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I have vaulted ceilings in the main living space. Internally there are 2x6 joists between the roof and the drywall and the insulation I am guessing is original from the 1960's so this section of roof is probably around R-value 10 or something. I live in Iowa and looking into options for decreasing heating and cooling costs. I know of cheaper things to do first, but this question is looking at if there is anything to done about this portion of the house. Those are 2x12 support beams (each of the three here are a sister'ed pair) running across with decorative face. enter image description here

I was wondering what is the easiest cost effective way to increase the R-value here?

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The question is going to bring many subjective ideas and opinions. "Easy" isn't the same for everyone, and specific insulation goals come into play. "Cost-effective" is also an ethereal term. It depends on energy costs, material costs, expected duration of ownership, etc. All I can offer is some general advice.

Here in Minnesota we don't have many roofs like this, but there are some. The most common fix is a roof overlay--either as a "hot roof", with layers of foam laid directly on the old sheathing and a second layer of sheathing on top, or as new parallel-chord or scissor trusses. The latter allows ideal ventilation over new blown or batt insulation. It also tends to increase fascia height and/or overhang length, which changes the appearance of the home a bit.

You could also pull down your drywall and beam wraps and add ceiling joist depth. Depending on the ceiling height at the low end this may not be viable.

The bottom line is that there's no "easy" here, and there's probably no "cheap", either. Consider your budget, your long-term motivation, aesthetic factors, and then do some material pricing. Be honest with yourself about how big a project you're willing to commit to, and what outcome you'll accept as being worthwhile.

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    OP stated they are support beams with decorative covering. Pulling them down would not be good if they are supports.
    – crip659
    Feb 22, 2022 at 22:28
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    they are real 2x12's in under that cherry color facing so I am assuming they are structural
    – dmoody256
    Feb 22, 2022 at 22:30
  • if I brought the drywall down, could it hang on some kind of extender? Like I imagine cutting some 2x4's into 8" segments, placing them perpendicular downward to the joists, and just drilling a really long fastener all the way through?
    – dmoody256
    Feb 22, 2022 at 22:34
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    Would try to find where you are losing the most heat to the outside first. Companies or buy/rent a heat sensor should tell where to place your money first for the biggest bang. Don't want to spend thousands on the ceiling if a couple hundred sealing drafts will do.
    – crip659
    Feb 22, 2022 at 22:42
  • @crip659, I specifically said the "faux beams"--meaning the wraps. The implication is that either the ceiling would be lowered to conceal them or that they'd be re-wrapped after the renovations.
    – isherwood
    Feb 23, 2022 at 13:39

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