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DoubleD07 07-15-2007 04:38 PM

raising ceiling height, raftered at 8 and 10 already
6 Attachment(s)
Hi Guys I have an 1988 build ranch that has 8' ceilings in the kitchen and dining. I got up in the attic to look around and for some reason there are 2X6 rafters at 8'(where the current sheetrock ceiling is) and also at 10'. Anyone have any idea WHY this is raftered at both 8 and 10?? I'd like to raise the ceiling to 10' in these 2 rooms, following the roofline angle along the outerwalls up to the 10' rafters, creating a sloped tray effect. I am attaching pix of the house layout and pix of the framing in the attic. I need to know if this is possible and whether or not I need some additional framing as the wall between the kitchen/dining and the living room carrries the load of the living room ceiling. Also there are 10' ceilings already in the master bedroom which is on the left side of the living room so this really makes me think that this is possible.
Many thanks for the advice!

DoubleD07 07-16-2007 04:30 PM

bump...nobody wants to take a stab at this one?

Ron6519 07-19-2007 07:07 AM

From the pictures it looks like you could raise the ceiling height to the 10" level. It would certainly give you a dramatic area for not too much effort. I would have someone come in who is versed in structural issues to confirm this though. Seeing a few pictures on the internet is not a qualified opinion.

DoubleD07 07-19-2007 08:32 AM

thanks for the reply...any idea WHY this would have been done in the first place? Could it have been that the builder goofed and thought it was supposed to 10' and then the buyer came in and said no its supposed to be 8'.

Ron6519 07-19-2007 10:13 AM

I would think it was due to the cathedral room next to this. The extra support at the 10' level could have been a structural requirement for the cathedral framing. It could also address the support for the roof lines. But this is just a guess based on a few photos and a word or two in the post.
Or as you said, maybe there was a change order or miscommunication. You might find the answer at the building dept if the blueprints are on file.

crecore 07-19-2007 11:48 AM

The plans could have called for 8' ceilings but in order to line up the roofs, sometimes wall heights are changed in the rafter or truss plan. Without seeing more that's about all I can say. Trayed ceilings usually would be built in the manner you have anyway. Supporting joists or bottom chord of a truss (not a rafter btw) at the 10' level, then build down the tray. The tray can also be designed into a truss but it's more expensive. I imagine it can be done in some manner.

DoubleD07 07-19-2007 04:46 PM

2 Attachment(s)
the ceiling in the kitchen actually has a tray in it now, the upper part of the tray is at 8' and the perimeter drops down to 7' and meets the cabinet tops. The dining room ceiling is just a flat 8' ceiling.

If I took out the 8' bottom chord would this compromise the integrity of the load bearing wall between the kitchen/dining and the living room?

would it help if I did a sloped tray up to the 10' on that side so the bottom chord of those 10' trusses would go directly across to the wall as well as angle down to the 8' level and support at both levels. Hope that sounds right, see pic.

crecore 07-20-2007 06:02 AM

if Im looking at picture 5 in your first post the wall is helping support bother the 8' height ceiling joists and the 10' height... they are not helping eachother at least at that location. If the cathedral ceiling is being supported by the 8' ceiling in the middle of the room you want to tray, then you may have a little more of a problem.

DoubleD07 07-20-2007 08:20 AM

yes the wall between the kitchen/dining and living room does support the cathedral ceiling of the living room.
To me the ceiling in the kitchen/dining helps to support that wall to not bow out under the load of the living room ceiling. By keeping the existing 10' rafters and adding in the angle down supports to the 8' level of the wall(see drawing 2) will still give support to the wall at both 8' and 10'. Am I assuming right on that thought.

I'm going to call a couple of remodeling companies in for estimates and pick the guys brains on the possibilities and how they would do it.

crecore 07-20-2007 11:44 AM

makes sense in theory... does the cathedral ceiling ever support a roof load or is all of it really a ceiling within the attic? If so, there's no roof load so that helps A LOT. You could also put a collar tie per say on at least one end of the cathedral framing in the attic if there's not already one. If you could somehow get all of the insulation out of the picture and use a wide angle lens I could tell more. Some look see's by pros are a good idea.

rwwood 07-20-2007 02:28 PM

I was confused when I first read you post. What you are referring to as 8' and 10' rafters should actually be called ceiling joists. The rafters are the pitched 2x 6s or 2x8s that support the external roof sheathing and shingles. The ceiling joists that are at 8' are currently carrying the weight of your ceiling (drywall I would assume) and that load is transferred to the walls where they sit on top of the top plate.

If you remove the joists that are currently at the 8' level, the weight of the ceiling is no longer directly supported by the walls, but is suspended from the rafters. From the photos, it would appear that those joists at the 10' level are close to the end of the rafters, so it's probably not an issue, especially if the only weight you're adding is that of sheetrock. However I would be absolutely sure that the rafters are nailed into the top wall plate and not just into the 8' high ceiling joists. In the original framing process, the joists would be nailed to the top wall plate, and then the rafters would be nailed along side the joists. If the framers were on the ball, they would have nailed the rafters both into the plate and into the joist, but if they didn't properly toe the rafters into the plate and you remove the joists they are nailed to, you will have effectively left your roof unattached to the house. Mental picture of strong wind lifting the roof as your mother-in-law is admiring the new higher ceilings. :eek: Again, this may not be an issue since it appears the rafters are on 24" centers and the joists on 16s.

If you're not sure, it's probably best to pay an area contractor or engineer a couple hundred bucks to have a look and give you his professional opinion. As someone already said, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but they don't take the place of actually looking at the real thing.

My 2

DoubleD07 07-20-2007 03:39 PM

crecore - the cathedral walls only support the ceiling of the cathedral not the actual roof. Can you explain the collar tie you were talking about?

rwwood - sorry for the confusion on the terminology as I am no framer, just a DIY guy. I'll try to get up there tonight and look to see if the rafters are toenailed in to the top plate at the exterior wall. If they aren't, don't they make a metal strap type of joiner to use with screws to hold these two together?

Yes the 10' joist will only hold the weight of the sheetrock ceiling. My only real concern was the bowing of that wall under the load of the living room ceiling. Thats why I thought about adding the slope to that side of the ceiling as well to get a support to the 8' level of the wall as well as the existing 10', like in my second drawing. Thats how the ceiling is done in the master bedroom on the opposite wall of the living room.

rwwood 07-20-2007 06:00 PM

I think it's done that way in the bedroom because on the outside wall, the slope is actually the bottom of the rafter, and they probably put in the slope on the other side (the interior wall) so it didn't look strange. You'll probably want to do the same in the other part of the house.

It also appeared that there was a knee wall on top of the original 8' wall, so since there is not a continuous stud for the ten foot height of the wall, the slope would act as somewhat of a stablizer. In reality, that's not a big deal. All the loads that make up the weight of the roof and ceiling push directly down so there is no force to make that wall bow any more without the 8' ceiling than there is with it. (Wind sheer is not a vertical force but neither is it one that would come into play much in your situation.)

If however you were to remove both sets of ceiling joists in order to put in a vaulted or cathedral ceiling, then, unless you have a ridge beam to carry the weight of the roof, the downward force would tend to bow the walls out. The joists serve as a tension member to hold the walls from doing that.

Hope that serves to 'splain a little more.

DoubleD07 07-20-2007 07:05 PM

1 Attachment(s)
rwwood - The master bedroom actually doesn't sit next to the exterior wall, there is the masterbath and walkin closet that is against the outside wall, both with 8' ceilings. I definitely think it helps to stabalize the wall doing the slope from 8' to 10' so those 2 points on the wall are linked into the ceiling joist, creating stability. Yes there is a 2' knee on top of the 8' studs on that wall between the kitchen/dining and living room, I think thats the way most 10' ceiling houses are built as its cheaper than using 10' studs.

I really feel alot more confident that this is a feasible thing to do but will still get a couple pro's out to get an experts on hand view of it. I appreciate you guys input on this as I feel this will really make these rooms feel much larger and will definitely increase the value of the house. I'm going to be doing all of this myself so cost will be just materials, it may be a while but I'll definitely post up som progress and completed pix.

On another note there are a couple electrical(Romex)runs between the 2 sets of joist as well as some of my alarm system wiring. What is the best way to move these runs up above the 10' joist? The alarm wiring is very small guage and can probably stay and just sit between the joist and the sheetrock without any problems, or is that a big no no?

UPDATE: See pic, I just got up there ndlooked at the rafters and they are definitey toe nailed at the top plate of the exterior wall. See my electrical runs there also, the big black one is for the stove, this may require an electrician, well my brother is a lineman for an electric co. so I'll call him as he wired his entire house during construction.

Thanks guys!

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