Raising Your Home's Roof or Ceiling
There’s no denying that high ceilings can add dramatic and beautiful aesthetics to a room or make the entire space feel more open and airy. However, not every home was built with high ceilings. For instance, many older homes have low, flat ceilings that can cause residents to feel claustrophobic. If you find yourself dreaming of high ceilings or researching roof-raising contractors, we’re here to help. Here are some guidelines for how to raise the roof at home and what you need to know beforehand. If raising the roof isn’t in the cards for your home just yet, we’ve also got some of the best tricks for opening up a room.
How to Raise a Roof in Your Home
The very first step in raising your roof is to determine whether or not it’s actually possible. If you have an attic, then there is a high probability you can raise the ceiling in the room beneath it. If you don’t have an attic, check the plans to your home to find out about your roof—specifically your roof structure. Generally, there are two types of roof structures: stick and truss. Truss roofs are the ones that are easier (and most commonly) raised. You can still raise stick roofs, but it will most likely require you to tear down the existing roof and rebuild the structure.
Some things you’ll want to take into consideration that could make raising your roof impossible or incredibly costly would be your roof’s framing, how your current electrical wiring is installed, HVAC ductwork and plumbing could be blocking the area, also if you have a chimney and it is attached to the portion of the roof you want raised. These are the main things to first think about before calling a contractor to estimate a cost for raising your roof.
You’ll also need a building permit if you plan to raise ceiling height in your home, especially if you will also be modifying your roof-line. Contact the residential permit department in your area to find out more about requesting a permit. If you choose to hire a roof contractor, they will pull the permit for you. Failure to obtain the right permit for the job before you start may seem like you’re saving time and money, but it’s an unwise choice. Not having the proper permits if something goes wrong or if you try to sell your home will just cause a bigger headache in the end. Trust us on this, get your permit before you start working on your roof!
How much does it cost to raise a roof?
Like most roofing projects, the total cost to raise your ceiling all depends on the factors involved with your home’s roof. Raising a roof is less costly than other home improvement projects and makes a dramatic difference in your home’s living space. The total average cost to raise your home’s roof could range from $15,000 to $20,000. See our list below to understand the costs that would add up for raising your roof.
Roof Project Planning: You will need to consult with structural engineers who can plan for your home’s roof raise and get the appropriate permits from your local city housing and building code department. Expect to pay around $1,200 for these services and permits.
Roofing Removal and Reinforcement: When you raise your current ceilings you’ll have to remove your current roof and dispose of the materials. When removing current roofing materials, you’ll also have to reinforce the new higher ceilings with brand framing work. In total to remove your current roof and replace it with a structure that can handle a high ceiling you could expect to pay around $7,400.
Electrical Rewiring & Plumbing Restructuring: If your current roof and attic setup has electrical wiring and HVAC plumbing pipes that will be in the way of your new roofing structure, you will need to have these wires and plumbing moved and reinstalled to fit your new existing roof structure, this can add up to around $4,200 in total.
Redoing the Exterior Finish of Your Home: When you remove your current roofing, you are also removing the exterior parts of your home which can affect your home’s paint, siding, insulation, and overall appearance. All of these things will need to be replaced to complete your home’s interior and exterior modification and be aesthetically pleasing inside and out. These remodeling services can add up quickly to around $7,200.
How long will it take to raise my roof?
The time it will take to get your roof raised on your home will depend on how large of a roof you are raising, and how ready your current roof or attic is for starting the project.You should probably expect it would take four to six weeks from start to finish to have a fully finished project inside and out though the roof may be installed faster than that, you’ll need to take into consideration any finishing touches such as painting exterior walls, insulation, etc. If you aren’t dealing with major issues with roof restructuring, HVAC plumbing issues, and electrical wiring installation or removal it will be much easier and you could expect a quicker turnaround for your roofing project.
Raising Ceiling Height
If you want to just raise your ceiling, you will still need to pull the appropriate permit from your city government. In most cases, raising the ceiling means your home will now boast vaulted ceilings! But it’s more than just tearing down your old ceiling. Your contractor will work with structural engineers to ensure that your ceiling and roof are still strong enough to support your home and keep you protected from the elements. Depending on your home’s structure, they may still have to strip your ceiling to the studs and rebuild from there—as they would if they had to rebuild your roof—or they may just have to add load-bearing walls after they demolish the old ceiling to create the vaulted ceilings.
What Happens to HVAC?
When a roof or ceiling is raised, there is a strong chance your HVAC system—not to mention your electrical system—will be impacted, especially if you have central heating and air conditioning. Working with electrical and HVAC systems is the biggest argument for hiring a contractor to work on this renovation project. A contractor will keep you from being injured and will also make sure your home is safe.
If your higher ceilings go into your attic space, depending on how high it goes, your in attic air conditioning systems will have to be moved. This can be relatively simple to do if the attic is large or the ceilings are not raised dramatically. But regardless of how high the new ceilings are, ventilation will have to be re-routed through the new air ducts.
Is Raising Your Roof Possible?
If you have met with a contractor and you find that your home is not the best candidate for having the ceiling raised, or if the renovation is cost-prohibitive, there are still options for you. Raising the roof may not be an option anymore—unless you’re on the dance floor—but you can still work with your low ceiling.
Since you have your home’s blueprints accessible, take a look to see if there are any beams hiding in your ceiling. Exposed beams or planks are a popular way to make the best of low-ceiling-ed rooms, especially if you live in a historic home. Take advantage of the structure—or bones—of your home.
You can also change other elements in your home to open up the space instantly. Adding a French exterior door in place of a wall will create a visual interest and brighten up the space immediately. For privacy, install a pull-down shutter and cover the windows to the doors at night. Another trick to create the feeling of space within a room is to use light paint colors. Bright whites or grays are popular colors, and to keep it interesting you can try out different finishes like high-gloss or matte options.
Have you had experience with raising the roof or a ceiling in your home? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!