Changing Joist Directions

Reference Number: KB-02932
Last Modified: July 1, 2022

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect PremierVertical SeparatorHome Designer Professional


I want to change the direction of floor or ceiling joists in a certain area of my plan. How can this be done?


You can specify the direction that joists build using a Joist Direction Line, however this will force all the joists sharing a floor platform area (i.e., all floors or ceilings at the same elevation) to build in the direction specified. To change the direction joists build without changing the elevation of your floors or ceilings, place a Bearing Line along with multiple Joist Direction Lines to manually control the direction the joists generate.

In this example, a simple four-walled structure will be used. Notice that a basic foundation has already been created and floor joists have been generated for the first floor.

Floor Plan view of foundation with floor joists generated for the first floor

To draw Bearing and Joist Direction Lines

  1. Select Build> Framing> Bearing Line  and draw a line where you want the joist direction to change.

    Bearing Line placed on the foundation level

  2. Select Build> Framing> Joist Direction  and draw a line on either side of the Bearing Line, each in the direction you'd like the joists to run.

    Two Joist Direction lines drawn on the foundation

    Note: It's important to remember that framing builds for the ceiling, or subfloor, above the currently selected floor. For example, to control the framing of the floor joists of Floor 1, these lines must be drawn on Floor 0 like shown above.

  3. Lastly, if framing is not set to automatically rebuild, navigate to Build> Framing> Build Framing  and regenerate the appropriate floor or ceiling framing to see the changes.

    Starting in Chief Architect Premier X14 and Home Designer Pro 2023, a Build All Framing  tool is also available, allowing you to quickly regenerate all framing in the plan without needing to open a dialog.

    Floor Plan view of foundation with floor joists generated for the first floor going in different directions on each side of the bearing line

  4. Take a Perspective Framing Overview   to see the results.

    Perspective Framing Overview showing stem wall and floor joists running in two directions