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I have a large space without walls and when I looked in the attic, it seems like there is a possibility to vault my ceiling. Checking if anyone here could help me to figure it out. What are my options for vaulting this thing?Attic

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  • That space appears to be an addition onto the existing house. Is it? Do you have drawings? – Lee Sam Feb 26 '19 at 4:13
  • Vaulted ceilings can't really be hand-framed. Sure, it's been done, but most have employed engineered trusses. You need appropriate gusseting to provide lateral rigidity. – isherwood Feb 26 '19 at 4:51
  • @isherwood Why can’t standard beam and deck framing be accomplished? That system was done long before engineered trusses. This system would just require a ridge beam, each joist fastened to ridge beam and each joist fastened to the existing exterior top bearing plate. Plus you’d need to transfer the roof load to the foundation, which you’d need for any system. – Lee Sam Feb 26 '19 at 5:08
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    It can, but it involves the complexity you've described and the associated costs. It pushes the boundary of "DIY" for most people. I suspect that the OP was hoping to drop in some different rafters and call it a day. – isherwood Feb 26 '19 at 13:05
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Yes, you can remove the ceiling joists and “vault” the room, but you have several issues: 1) unusual structural system, 2) loss of attic insulation, 3) heating

1) The existing roof joists are supported by a complex set of ridge beam, intermittent vertical supports and a “strongback”. In order to remove the ceiling joists and vault the space, you’ll need to install temporary supports under all existing roof joists, remove the existing vertical supports under the ridge beam and then slip a NEW ridge beam in under the existing ridge beam. (This is going to be somewhat difficult because the existing ridge beam is slightly lower than the roof joists. The new ridge beam will need a notch so it can fit tight to the roof joists.)

After the new ridge beam is in place and supported with a NEW post at each end and each joist clipped to the beam, then the existing ceiling joists and temporary supports can be removed.

The new posts will need adequate footings. You may be luck, because the existing strongback probably has some footing under it at each end.

Installing the beam will be difficult because it could weigh 17 lbs. per foot (for a 6x12) up to 25 lbs. per foot (for a 5 1/8” x 18” glu-lam). Wiggling that into place will take some skill.

2) New attic batt insulation can be installed between each joists, but keep 1” air space between the insulation and roof sheathing for venting. (Be sure to add soffit vents and ridge vents in EACH joist space.)

3) consider how you’ll heat the space...ducts?

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  • I disagree. The rafters appear to be providing the tensile support, keeping the roof up. You can see the occasional collar ties in place there. – Matthew Mar 10 '19 at 15:42
  • @Matthew Do you mean the roof rafters are providing the tensile support? – Lee Sam Mar 10 '19 at 17:00
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There are a a lot of elements to consider when doing something structural like vaulting a ceiling. The good news is they aren't prefabricated trusses so it is a possibility. If you are serious about it have a general contractor have a look. Try to time it for spring so you don't have to worry too much about the heat or cold. This is well out of my area of expertise but someone here will be able to give you more information.

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  • "Have someone else look" doesn't really answer the question. This would have been better as a comment. – isherwood Feb 26 '19 at 13:08

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