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Old 09-18-2011, 10:04 PM   #1
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1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support


I have attached a couple of photos that hopefully illustrate my issue. The photos show roughly what the current set up is.

As you can see from the photos, I have a 1.5 story bungalow. So, for most of the roof (which is 2x6 rafters) the rafters extend down to the first floor ceiling joists (which will remain). There are also 2x4 running perpendicular to the roof rafters which the dry wall ceiling in the finished attic space are hung from.

(To give some scale, it is about 10 feet from the attic space floor to the peak of the roof. The current ceiling is at 7 feet.)

What I want to do is take out the drywall and the 2x4 they are hung from and make a cathedral ceiling for the finished attic.

My understanding is that the 1st floor ceiling joist complete the "triangle" between the rafters and those joists, creating the necessary support for the outward pressure the weight of the roof puts on the rafters. I won't be touching those.

Can I just take out those 2x4 that currently have the attic ceiling drywall attached? Do they provide any needed structural support?

Can I replace them with gusset plates or something else near the peak of the roof to allow me to make the cathedral space?

What about the dormered section (you can see in the photo) that does not extend down to the first floor ceiling joists?

Ultimately I am going to have a structural engineer come take a look, but I wanted some ideas in advance so I had a well thought out plan to put forth.

Thanks,
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1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support-picture-1.jpg   1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support-picture-2.jpg   1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support-picture-4.jpg  

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Old 09-18-2011, 11:07 PM   #2
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1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support


In reality, now, due to when you move those rafters, the walls will want to start pulling out. What you need to do, is just blow off the roof, and place trusses that allow for the raised ceiling. Big drawback is, will the current hvac system handle the extra load, and other will be, will the house be able to sell in that condition, due to it will set it apart from others in your neighborhood.

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Old 09-19-2011, 08:07 AM   #3
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1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support


I am confused by your answer as I don't intent to move the current rafters. I am not planning on adjusting the ceiling joists from the first floor that hold the rafters together. So, I would think the ceiling from the first floor (which is the floor for the finished attic space I want to make a cathedral ceiling) would be holding the roof from that outward pressure.

It seems incredible to me that it is not the joists which span the whole width of the roof that are creating the structural support, but rather the 2x4s that are three feet from the peak that you think are so important.

I would have to think there is some way (if that extra lateral support is even necessary) to duplicate that same additional support (since the main support from the 1st floor ceiling joists will remain intact) with some gusset plates, or by removing some of the 2x4s (which essentially could be considered collar ties) and doubling others up.

Just to be clear, at the end of my project I want to take my current setup where I have 8ft ceilings on the first floor and a slanted (and then straight at the top) 7ft ceiling in the attic space and change it so I still have 8ft ceilings on the first floor, but slanted 10ft ceilings in the finished attic.

I appreciate the feedback I just want to make sure we are on the same page as to what structural support will remain and what the plan is.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:25 AM   #4
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1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support


Because the whole structure works as a system, taking and moving the ceiling joists up, you still have to worry about the walls meeting the rafters. If you open up a room, withou thinking about supporting the walls, they could bow out. It can be done, for what you want to do, but you really need to sit down with an architect and go over the plans. Usually when they raise the roof so to speak, they take down to the room ceiling, then place engineered trusses that are built to support the roof structurally.

If you look at most open cathedrals, you still have, depending on the room size, framing members to strengthen and tie the walls, to keep them from moving on the top. If you do not have those strengthening members, you get sway when ever the wind blows, along with possible twisting.
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:39 PM   #5
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1.5 Story Cathedral Ceiling Support


Collar ties in the upper 1/3 of the height, may not even be needed, check with local AHJ.
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-...llar-ties.aspx


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