I've gotten a lot of help from browsing this forum, but coming up short on this questions... any advice and guidance is appreciated.

200 year old home in hot/humid area. Converting attic space into finished area, its been used as an unfinished living area already for decades before we bought it.

The existing attic is 17′ wide and 13′ from knee wall to knee wall.

  • 2×8 bargeboard rafters spaced out 29″-32″ (lots of variation, old house)
  • Roof sheathing directly above rafters
  • collar ties closer to the peak on the roof, all 2×4
  • rafter ties (I think) below that (see crude diagram), some 2×6 and some 2×8 (old house)

We have framed in knee walls, and sloped walls on the rafters. Insulation/framing for these areas is all worked out already.

My question now is about the drop ceiling portion, which will be at the top of the sloped walls, essentially creating a smaller attic in this area. The idea is to have a higher ceiling, while still having room for some duct work and insulation and venting above it, and having the rafter ties exposed in the room. I dont want to move them because it seems silly to mess with something thats been working 200 years, and they’re nice looking old wood.

HOW do i frame this ceiling? It would be connected to walls on either end. But would span 17′ between them. I’m using southern yellow pine and it has to be supported every 8 feet i guess. How do I support this span? Can I put supports parallel to the rafter/collar ties in between them? Or support it with queen/king posts from the rafters? Will that add too much weight to the roof? Do I need support columns for the ceiling in the middle, going down to the floor?

Any help appreciated.

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  • Is there venting in the soffits, and the rooftop or gables? (Outside air needs to flow freely under the roof.) Mar 12 at 0:52
  • Yes! Thank you. There is a venting system in place from soffit to ridge. Mar 12 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


If you want the ceiling there, you'll add an additional layer of collar-tie like lumber tied into the rafters to hold it up.

  • Thank you! Is there any concern that that would put too much strain or weight on the roof? Or should I not worry about that? Mar 12 at 2:12

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