Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Vaulted ceilings are a highly popular feature with many current home buyers, as they can add a sense of elegance and grandeur to a room. But does it add value to a home? And if they do, how can you add them to your existing home?
Vaulted ceilings add value to a home by making rooms feel more spacious. Typically, they accommodate larger windows or skylights, which means more natural light. Under some circumstances, vaulted ceilings may lead to higher energy costs, but the trade-off is worth it in most cases.
There are multiple factors to consider when evaluating the potential added value of a vaulted ceiling. Read on to discover how to decide what a vaulted ceiling is worth to you.
How Much Value Do Vaulted Ceilings Add to a Home?
The extra value created by a vaulted ceiling depends on the type of home and the market in which it is located. Factors like the overall room size, amount of natural light, and details like the inclusion of exposed beams or other ceiling architecture all have an impact on how much value the vaulted ceiling will add to your home.
Vaulted ceilings may add as much as 25% in value to a home in some markets, especially those with older or smaller houses. In higher-end houses, however, vaulted ceilings are an expected feature. As a result, they are unlikely to add much additional value to the property.
Additionally, the overall size and condition of the property are relevant.
If the house is poorly laid out or has other significant flaws, a vaulted ceiling will not make up for lost value. Overall square footage, the quality of the fixtures and finishes, and the presence or absence of adequate storage will all have more impact on home value than the height of the ceilings.
Best Places To Include a Vaulted Ceiling
Any room can theoretically have a vaulted ceiling. Most people, however, find greater value in having vaulted ceilings in the more “public” areas of the house, such as entryways, entertainment areas, and living rooms.
These are all good options since they are the rooms that form the first impression of a home for most guests.
Bedrooms with vaulted ceilings can be dramatic and feel spacious, but in some cases, that can be too much of a good thing. Many people like their more private spaces–their bedrooms and bathrooms–to feel cozy.
A very high ceiling can make that more difficult by making the room feel too exposed.
As for vaulted ceilings elsewhere in a house? Well, no one ever walked into a laundry room and thought, “Wow, this 20-ft (6-m) ceiling really makes a statement!” A vaulted ceiling in a room that most people will never see is probably a waste of money better spent elsewhere.
Adding a Vaulted Ceiling During Renovation
Homeowners frequently consider adding a vaulted ceiling to one or more rooms during renovations, especially where it’s impossible to expand the house’s footprint. Whether or not it is cost-effective or even feasible to vault a ceiling will depend on several factors, including:
- Pre-existing attic space: Do you have attic space above the room where you want to build a vaulted ceiling? Then you might be in luck. If the area where you want to vault the ceiling is directly beneath the exterior roof or a second story, however, you’ll probably have to abandon the idea. Changing either of those features will require major structural renovations, and it is seldom worth the money.
- Type of roof framing: If your attic has rafters, it could be a good candidate for a vaulted ceiling. However, if the roof is framed with trusses, the process will likely be more complicated and expensive.
- The current location of existing ductwork, electrical wiring, and plumbing: Most of these can be moved, but under some circumstances, doing so might be impossible or may make the project too expensive.
Vaulting a ceiling is not a do-it-yourself project and can be quite expensive. Before undertaking such an extensive renovation, you should carefully consider what you’re hoping to get.
If you are looking for added enjoyment of your home, it might be worth some additional expense. However, if you are seeking additional resale value, consider the market and your home’s other features before making such a commitment.
How Much It Costs to Vault a Ceiling
The cost to vault a ceiling can vary widely depending on location and the precise nature of the project. It’s significantly cheaper to include vaulted ceilings in new construction than add them in the process of renovation.
When considering a project, it is important to consider the totality of the circumstances.
For example: adding a vaulted ceiling to the living room of a newly-constructed house is almost certainly worth the additional expense, while completely rebuilding the roof to raise the ceiling in an older house in a modest neighborhood is probably not.
Cost of Vaulting a Ceiling in New Construction: According to Bob Vila, you can expect to spend 5-20% more on a vaulted ceiling than on a standard ceiling, as both the materials and labor will be more expensive. Very high cathedral ceilings and ceilings with lots of ornate detailing will increase the cost further.
Cost of Raising a Ceiling During a Renovation: According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to raise a ceiling is around $60 per sq ft (0.09m), but it ranges between $50 and $75 per square foot (0.09 m). These figures assume no major roof or other structural changes are required.
Disadvantages of a Vaulted Ceiling
Despite the popularity of vaulted ceilings, they do have some disadvantages. Whether you’re purchasing a new home with vaulted ceilings or considering adding them during a renovation, here are some potential issues to keep in mind:
- Loss of additional living space: Depending on the height of the ceiling, you could be giving up space that would have been part of a finished second story. Losing square footage means a corresponding loss of value.
- More complex cleaning and maintenance: The height of vaulted ceilings means cleaning, repairs, and repainting are all more difficult. If you have to hire a professional to handle problems, it will be an additional expense.
- Additional noise: Higher ceilings can make a room seem louder because there is more opportunity for sounds to echo.
- Higher heating and cooling costs: Heat rises, meaning that you’ll have to work harder to keep the living area comfortable in the winter. In the summer, that pool of warm air may mean the room requires more air conditioning. Costs will be higher in older, less energy-efficient homes. In modern homes, the additional costs may be negligible.
- Required ventilation: Very high vaulted ceilings may trap moisture and must have ventilation to prevent mold growth.
Vaulted ceilings are a trend that shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon. Many people like the sense of openness and the feeling of greater size created by a higher ceiling.
If you’re building a house or adding an addition, it’s safe to assume that a vaulted ceiling will make your home more valuable in the long run. For other projects, carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks before you invest.
- Bob Vila: All You Need to Know About Vaulted Ceilings
- HomeAdvisor: How Much Does it Cost to Vault a Ceiling?
- Houselogic by REALTORS: Vaulting a Ceiling: The Cost, Process, and ROI
- MillionAcres: High Ceilings: What You Need to Know
- NeatCeiling: Do High Ceilings Add Value to a House (Yes! They Do!)
- NeatCeiling: Do High Ceilings Cost More to Heat?
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