Vaulting a Ceiling: The Cost, Process, and ROI

By: Dave Toht

TrayCeiling

Feeling hemmed in? Wish you had more space? If your house has low ceilings, vaulting your ceiling may be the answer.
If your home is a modest-size, single-story tract home with standard, 8-foot ceilings, it’s an ideal candidate for vaulting a ceiling. Depending on how steep your roof pitch is, vaulting a 20-by-20-foot room creates a new ceiling that’s 11 to 12 feet high at its peak. The price isn’t low, though. You’ll pay $18,000 to $25,000.
But that cost will transform your whole house, adding volume and lots of light at a fraction of the cost of adding square footage.

How to know if your home is right for a vaulted ceiling

Take a trip to your attic to look for the following:
• Roof framing: Is your attic framed with rafters or trusses? Rafters are best because of the open space they leave. But if your attic has trusses — a type of crisscross framing — that makes it much more complicated and expensive, costing you 20% to 40% more.
• Chimney: Is your chimney slanting into the space you want to open up? If so, that’s pretty much a deal breaker.
• Electrical lines: Look cable or conduit will be attached to the tops of the joists. Moving wiring is routine.
• Ductwork: Any sheet-metal ducts will have to be rerouted, typically under your house. Rerouting ductwork adds to the overall expense.
• Plumbing pipes: Plastic vent pipes are easy to move; copper or galvanized-steel supply lines less so.
It’s not a DIY project

It’s a messy and potentially dangerous job. You should hire a professional contractor. Your contractor may enlist the expertise of a structural engineer to produce a framing plan.

The contractor’s crew will handle the demolition, framing, insulation, but will sub out the drywall, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. You may want to tackle the painting yourself to save costs, but bear in mind that you’ll be working at heights.

How much time will it take?

For a 20-by-20-foot room, allow at least a month from demolition to the final coat of paint and installation of electrical fixtures. Complications, such as rerouting HVAC ducts, will add to the time it takes to complete the project.

A vaulted ceiling remodel is a great opportunity to add skylights. You may also want to move to a more open plan, removing a few walls to create one large, vaulted space. However, more time for demolition, and installing new flooring and repairs to walls.

What are the costs?

Costs vary according to size of your space and how much the framing and other components have to be changed and moved. Here’s a breakdown for a basic vaulting project:
• planning, structural engineer, and permits: $1,000
• demolition and disposal: $3,700
• reinforce framing, remove ceiling joists: $3,600
• moving, adding wiring: $2,900
• insulation: $1,300
• drywalling: $3,900
• painting: $1,600
Total: $18,000
How does a vaulted affect resale value?

For an otherwise claustrophobic tract home, a vaulted ceiling is a boon.

“A lot of the homes that were built before the ’90s had 8-foot ceilings and a small rooms, giving a kind of a chopped up feel,” says Bill Bartlett, a broker in Newburgh, Ind. He estimates that a vaulted ceiling and an open floor plan can boost a home’s value dramatically — as much as 25%. However, with higher-end homes, such amenities are expected and the premium is less.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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