purposes of this example, raise it to 155 5/8" (raising it 48" up from the Default value), then click OK.

  3. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Perspective Full Overview .  If everything was set correctly up to this point, then you will see something similar to the image below.

  4. Select Build> Roof> Build Roof to return to the Build Roof dialog, remove the check from Auto Rebuild Roofs so that further changes to the plan, such as adding or removing walls or adjusting the Ceiling Height within the rooms will not affect the roof.

    In Home Designer Essentials, because roof planes only generate when clicking OK on the Build Roof dialog, it is important to make sure all roof settings are set the way that you want them, and that the Build Roof dialog be avoided in the future when working on this plan.

To remove the temporary walls

  1. Select File> Close View to return to plan view, and click the Up One Floor  button to move your plan view to the Attic floor.

  2. Using the Select Objects  tool, select the left attic wall and select Open Object  to open the wall specification dialog.

  3. On the General panel, remove the check marks beside both No Room Definition and No Locate, and press OK.

    You will get an question dialog that displays, stating that this operation modifies one or more automatically generated walls.  Click Yes.

  4. Click the Down One Floor  button to return to Floor 1, select both of the interior walls and press Delete .

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