24x24 16'Ht Garage with a 12x24 Loft

Intent: conversion to an off grid home. Could I lower 1st floor rooms under loft area from 10' a 7' ceiling height to create enough room in the loft area to have a decent sized bedroom?

live in central pennsylvania


  • 2
    Yes, maybe, no. Pictures showing the attic construction will help. Good chance you will have to build a floor for the loft instead of just dropping the ceiling. Depending on construction might need to build a second floor and adding a roof.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 13:35
  • eewww ok - that makes sense. thank you!
    – user172812
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 15:42
  • make an answer out of that, @Ecnerwal
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 19:01
  • 7 ft ceilings will likely make your home un-sellable, and building a new roof might be a similar cost and effort to removing and replacing a ceiling. Then there is the issue of if the roof will stay up without ceiling joists.
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 20:52
  • The International Residential Code specifies 7'-0" as the minimum height for habitable space (living, sleeping, eating, cooking). If you go with 7'-0", then build to 7'-0" (framing at 7' - 0-1/2"), not 6' - 11-3/4".
    – popham
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 22:09

2 Answers 2


If that's a garage built with a "spare room truss" for the roof area, (what it sounds like based on the dimensions) the roof will fall down if you cut away the truss bottom chords (the present floor framing of the loft area.)

Reframing to accomplish what you want is probably more expensive than building a whole new structure as an addition. And doing so will likely need an engineer.

I'd just plan on building the addition (though I might also plan on doing so when and as funds permit if I could make do until then.)


Judging by the specifications described, the second storey attic area has a 6 foot \ 1.8 meter ceiling at the peak, which will allow most people to stand up on the upper floor, at least in the middle. Depending on codes and what the garage is made of, you could increase the pitch of the roof and add shed dormers to maximize upstairs headroom. Mind you, it's sometimes less expensive to build an entirely new building rather than altering an existing one to such a large degree. Since the purpose of your particular project is to build an off grid cabin\cottage, if cost is the most important factor, and it's in a locale that allows alternative construction materials and methods, perhaps creating an off-grid home built of earthbags, straw bale, hempcrete, cordwood, or similar material could be the best option. A little research goes a long way in learning about these alternative materials. Not only are the materials usually cheaper than conventional construction materials, but most of these alternatives don't require special heavy equipment to build out of.

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