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peabodyn 12-27-2008 11:52 PM

Vaulted Ceiling - (Pictures included) How to do it?
4 Attachment(s)
I am about to start a large project (for me anyway) and I need some advice. I will be vaulting a ceiling in a kitchen extension (12’ x 12’, 6/12 roof slope, 3 foot soffits on both sides, 2x6 framing of existing roof). The current ceiling height is 8’ and the space above the ceiling (at the ridge) is approximately 4’.

  • I will place 2x6 collar ties at the upper third of the rafters (or lower) – will this keep the walls from bowing – we are in NY’s Long Island – not a heavy snow area – but I don’t want to take any chances. Are the collar ties sufficient to prevent bowing of the walls?
  • I am not sure if the ridge is structural or not - how can I determine if I even need to install collar ties?
  • I have researched closed cell poly urethane sprayed on insulation, but at $1,500 it seems pricey. There are no soffit vents and there is no ridge vent – do I need to provide a 2” gap for air flow when there is no venting anyway? If I use regular fiberglass do you suspect I will have any issue with moisture – I intend on installing either pendent or track lighting to keep the integrity of the vapor barrier. Will this be sufficient “R” value – this is an extension over an unheated crawl space.
The ceiling will be covered in sheetrock and the collar ties will be enclosed, wiring and HVAC will go through the collar tie area and be covered by the sheet rock.

I have attached a few pics.

Is there anything I’m missing or anything else I need to know?


Aggie67 12-28-2008 08:59 AM

This is a great post, because it shows 1) you have great DIY vision, 2) you want to do it right, and 3) you're not afraid to ask questions. Arm yourself with info, and go tackle it!

With that said, if you're unsure, the best thing you can do for yourself is talk to a structural engineer in your area. There are also framing references in your local library. The code books will give you all the info on the correct number and type of fasteners. And maybe you'll get some tips on the framing here. But the safest all-around bet is to talk to your building code official, and he'll probably require a sealed drawing. It really is the smart way to do it.

I'm a licensed structural engineer in NJ, and I get called on to do exactly this sort of assessment for DIY'ers and remodeling contractors. I'd be in and out of your house in an hour or two, and you'd have a work sequence and a signed and sealed framing plan in your hands that you could submit to the township with your permit.

Badfish740 12-28-2008 09:21 AM

I'll be following this thread closely as I'd like to do something similar to my 2 bedroom ranch. Lots of pictures please! :thumbup:

peabodyn 12-28-2008 10:17 AM

Vaulted ceiling - continued
1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the responses - I was hoping to avoid having to bring in a structural engineer - but if I must, then I will.

I have posted another picture that shows that the 12 / 12 extension is actually more like 9 x 12 because the roof line from the main structure is used to support the ridge.

My gut is that collar ties will be sufficient for this 10 foot long wall that is 12 foot wide.

The insulation issue still remains - I took a look at and am considering spraying in foam myself. The fact that there are no soffit vents and no ridge vents makes me believe that this is "conditioned" space that will not require a 2 inch gap under the roof deck.

Comments / thoughts?


iMisspell 12-28-2008 10:45 AM

Whats up with all the dead rabbits in the red bags ???

If your building inspectors office is anything like the one around here, you will have to get a structural engineer stamp off on something like this. You might want to check with them first.


Aggie67 12-28-2008 11:07 AM

Calling an engineer isn't an arduous process, as long as you call the right one. Truth be told, a framing plan for this project should run around $400. Sometimes I'm asked to go to zoning or historical commission meetings to make a presentation, and that's by the hour. But this is pretty straight forward.

But you will need an engineer. The framing has to support a number of load cases (snow, rain, wind, dead, etc), and that's the engineer's job.

If you don't know any within your circle of friends/family, or they can't recommend one, look for an engineer that deals with residential projects in the yellow pages or on line. The building code official usually won't make a recommendation, but it never hurts to ask.

formerflyboy 03-28-2009 04:23 PM

I did something very similar to what you are wanting to do and after doing a ton of research on the subject I ended up installing 2x6 collar ties 2/3 of the distance up the rafters and securing them with 3 16D nails and a 1/2" bolt at each end (I think the next ceiling I raise will be secured with 6 nails at each end just to be safer). I then removed the joists as I installed the collar ties. I raised my ceiling by roughly 2 feet.

I ran the electrical, low-voltage, etc. above the collar ties. I used TigerFoam in my walls but I think I'm going to use Foam It Green for this project and see how I like it.

I am in central Illinois and we get a good amount of snow. The pitch of my roof is 4/6 so I do get a heavy snow load during a heavy snow but the roof holds firm and no problems.

Good Luck

retro 03-29-2009 11:18 AM

Ok hijacking the thread. Is that a Levitt house?

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