I am building a 16'x16', 2 story cabin. I want the top story to have cathedral style ceilings. I have seen a few different ways of doing this, but cant seem to find any clear explanations (I've searched these forums throughly, And I've googled for about 2-3 hours) on exactly how to do it. The two ways I have seen are the Scissor-truss, and the Ridge Beam. I'm not very fond of the scissor-truss method, because that does not leave you with a very high interior ceiling. But I have also heard the Ridge beam causes stress on the walls. I saw a picture of scissor trusses that had the same interior pitch as the exterior pitch, but also heard this caused stress on the walls? I would post the pic but cant due to this being my first post... What are your opinions on this style of roof? Only being a 16'x16' structure, in a climate that sees almost no snow or ice, I dont know which way to go. Input please.
Ridge beam assemblies work just fine, as long as they are properly sized (engineered) and installed. They are built specifically to avoid the rafter thrust you are alluding to.
Cathedral ceilings make for really pleasant and functional open spaces (like my shop!), but they do require more care to insulate so that they vent properly, or you have to build them as "closed" attic spaces (nice but spendy). And they of course create spaces that cost a tad more to heat and cool, but most us are willing to live with that.
With a ridge beam you do not place excessive pressure on the walls. But you need to support this beam down into the foundation (where a footer exists) with panelam (sp?) posts. Use open cell spray foam so you do not need venting and do not use any recessed lights. (use track lights)