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. Many older homes have low, flat ceilings that can cause residents to feel closed in. 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 on your home, and what you need to know beforehand. If raising the roof is not in the cards for your home just yet, we also have some of the best tricks for opening up a room.
How to Raise a Roof in Your Home
The first step to raise your roof is to determine whether or not it is 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.
A few factors could make raising your roof impossible, or incredibly costly. These include:
- Your roof’s framing
- How your current electrical wiring is installed
- HVAC ductwork and plumbing that blocks the area
- Chimneys 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 will 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 are 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 depends on the factors involved with your home’s particular roof.
Raising a roof is less costly than many 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 to raise your roof.
- Roof Project Planning: $1,200. 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 housing and building code department. Expect to pay around $1,200 for these services and permits.
- Roofing Removal and Reinforcement: $7,400. 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. The total to remove your current roof and replace it with a structure that can handle a high ceiling, expect to pay around $7,400.
- Electrical Rewiring & Plumbing Restructuring: $4,200. If your current roof and attic setup has electrical wiring and HVAC plumbing pipes that are in the way of your new roof, you will need to them moved and reinstalled to fit your new existing roof structure. This can add up to around $4,200 in total.
- Refinishing the Exterior of Your Home: $7,200. 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 need to be replaced to complete your home’s interior and exterior modification. These remodeling services can add up quickly to around $7,200.
How Long Does it Take to Raise a Roof?
The time it will take to get your roof raised will depend on how large your roof is, and whether your roof is prepared for the project. Expect the project to take four to six weeks from start to finish.
Though the roof may be installed faster than that, you will need to take into consideration any finishing touches. These can include painting exterior walls, adding insulation, and more. If you do not have to deal with major issues like roof restructuring, HVAC plumbing issues, and electrical wiring installation or removal, it will be much quicker and 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 this project involves 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.
Alternatively, they may just have to add load-bearing walls after they demolish the old ceiling to create the vaulted ceilings. Be sure to ask your contractor about your particular ceilings and what the project will entail.
What Happens to the HVAC System?
When a roof or ceiling is raised, there is a strong chance your HVAC system—and electrical system—will be impacted, especially if you have central heating and air conditioning. Working with complicated electrical and HVAC systems is the biggest argument for hiring a roofing 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 attic air conditioning systems will have to be moved. This can be relatively simple 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.
Tips for Making the Most of Lower Ceilings
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 for modifying your low ceiling.
- Take advantage of your home’s bones. If 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 rooms with low ceilings, especially if you live in a historic home.
- Add a French door. 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.
- Use lighter colors. 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.
When you’re ready to start your roofing project, turn to the Modernize pros. We can help you calculate project costs and find a contractor that fits your budget.
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