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How Much to Add a Vaulted Ceiling?

A customer recently asked what it would cost to add a vaulted ceiling to their new home.  Because the home was still in the design phase, the change will still be affordable.  Here’s a look at the analysis and breakdown of the costs.

Assumptions

It’s common for builders to quickly respond with a price when asked about this type of change.  The problem with these quick estimates is that they are almost always high.  The best way to go about pricing this change is to first define the project characteristics and specifications as noted below.

Room Size:  15’x20′ (with vault line running with the 20 foot dimension)

Ceiling Insulation:  Blown Cellulose for flat ceilings, Fiberglass batts for sloped

Roof Structure:  Manufactured Trusses

Ceiling Finish:  Drywall

Bearing Walls:  Walls parallel to the vault line can support intermediate bearing of the trusses

Customer wants to change from a flat ceiling to a vault with Ridge is 3 feet high (over standard ceiling height)

Trades and Suppliers Affected

Adding a vaulted ceiling to a new home to be built is relatively simple.  There are just a handful a trades and suppliers affected by the change including the roof truss supplier, insulation contractor, rough carpenter, & drywall hanger and finisher.  And since this particular new home building project was still in the design phase, there were no re-work costs.  If we were going to add a vaulted ceiling to an existing home, the costs would be much higher for demo and reinstallation (FYI:  It’s typically cost prohibitive to add a vaulted ceiling to an existing home with roof trusses).  Here are the trades and suppliers that will typically require additional money to add a vaulted ceiling in a new home…

Roof Trusses – For additional design, lumber, gussets, and machine setup.

Lumber – Additional cost for truss bracing & drywall backers.

Rough Carpentry – Additional time to line up vault, install backers and bracing.

Insulation – Additional time and material to install batt insulation in sloped ceiling.

Drywall – Additional time and material to hang and finish added ceiling area.

Paint – Added time and material to paint larger ceiling area.

Because a ceiling vault is farther up off the floor, additional scaffolding will be needed to safely install insulation and drywall.

Cost Breakdown

As you probably know, building costs vary across the U.S. due to cost of living differences, building method variations, code differences…etc.  So in order to make this estimate more applicable to a national audience, we have applied some national cost averages from the Craftsman 2013 National Construction Estimator.  We’ve combined these national averages with actual building costs for adding a vaulted ceiling to a new home.  Here is our breakdown of costs for adding the vaulted ceiling based on the project assumptions mentioned above (adding to a new home to be built)…

 

Roof Trusses                      $300

Lumber                               $75

Rough Carpentry              $300

Insulation                           $250

Drywall                                $300

Paint                                     $100

Total Costs                          $1325

Keep in mind, these costs are over and above the standard cost for a flat ceiling.  In other words, without adding the $1325, the house will have a flat ceiling in this room.  It’s also important to mention these costs include trade and supplier markup but no general contractor fee.  If you’re building your own home, these are the only costs you will incur.  However, if you hire a general contractor to build your home, they will add their fee on top of the $1325.  Typically, the general contractor or builder will add an additional 25% to 75% to the actual cost.



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