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Hi, we'd like to lower a cathedral ceiling in either of 2 houses we are considering buying and would like to get idea of complexity and cost. Walls are 8', room size approx. 20x15. Ideally we'd like to have 8 or 9' ceilings. One house has HVAC registers near bottom of cathedral ceiling, other house they're near the top and ductwork would need to be dropped.

What is best/easiest/cheapest way to build new flat ceiling? Can you leave existing ceiling or would we need to remove drywall above desired ceiling height? Is it easier to place ceiling joists on wall plates or OK to attach joists to rafters a little higher up? Could we use a drywall grid system, possible allowing a return to cathedral ceiling when we sell (we're early 70's, this is our final home)? We would need wiring for ceiling fan, possibly lower ductwork, and insulate above new ceiling. How would we handle venting?
Lots of questions! Thank you in advance for your help.
 

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retired framer
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It should not be a problem ceiling joists are also rafter ties and can go anywhere you want them in the bottom 3rd of the rafter or even higher as you are not worried about the walls.

There is nothing that you can say is standard so how you have to build will depend on what you find. Not right or wrong just different ways things might be done.

Insulation and venting should be there and can be maintained leaving the new attic space inside the envelope which is better for the HVAC that you can bring inside.

Anything you change can be put back, best if you keep a photo history so others can see what you have done and take the guess work out of their job.
 

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Hammered Thumb
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For a removable ceiling, the cheapest (and cheapest looking) is lay-in suspended ceiling tiles. You could use a drywall suspended ceiling, but that is costly and not available at your big box store. You could possibly do wood with some cables as well. The existing drywall can be left as is and just hang the flat ceiling from the rafters and ridge beam, depending on existing structure.

Usually, a vaulted ceiling is an asset and attracts buyers to houses.
 

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Endless Projects
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Usually, a vaulted ceiling is an asset and attracts buyers to houses.
I agree. I would probably not build a home with one because of the cost of heating all that extra area, but if I liked a home with a cathedral ceiling, I would keep and enjoy it. All the bedrooms in my home have vaulted ceilings though but also have lofts for sleeping or storage as part of this arrangement.

It is likely what you spend to lower the ceilings would not be made up for cheaper HVAC bills over a lifetime.
 
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