Incorporating a vaulted ceiling to your house design

Matthew Charlton's avatar

Matthew Charlton | 15/11/19

Vaulted ceilings can be a great feature to an extension or sometimes incorporated into an existing property.  

Some older properties possess fantastic original trusses and rafters that are often hidden over years by flat ceilings and roof structures.  As seen in series 5 episode 2 of George Clarke’s Old House New home where the period gatehouse cottage had its original rafters exposed to create a fantastic high ceiling living area.

Additionally within a new build property or home extension adding a vaulted ceiling can provide a great design detail and the feeling of open space.

There are a few considerations that need to be explored before you embark on a vaulted ceiling.

  • How will the roof be braced?  Most ceilings have a structural element that is butted up against the roof rafters, if these cross supports are removed then there is the risk the ceiling will sag or fail.  There are a number of options:
    • Installation of a strong center roof beam.  This provides support for the rafters.  For this method to structurally work the roof beam would need to be supported at each end by a column. 
    • Construction of new rafters which rise closer to the ceiling.  This structural design not only provides significantly more support, but it also adds overall visual interest to the vaulted ceiling.
  • A vaulted ceiling is usually accompanied by windows or skylights, which flood your space with natural light; however, consideration needs to be given to glazing options to decrease energy requirements for heating/cooling.  In addition, glazed gables aesthetically partner well with vaulted ceilings although if this area of the property is south facing consideration will need to be given to the amount of natural sunlight that will be coming through.  Review and research motorised openings and automatic blinds designed specifically for glazed gables to ensure you get the best use out of your new space.
  • Insulating the vaulted ceiling.  With high ceilings can come heating loss and it could be a difficult room to heat.  There are several options for insulation; the simplest option is to install rigid insulation sheets over the rafters.  This not only provides insulation, but also the structural function of enclosing the roof. However, should you wish to expose the rafters this is not an option, instead insulation boards would need to be fitted against the underside of the roof between the rafters. 

At Upright Construction we have worked on a number of projects which have successfully included a vaulted ceiling both in new build properties, house renovations, and extension projects, click here to view an example of our work.  If you’re looking to undertake a home build project and want to review your approved plans with a member of our team call us on 01737 245040, we would be more than happy to offer our advice and a building quotation.

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