Vaulting a porch ceiling


Old 06-23-20, 11:12 AM
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Vaulting a porch ceiling


I am considering my next DIY project but wanted to get some advice before I approach the wife with the new 'project'. I currently have a screened in porch with supporting walls on two sides, and I was wondering what kind of work I was looking at to vault the ceiling. Its currently just a painted plywood ceiling, 13 ft x 16. I was wondering if this was a major tear up in regards to if the ceiling supports are necessary or if the surround beams and center beam were sufficient.

I really just want an opinion on if the 2 x 4's are for the ceiling or if they are actually supporting as tie ins?

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Old 06-23-20, 03:01 PM
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It does not appear as though your ceiling 2x4's are acting as rafter/collar ties though they may be performing some of that role just because they are there.

I'm confused a bit by the big beam running down the center. It looks like it is there for the construction process to help position the ridge board/beam but really isn't performing a structural role.

Your last photo is also curious since I can't see exactly where it is in the space. Again, maybe something that was done for convenience during construction.

I would want to look more closely at the framing, especially around the perimeter at some of the odd bits but it looks like vaulting the ceiling is a possibility. I would look it over carefully though. I don't think getting rid of the porch ceiling is a big deal but cleaning up the framing above to make room for the vault would need a closer look.
Old 06-23-20, 08:54 PM
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By vaulted, you mean cathedral, dont you? Not just a flat or coffered ceiling that is higher?

I think it would be a big project. You couldn't vault it much, and it would likely need to be a hip cathedral. You can't have a gable cathedral on both ends due to the hip roofline in front. I think if I was going to do it, I'd remove the ceiling plywood and cut a hole in the front of the roof to slide in a tall single 1 3/4" LVL (size spec'd by a qualified engineer) that is the length you need, supported by common rafters on each end, front and back and side to side. Rest it on top of or shim it up (or temporarily hang it from the existing ridge) so that it is elevated slightly above your existing 2x (the one that is notched out over the light box.) But keep the LVL in the bottom 1/3 of the total roof height. Then frame in your vaulted ceiling joists on each side of that LVL using hangers on each end of each rafter tie (ceiling joist) to keep the side walls in tension. Maybe raise them up higher than they are now by raising them up onto the rim, or even sit them on top of it if possible.

Once you have that largely built and hangers attached then I'd feel comfortable cutting out the old ceiling structure.

That's a frankenstein-ish roof, I wonder if there is more to the story than what we are seeing. Some pictures of the outside that show the roof structure might help us make more sense of the photos. It looks like there is some built over remodelled structure there. It's the hip rafter coming down from the top if the photo in pic #2 that confuses me. There are no opposing common rafters on the ridge where that descending hip meets the ridge... with just a valley rafter nearby.
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