14 Pros and Cons of Vaulted Ceilings

Even building contractors can struggle to find their excitement when talking about some projects. When the design elements that a homeowner wants are bland and uninteresting, then trying to come up with positive words to say can be a challenge. You won’t find that problem if you begin to discuss the pros and cons of vaulted ceilings.

The vaulted ceiling was once a design element reserved for those who could afford a luxurious home. Now this option is an element in properties all around the world because it is so easy to include this feature in a new construction project. You can even offer it through remodeling if a homeowner is willing to pay for the extra expense.

When you start looking at this option for your home, then you’ll want to consider the illusion of space against the cost of the project. Although you’ll technically have more room above your head with which to work, the added area is not usable room. There is no extra square footage that you obtain with this option, so it could be a project that doesn’t add a tangible value to your property.

If you’re thinking about a vaulted ceiling for your new home or remodeling project, here are some of the key points that you’ll want to consider.

List of the Pros of Vaulted Ceilings

1. There is extra room for windows with a vaulted ceiling.
When you have a vaulted ceiling incorporated into your housing plans, then you have an opportunity to include extra windows in your design. You can also have taller windows with this option, which means there is more natural light that can come into your space. If your windows face to the north (or the south in the southern hemisphere), then you can have a warmer room in the winter, cooler spaces in the summer, and a lot of extra space so that it feels like you can breathe in all seasons.

2. Vaulted ceilings make your rooms far more interesting.
When you have a vaulted ceiling in a room, then the natural inclination is to look upward. That’s because the added room above your head creates excitement, curiosity, and wonder. If you add timber elements, artwork, or a skylight into your design, then you can add some warmer tones to your space with visually interesting details that will make everyone want to use that space. It’s a far better option to consider when compared to the standard 8-foot white ceiling.

3. There is more space for your hot air to move about with a vaulted ceiling.
When you have a well-executed vaulted ceiling design, then you are creating an escape route for the hot air in your home as it begins to rise. You can then install ceiling fans that will suck up that warmth in the summer to give you a cooler space or blow it back downward during the winter months. Because there is more room for movement, you’ll typically have fewer issues with staleness, odor generation, and air quality when you incorporate this design element into your interior design.

4. Vaulted ceilings provide a property with a rustic visual aesthetic.
You have multiple design options to consider when including a vaulted ceiling with your home’s construction plans or remodeling project. Many homeowners choose to keep it a blank slate to benefit from the natural tones. You can paint it a darker color to draw the eye downward or go lighter to encourage people to look upward.

Vaulted ceilings can use rough-hewn rafters as a way to add more framework and support to the ceiling will offering a unique visual aesthetic. There is the option to add a fireplace in most homes so that you can have an extra level of charm. It may be somewhat costly if you include all of the potential features that can go into a vaulted ceiling design, but it is also a way to add a lot of value to your property for a later sale.

5. You will get to make the most out of your roof space.
Vaulted ceilings eliminate the idea of having an attic. That can mean less space for storage, but you will also remove the problem of an empty roof cavity that you might never use. Some homes might have a small attic for insulation, venting, or similar needs, but that isn’t necessary in all circumstances – especially if your plans involve installing this option in only one room. You’ll have more interest in the design elements of your property without impacting the overall viability of your living area.

6. Vaulted ceilings can add a sense of grandeur to your home.
If you like the idea of creating a sense of awe for your property, then the grandeur that becomes available with a vaulted ceiling is second-to-none with the design options that are available right now. Although lesser designs can provide an acceptable result for a lesser price, you’ll find that this option can match your lifestyle and personality with relative ease. There might be a cost involved that may not be acceptable for some homeowners, but it will help you to transform any space with your furnishings and accessories in a unique way.

List of the Cons of Vaulted Ceilings

1. There are times when the rooms with a vaulted ceiling can be challenging to heat.
If the weather is dark and gray outside, then the extra space that you create with a vaulted ceiling can put some pressure on your heating and cooling bills. Because heat rises in that circumstance, especially if the weather outside is a little cold, then the utility costs that you face with this design could double. One of the ways you can counter that problem is to install double-glazed windows, but that means an extra capital expense to consider when building or remodeling your home.

2. Some rooms can feel like they are too open with vaulted ceilings.
Vaulted ceilings work well if you are considering one for your living room, an entertainment room, or a similar space where your family can gather together as a group. When you begin to design your bedroom, this plan is not as beneficial. Most people like to have a bedroom space that creates a feeling of coziness, safety, and comfort. Because of the openness of this design, especially if there are several windows involved with it, the area can feel uncomfortable at a time when you’re the most vulnerable in your home.

3. Even with perfect execution, your energy efficiency levels may go down.
Homes that have at least one vaulted ceiling will typically see a decrease in their energy efficiency levels because there is no place for the hot air to escape. Although this isn’t generally a problem during the summer months, it can be antagonizing expensive because your hot air can get trapped near the ceiling with no place else to go. You can add solar elements to the space as a way to reduce the impact of this issue, but cold-weather environments may benefit more from a lower ceiling if you’re trying to remain energy efficient with your design.

4. Caring for a vaulted ceiling can require a lot of effort.
One of the reasons why most homeowners decide to leave a vaulted ceiling vacant of ceiling fans or light fixtures is because the extra height makes it a challenge to take care of your household chores. Trying to reach up high enough to dust off the fan blades or change a light bulb can be problematic without the necessary equipment. If you don’t like the idea of climbing high on a ladder to take care of these issues, or you don’t want to risk having a fall, then you will want to add these factors into the design element of your room.

5. It is challenging to create a vaulted ceiling after the house is complete.
Most vaulted ceilings are part of the initial building plan for a home. Although it is possible to complete a remodeling project with this option if you want, the cost of doing so can be somewhat limiting. You’ll need to hire a structural engineer to evaluate the construction of your house, bring an architect into the mix to draw up new plans, and reconsider your insulation plans as well. Some jurisdictions will want a complete assessment before and after the project before they’ll sign off on the new design as well. That means this one project could run tens of thousands of dollars.

6. Vaulted ceilings can sometimes make your property look dated.
This disadvantage is somewhat subjective, but there are people who see vaulted ceilings as an option that came from an earlier period of building. When the global economy experienced a surge in the 1980s and early 1990s, people invested into this design element as a way to show off what they had earned. It can be viewed as a period of excessiveness that turns some potential buyers away.

7. You’ll need to ship in components to create your vaulted ceiling.
Vaulted ceilings typically use a scissors truss to create the final look. Although some builders will create them on-site at your property, the vast majority of contractors will ship them in after they were built off-site by a specialized organization. This option gives the project managers an extra level of assurance in the quality of the project. It can also make the building aspect of the ceiling go a lot faster since the crew can swing them into place and attach them rather quickly.

8. You can have moisture buildup issues occur with vaulted ceilings.
Vaulted ceilings can become problematic in rooms where there is a high level of moisture content on a regular basis. Bathrooms and kitchens need to have powerful exhaust fans available so that there are no issues with water retention in the ceiling area. If you already live in an environment where it remains wet outside consistently, you could find issues with mold and mildew accumulation occurring in the hard-to-reach seams that are at or near your ceiling level.

Verdict on the Pros and Cons of Vaulted Ceilings

Vaulted ceilings provide homeowners with an exciting design element that can increase the amount of visual space that is available for a property. This option may not work for every home, especially if you’re thinking about a remodeling project, but it can be a worthwhile addition to a new construction project.

If you’re not sold on the idea of having a vaulted ceiling for your home, then consider having a tray ceiling installed instead. This option looks more like a conventional flat design, but it creates a center portion that is about one foot taller than the rest of the space to give you an element of added space. You’ll get the feeling of airiness while improving the maximum insulating value for that room.

The pros and cons of vaulted ceilings are essential to consider if you’re in the design phase of your dream home. Consider each option carefully to know if you’re making the correct choice.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.