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Opening up a ceiling

Sullymon's picture

I would like to open up the ceiling in my family room (traditional rafters - 3/12).  What is the easiest way to go about this (least disruption to existing walls/roof).  Thanks in advance.  Tim

(post #97689, reply #1 of 20)

Why?

Just curious how it was put together?

Suspect mold growth?

???

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #97689, reply #6 of 20)

Piffin,


I think he means make a cathedral or great room out of it.


-zen

(post #97689, reply #8 of 20)

Seems to be the consensus. but the impression I had was that he already has a 3/12 vaulted and wanted to open it up so he could see the rafters.

can you tell that I get some pretty ridiculus requests at times?

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #97689, reply #2 of 20)

Sledgehammer and a six pack.


3/12 sounds like a difficult start, can you be more detailed in the existing construction?

(post #97689, reply #3 of 20)

Here is one way to raise a ceiling w/o changing walls or roof (if you have true stick framing rather than trusses). A brief description can be found at post:

55216.7

(post #97689, reply #4 of 20)

I presume there are ceiling joists holding up the existing flat ceiling. These joists also keep the walls from spreading outward under the roof loads. If you remove the flat ceiling to create a cathedral ceiling, you have to keep the roof from sagging another way. This is often done with a structural ridge beam.


Al Mollitor, Sharon MA

(post #97689, reply #5 of 20)

The first thing to do is go up in the attic and look at the directions the ceiling joists and rafters go.  If they're going the same way, so the ends of the joists are keeping the ends of the rafters from spreading apart, you can't just take out the joists without replacing their structural function.  The whole room could collapse. 


I saw a house that was converted into an art gallery once.  They just knocked the rock off the ceiling and left all the joists in place.  They lit it with clamp-on spotlights from above the joists, and they were able to hang things from the joists.  Very versatile, and cheap.  If that look works for you, just stomp the rock down from above.


The other thing you have to consider is how this would affect heating and cooling.  You'd no longer have an attic as a buffer between inside and outside.


 


-- J.S.


 

 

 

-- J.S.

 

(post #97689, reply #7 of 20)

If you are considering making a cathedral out of it, read the posts concerning structural issues.  When the ceiling joists no longer hold up the ceiling, they get called collar ties. Now, someone will hopefully correct me, but you can remove some of them and move others, if certain parameters are met. I think .....and I should capitalize THINK, because my code boook is at work, that you need to leave every third one, but you could move it up a bit....maybe as much as a third of the way to the peak. If you are OK with this look, we can check into the particulars, such as will your construction meet the other requirements, the proper size of the collar tie, the proper fastener schedule, etc.


If you don't want to see any structure, just a vaulted ceiling (and 3/12 won't vault much)  then you will need to support the ridge. there are ways to do that, some easy, some not, but they depend on your existing layout. 


Finally, a word of caution. if this is something you're thinking about doing yourself, hire a consultant, or an engineer to guide you. If you pull a permit, the town will likely insist on plans that are stamped by someone with design authority (engineer, etc..).


Also, keep in mind that if you do this you will need to give particualr attention to insulation and venting. This isn't an impossible task, but it's not a simple one as your first project,....


Fill us in on your location, and if you can, do a quick drawing on the computer, and upload it, or shoot a digital pic of your napkin drawing! Show us where the peak is in relation to the room, direction of joists, and structure below. Thre are lots of smart guys here..all of 'em smarter than me!


Jake Gulick


Lateapex911@optonline.net


CarriageHouse Design


Black Rock, CT

Jake Gulick

Lateapex911@optonline.net

CarriageHouse Design

Black Rock, CT

(post #97689, reply #9 of 20)

Wow thanks for all the input.  The idea is to open up a flat ceiling in a great room to give it a bit more of an open feel.  Not set on any particular design (exposed rafters, etc) but was hoping I could knock out the existing drywall and remove the 2x6 joists and replace their function somehow.  Are you aware of any sites that might show roof examples to get a sense of the options.


Thanks TJ

(post #97689, reply #10 of 20)

Remove ceiling joists.


Add/supplement collar ties to every rafter pair.


Ventilate (or not) and insulate, then drywall to bottom of collar ties.  Creates a vaulted look that flattens out at the top.


Call an engineer 1st, as your results may vary.

(post #97689, reply #12 of 20)

better yet, remove a pair of opposing cieling joists, reinstall them as collar ties, do another pair .... if you remove all the cieling joists at once the walls could spread .. agree with getting this job signed off on ..

(post #97689, reply #13 of 20)

Simply replacing the joists with collar ties can overstress the rafters, if they're marginal to begin with.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #97689, reply #14 of 20)

I'm glad every one has mentioned consulting an engineer, because the cieling joists and collar ties have absolutely nothing in common regarding structural purposes.

The first thing that needs to be known is whether this is a trussed roof system. if so, forget it unless you own the bank.

Then, if a stickframed roof system, The cieling joists may or may not be functioning as rafter ties. if they are, then it may be possible to lift those rafter ties up a bit to a higher level. But they will never be collar ties. A rafter tie functions to keep the roof rafters from spreading and pushing the walls apart while the roof sags. Rafter ties are located in the bottom third of the roof structure.

Collar ties are located in the top third of the roof structure and do little to keep the walls from spreading or the roof from sagging. The purpose of collar ties is to prevent the wind from tearing a framed roof apart the ridge.

Confusing the two is common

but don't let it happen again

;)

edited for spelling errors

Welcome to the
Taunton University of Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
where ...
Excellence is its own reward!


Edited 3/19/2005 7:21 am ET by piffin

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #97689, reply #15 of 20)

Nuff said...


I will reread all my books and such...not sure where I picked up the incorrect terminology.Thanks for the heads up.


Jake Gulick


Lateapex911@optonline.net


CarriageHouse Design


Black Rock, CT

Jake Gulick

Lateapex911@optonline.net

CarriageHouse Design

Black Rock, CT

(post #97689, reply #17 of 20)

the job I did like this we took down all the cieling joists at once. In order for the walls to spread before the  beefier collar ties went in,  thousands of sheathing nails would have to give way on all four sides,  the drywall would tear, all the siding would have to rip apart, etc.  Only gonna happen during construction if theres 3 ft snow on the roof, IMO.


To second what piffin said, Sullymon needs to get an engineer to spec exactly on the rafter where these bad boys would attach, so's they actually do somethin.

(post #97689, reply #11 of 20)

Web sites for your ceiling needs: AskTheBuilder.Com, BHG.com, HG TV boards.  If more info needed, go to Google & search.  Have looked at so many on this subject for new construction, I truly do not remember where I have been.


Then there is the plight of wiring, insulation, moldings, lighting!  I will soon be reviewing these options as soon as we decide if cathedral, vaulted, tray, stepped (still wondering what that is?.  Is only a 2nd time for us to build a home to hopefully include some interesting areas not affordable the first time around.


I plan to follow this thread to learn more.


 

(post #97689, reply #16 of 20)

back to the beginning...

Now you know that this is not a simple weekender kind of project. it can be extremely complicated and potentially dangerous. Not only what will happen but how it happens ha something to do with whether your house will retain it's value and liveability eight or ten years from now.

The structural design will have to be assessed on site and dealt with by a professional.

You will also be impacted by insulation, ventilation, and electrical systems.

I presume you are planning to continue living there while in oprocess?
Picture remodeling the left wing of an airplane while in flight...that might be an extreme example , but the prionciples are the same.

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #97689, reply #18 of 20)

piffin is correct. Collar ties would do very little to replace the job the ceiling joists do in holding the exterior wall straight and plumb.

But honestly, if this is a 1,200 sq. ft. ranch style with a 3/12 pitch roof, (and I have no way of knowing if it is), any of us could take a 10 minute look and see what needs to be done.

Calling an engineer in would be money misspent, IMHO.

More than likely, simply putting a beam under the ridge, plenty big enough and well-supported on both ends, would allow you to remove all the joists and get the most "vault" possible.

I can easily see a scenario where the section of roof you want to work on is part of an elaborate, chopped up, roof system, and an engineer would be needed to determine what could and couldn't be done.

And insulation, ventilation, and utility factors would still need to be addressed. May or may not be a big deal.

This project could be very simple, easily done in a short time by someone who knows what they're doing. Or it could be a little more involved.

One thing you have to remember is that you're not going to "open up the ceiling" much with a 3/12 pitch.



Allen in Santa Cruz



Allen in Santa Cruz

(post #97689, reply #19 of 20)

The other option, again after inspection, is to leave every second or third joist in place (with appropriate reenforcement of the joints).  Depending on the "look" desired that may suffice.


Probably just as tricky is figuring out how to ventillate, insulate, and finish the area after it's opened up.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #97689, reply #20 of 20)

Thanks for the good advice.  I am going to crawl up there today and snap a few pictures.  I think the ridge beam has real promise.  I just wonder about getting the heater duct to the opposite side of the room.  The room in  question is 90 degrees to the main house.  It has a gable end on one side and ties into the main house at the other.  The home is in So Cal (asphalt shingles) so I am not worried about hurricanes, 3 foot of snow, etc. loading the beam.  Like the idea of openning up as much as possible but how to get the ac/heater duct to the opposite side of the room....


Thanks for all of your help.  Tj