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vaulted ceiling

Vaulted Ceilings: Pros & Cons


Apr 19, 2020 by Matt Frankel, CFP

Vaulted ceilings are a type of ceiling design that extends upward, as opposed to being completely flat. Vaulted ceilings come in a variety of styles and are a popular design feature in homes. Whether you're considering including a vaulted ceiling in a home you're building or are seeing vaulted ceilings in existing properties during your home search, it's important to realize that vaulted ceilings have both pros and cons.

One important distinction is the difference between vaulted ceilings and cathedral ceilings. A vaulted ceiling typically has the effect of raising a ceiling to a central point or central flat surface and does not typically follow the roof line. On the other hand, a cathedral ceiling is an upward-sloped ceiling that has the same angle and rise as the roof height.

With that in mind, here's a look at the pros and cons of vaulted ceilings in residential homes.

Pros of vaulted ceilings

There are certainly some good reasons to consider vaulted ceilings in a room (or several rooms) in your home:

Feels like more space

A vaulted ceiling adds volume to a space, as opposed to a ceiling that's simply eight or nine feet tall all the way across. This gives a feeling of openness and spaciousness in a room, which can be a big draw to homebuyers.

Adds personality

A vaulted ceiling can make an otherwise "boring" space seem more unique and inviting. They are also highly customizable. Because they don't follow the roof line, vaulted ceilings can be custom designed (within the limitations of the attic space) to match the homeowner's preferences. Vaulted ceilings often incorporate skylights, exposed beams, arches, and more.

Potential drawbacks of vaulted ceilings

There are few design choices that are right for everyone, and vaulted ceilings aren't one of the exceptions. Here are some potential drawbacks to consider before purchasing a home with vaulted ceilings or adding them to your current home:

It is more space -- to heat and cool

A vaulted ceiling doesn't just give the feeling of more space in a room; it is more space in a room. And that's not always a good thing. If a vaulted ceiling adds, say, 20% to the volume of a room, expect to pay 20% more to heat and cool the space. This effect can be even more dramatic in the winter -- after all, heat rises.

Difficult to maintain

Vaulted ceilings are more difficult to clean than traditional ceilings, especially if they're so high that they can't be reached with a standard ladder. And if you've ever had to change a light bulb that's 12 feet or more off the ground, you know it isn't the easiest -- or safest -- home maintenance task.

More expensive to build

A vaulted ceiling is more complicated and difficult to build than a standard ceiling, so you can expect it to add to the construction costs of a new home. The actual cost depends on the design of the particular ceiling, but the key takeaway is that it will almost certainly add to the price of your home.

The Millionacres bottom line

Vaulted ceilings can be an attractive feature in your home and can potentially add value if they're done well. However, there are some potential drawbacks to keep in mind, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons of vaulted ceilings before deciding whether they're right for you.

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