How Much Does It Cost to Vault a Ceiling?

Typical Range:

$16,000 - $24,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated June 10, 2022

Reviewed by Robert Tschudi, Expert Home Building and Remodeling Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The total price of a raised ceiling project costs about $19,200 and can range from $16,000 to $24,000 and up. This calculation comes from a 320-square-foot living room in a 2,000-square-foot home. You can help estimate the price by multiplying the square footage of your living room by the average cost to raise a ceiling. What you'll ultimately pay depends on the roof type, changes to structural components, labor fees, and custom designs. 

2022 Notice: Material Prices Are Surging

Demand for siding and other building materials has grown over the past year. And as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 5% to 10% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a building project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.

What Is a Vaulted Ceiling?

A vaulted ceiling traditionally features a series of covered self-supporting arches that make up the ceiling and roof, but nowadays, most people really mean a cathedral ceiling. Cathedral ceilings open to the roof, often with exposed rafters. If installed simultaneously as your roof, a vaulted or cathedral ceiling will increase the roof cost by up to 20%. If installed later, it's considerably more expensive, costing up to 75% more. 

Cost to Vault a Ceiling by Ceiling Type

It costs between $18,000 and $25,000 to vault an 11- to 12-foot ceiling in a 20-by-20-foot room. If you have a drop, drywall, or flat ceiling, the cost to vault it won’t change dramatically since the type of roof you have impacts the price the most.

If you have a stick-framed roof, it’s much easier for pros to complete the job. It’s much more expensive to vault your ceiling if you have a truss roof because these are pre-engineered to bear the weight of your home, so there isn’t a lot of room for customization once they’re installed. If you’d like to change your ceiling but don’t necessarily need to vault it, here are some options and their prices:

Groin Vault Ceiling

At around $4,800 to $10,000, groin vault ceilings are less expensive than cathedral ceilings since they require less modification to the home's structure. You can plaster over a groin vault to make a double-arched domed ceiling or leave it open for a loftier and more rustic look.

Dome Ceiling

Dome ceilings—also known as double-barrel vaults or cross vaults because two crossing barrel vaults essentially form them—cost around $4,800 to $10,000 and are the least complicated vault to add to an existing property. This is because they're so shallow compared to other vaulted ceiling types. Dome ceilings don't require a roof modification and can be placed in just one area or the entire room. Whether it's a single area in a larger space or covers the whole space, a dome ceiling adds height.

Barrel Ceiling

Barrel ceilings form overhead arches but are still shallower than cathedral ceilings and suitable for existing construction. They cost around $4,800 to $10,000. They're shallow enough not to require any roof modification, although you'll lose some attic space. Like the groin vault, you can plaster over a barrel ceiling for a contemporary finish and a rounded ceiling or leave it open for a more traditional look.

Rib Vault Ceiling

Rib vault ceilings cost on average $4,800 to $10,000. A rib vault doesn't require roof modification, but you'll lose attic space. They’re formed from multiple individual arched beams, so the design is more flexible and commonplace in rooms with an odd shape or size where other vaults wouldn't be suitable.

Cathedral Ceiling

Cathedral ceilings cost around $16,000 to $35,000 and are the most expensive because they’re the most complex to build in an existing home, requiring extensive roof modifications. Cathedral ceilings are angular and tend to have a dramatic appearance. Depending on your roof's configuration, you can leave the rafters exposed to maximize the effect.

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Cost of Raising a Ceiling in a House

It costs about $60 per square foot to raise a ceiling in your house, but this doesn’t include the price of raising a roof. Raising a ceiling is a cost-effective way to create more living space in your home, and popular projects include vaulting a family room or living room ceiling or raising the roof of your foyer. Usually, this upgrade is done by appropriating attic space that isn’t being used.

“In the 1990s, the trend of having 9-foot ceilings dramatically changed the way homeowners looked at interior spaces,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and general contractor in Raleigh, NC. “We just renovated a ranch house that had 8-foot ceilings with 10-foot ceilings on the first floor and 9-foot ceilings on the second floor.”

If you have a larger project in mind or need to raise the roof on your home, the price increases considerably. Raising a roof ranges from $15,000 to $125,000 and beyond. If there's a significant structural change, like moving or removing a chimney, you may find the price prohibitive to the work you want done.

Cost to Vault a Living Room Ceiling

It typically costs $12,000 to $18,000 to vault a living room ceiling, assuming a typical size of between 300 and 400 square feet. The living room is one of the most common rooms to vault because it's often the center of family life and does double-duty as the central entertaining space. Vaulting the living room ceiling makes the space feel larger and lighter, with its higher ceiling and open feel.

There are other considerations to make before vaulting your ceiling. You'll pay more for heating because filling the new, larger space uses more energy. Also, keep in mind that this particular renovation doesn't have a high return on investment (ROI) because it's an upgrade that looks great but doesn't add any function or square footage to your home. The new height may also mean you need to hire a pro to clean and maintain the lights and fans in the room.

Finally, vaulted ceilings need a specific type of ventilation that prevents mold growth, which can also help make the heating and cooling process more efficient and have your home and roof maintain their structural integrity.

Cost to Raise a Garage Ceiling Height

It costs between $50 and $200 per square foot to raise the ceiling in your garage. The total price can vary significantly based on factors like the following:

  • Roof type 

  • Local labor 

  • Materials 

  • Attached or detached garage

  • Structural integrity of your house or garage

  • Finishing the garage interior 

  • Replacing the roof, raising the roof, or raising the entire structure

Cost to Raise a Ceiling Into an Attic

It costs about $60 per square foot to raise a ceiling into the attic of your house. Whether you have an accessible attic is less important than the type of roof you have. Raising the ceiling into the attic will affect the roof and structure of your home. A ceiling contractor can tell you a more accurate estimate for your project.

Cost to Raise a Basement Ceiling

It costs between $10,000 and $90,000 to raise your basement ceiling. On a basic level, a contractor has two options to raise the ceiling height in your basement:

  • Dig deeper into the ground: $50,000–$90,000

  • Raise the entire house: $10,000 or more.

People refer to digging deeper as “lowering your basement” or underpinning your basement. It’s an unusual project that’s generally priced per linear foot. For reference, it typically costs between $350 and $450 per linear foot to excavate 2 feet into the ground. Cost factors include things like:

  • Foundation type 

  • Soil type beneath your house

  • Presence of water or utility lines underground

On the other hand, while raising your house is more affordable, doing so can cause drywall cracking, with brick or stone homes more likely to crack. If not done professionally, more serious issues can arise that can damage your home's structure and foundation—and these fixes are expensive.

Cost to Remove a Drop Ceiling

Removing a drop ceiling is between $1 and $2 per square foot, and the overall price depends on factors including:

  • Local labor 

  • Ceiling size

  • Material disposal

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Additional Cost Factors to Raise or Vault a Ceiling

Vaulting a ceiling is a complex job, and there are several different pros you’ll need to consult with and hire to get the job done. The total project price you'll pay is also dependent on any required permits, the type of foundation you have, and the material your house is made from. 

Labor

Labor makes up more than 75% of the cost to vault a ceiling, as it's a complex and time-consuming job that requires the input of many different pros. Here’s a look at the experts who can help you vault your ceiling and the cost to hire them.

Pro Type Average Price Range
Architect $4,000 – $7,000
Demolition and material disposal technician $3,700 – $4,700
Drywall installer $3,900 – $4,900
Electrician $2,000 – $5,000
Engineer $500 – $2,000
Insulation technician $1,300 – $3,300
Painter $1,600 – $2,600
Roof and ceiling contractor $3,600 – $10,600

Permit

The cost of a building permit typically runs between $400 and $1,900. Pros working on your project can help you figure out exactly what you need.

Existing Home vs. New Construction

It's more affordable to have a vaulted ceiling put into new construction, particularly if you're going with a cathedral ceiling. Vaulting a ceiling in a new construction costs around $16,000 to $21,000, including the roof framing price, plus an additional 5% to 20% to cover the modifications and finishing. 

Converting an existing home to a vaulted ceiling costs $18,000 to $35,000. The increased cost is due to the need to remove the existing ceiling, modify the rafters, relocate the plumbing and wiring, and other tasks. 

Pros and Cons of a Vaulted Ceiling

Read the comparison list below to determine the advantages and disadvantages of having a vaulted ceiling.

Pros:

  • Lets more light into the room

  • Opportunity for unique interior design

  • Makes the room look bigger

Cons:

  • Costs more to heat the room

  • Doesn’t have a strong ROI

  • Not a functional upgrade

  • Difficult to paint, clean, or change lightbulbs

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional Ceiling Contractor

Vaulting a ceiling isn’t an easy DIY job. This project impacts the structure of your home, so you must follow local building codes, engineering specs, and other laws. If you decide to move forward anyway with a DIY project, potential issues include:

  • Sagging or bowing roof

  • Structural warping

  • Walls bending outward

The risk of damage to your home and the cost to fix that damage far outweighs any potential savings you could make by doing the job yourself. You're much better off hiring a local ceiling installation pro to tackle the job for you. If you want to save money, do so by tackling some of the smaller finishing jobs yourself, such as drywalling and painting. 

Hiring a pro is also essential if your project involves electrical, plumbing, or HVAC changes. The silver lining? Not all the work that goes into vaulting a ceiling is expensive. For example, the cost to install a ceiling fan is about $250.

FAQs

Can a regular ceiling be vaulted?

Yes, you can vault a regular ceiling. However, you may be limited in vault choices, depending on the home’s structure and the room shape.

What is the cost of a vaulted ceiling versus a flat ceiling?

The cost of a vaulted ceiling versus a flat ceiling is between $1,030 and $25,000. More specifically:

  • You’ll typically pay $1,030–$2,290 to make a vaulted ceiling flat.

  • It can cost $18,000–$25,000 to raise a ceiling.

How much does it cost to install a new ceiling?

A new ceiling installation costs between $900 and $2,300.

Is there a way to get a raised ceiling look without the cost?

Many homeowners can remodel ceilings with what's called a "tray ceiling," which looks like an inverted tray. You most often see these in dining rooms and bedrooms, but this type of ceiling can enhance any room.

How much does it cost to raise the roof on a house?

Raising a house roof costs between $15,000 and $125,000 or more. 

Can you raise an 8-foot ceiling?

Yes, you can raise an 8-foot ceiling. The price may be prohibitive if you have a truss roof, so talk to a home remodeling contractor near you about the cost of raising your ceiling.

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