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vaulted-ceiling

A comprehensive guide to vaulted ceilings

Looking to add elegance and grandeur to your home? Explore the pros and cons of vaulted ceilings, vault styles, and pricing options available to homeowners.

Vivian Tejada
January 8, 2024
Updated:

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A vaulted ceiling is a unique home design that brings elegance and class into almost any home. Coming in a variety of styles and colors, this kind of ceiling can be installed without compromising the aesthetic integrity of the property. However, vaulted ceilings can look a bit archaic if they’re built into the wrong room within the home. They’re also expensive to install and maintain, which may not suit every homeowner.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a vaulted ceiling is and different types of ceiling designs. We’ll also cover the pros and cons of installing this kind of ceiling design, the factors affecting cost, and financing options to accomplish this luxury remodeling project. 

What is a vaulted ceiling?

Characterized by self-supporting arches, a vaulted ceiling sits below a home's roof but above the walls. While some architects and interior designers use the term vaulted ceiling vs. cathedral ceiling interchangeably, they're two distinct ceiling designs. Cathedral ceilings are usually pitched, not arched.

A vaulted ceiling can add sophistication and grandeur to great rooms or smaller living spaces. The kind of ceiling you install will depend on your budget and interior design preferences. Take a closer look at the different types of ceiling designs below:

Barrel 

Barrel ceilings have a half-cylindrical design that brings a smooth finish to a home’s interior. As a result, it softens the edges of a room while still adding a dramatic effect, making this a popular choice for entrances and foyers. Barrel vaults are a minimally invasive renovation, requiring some attic space but few roof modifications. 

Groin

Groin ceilings are an intersection of two-barrel vaulted ceilings. Also known as double-barrel or cross vaults, groin vaults form a 90-degree angle and resemble the shape of a groin. Groin ceilings tend to work well with homes that have rustic and vintage decor, as well as homes that need additional vertical support. However, given their unique design, groin vaults don’t reach as high as other ceiling designs.

Ribbed 

Ribbed ceilings are an intersection of two or three diagonal arches. Similar to barrel ceilings, they don’t require much roof modification, simplifying installation. However, a ribbed vault does need attic space to truly shine. They’re not as common as other types but are certainly a creative option, depending on the look you’re going for. Ribbed vaults tend to work best with medieval architecture and decor.

Dome 

Dome ceilings have one central, recessed dome. This style offers a circular edge, which adds a soft and sophisticated touch to home entryways and offices. Given its unintrusive design, a dome can be placed almost anywhere on your ceiling. Most homeowners prefer to install domed ceilings directly above a doorway or in the middle of a room to create a focal point. 

Pros and cons of vaulted ceilings

A vaulted ceiling can be a beautiful addition to any home. However, this kind of ceiling installation design is not for everyone. Take a closer look at the pros and cons of these types of ceilings  below:

Pros:

  • Elegant and dramatic design: This ceiling design can instantly add a sophisticated and striking effect to any home. Placing this type of ceiling above unused roof structure space gives the impression that the house is bigger than it is.
  • Customizable options: Despite being a dramatic design feature, these kinds of ceilings are customizable. This ceiling design can usually be adapted to your home’s existing aesthetic. 
  • Enhanced natural light: Vaulted designs add extra height to a home’s ceiling. This often allows homeowners to install tall windows or skylights that let in an abundance of natural light. 
  • Value-adding feature: A vaulted design is a unique home feature that isn’t found in many homes. As a result, buyers are often willing to pay more — the feature can add up to 25% in value to a home.  

Cons:

  • Less energy-efficient: Homeowners who prioritize energy efficiency may not prefer these kinds of ceilings. Homes with high ceilings have higher energy bills. This is because heat and cool air circulate over a greater amount of space, prolonging how long it takes to reach comfortable room temperatures. 
  • Difficult to maintain: These types of ceilings require special maintenance. High ceilings are prone to mold and mildew growth, which often requires homeowners to install ceiling fans to aid air circulation. This is worth considering if you prefer a low-maintenance ceiling design.
  • Outdated aesthetic: While this ceiling design is an aesthetically appealing design for many homeowners, it isn’t considered a timeless interior design choice by all. This type of ceiling design may look out of place in a home with little to no old-world appeal. 
  • Expensive project: When compared to traditional flat ceilings, vaulted ceilings are more expensive to build and repair. 
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What factors affect the cost of vaulted ceilings?

Vaulted ceilings can cost anywhere from $4,800 to $38,000. The price depends on several factors, such as the type of construction, location within the home, and labor costs in your area. Take a closer look at these factors below

Construction type 

The type of construction required to install a vaulted ceiling into a home has a significant impact on price. Vaulted ceiling projects generally fall under two categories: new construction and conversions. 

A new construction vaulted ceiling is built into a brand-new home during the construction phase. The average price of a new construction vaulted ceiling is between $16,000 and $21,000

A converted vaulted ceiling usually costs more, ranging from $18,000 to $35,000. This type of ceiling conversion is more expensive because it usually requires additional labor. Renovators often need to remove and reinstall pipes, wires, and rafters, which may require expertise from multiple professionals. 

Location of installation

Where you decide to place this kind of ceiling also impacts cost. It’s best to install this ceiling design in the middle of a room, directly below the roof peak. Placing a vaulted ceiling symmetrically between your home's structural beams helps balance the weight of your ceiling design. One exposed beam probably won't provide enough stability, so aim to install it between two exposed beams. 

The cheapest room to install a vaulted ceiling is in the bathroom, which costs between $12,000 and $18,000. The most expensive place to install this kind of ceiling is in a kitchen and living room, which costs $18,000 to $35,000

Labor 

Vaulted ceilings require the expertise of multiple renovation professionals, such as structural engineers, carpenters, and electricians. Depending on the layout of your home and ceiling design, you may also need to hire a painter, HVAC professional, or drywall expert. Hiring multiple contractors can cause the price of a vaulted ceiling to rise. Labor costs account for as much as $13,500 to $26,250 of total installation costs. 

How to finance a vaulted ceiling

As you can see from the figures mentioned above, these unique features can get expensive. Luckily, there’s more than one way to finance a vaulted ceiling installation. 

Personal loans 

Homeowners can finance a variety of remodeling projects through home improvement loans and personal loans. Once you’ve been approved by a lender, a lump-sum payment will be disbursed to your account. How much you can borrow and when you need to repay the loan will depend on the lender’s policies. While personal loans usually have lower interest rates than credit cards, they’re generally not recommended for expensive home improvement projects.

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)

Another way to finance installation is through a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). Both financing methods allow homeowners to use their homes as collateral in exchange for a lump-sum payment or a credit line. 

Home equity loans offer a lump sum and have a repayment period of 5-30 years. Repayment is made via monthly installments and usually begins 30 days after the loan has been disbursed. 

A HELOC, on the other hand, is a revolving line of credit that has a draw period of up to 10 years. Repayment doesn’t begin until the draw period is up and usually last 20 years. Homeowners can withdraw funds up to the designated limit during the draw period and start paying back the HELOC during the repayment period. 

Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit are attractive options for many homeowners because they allow borrowers to secure lower interest rates. However, the amount you can take out depends on how much equity you’ve accumulated in your home. Most lenders require borrowers to own between 15% and 20% equity in their homes to tap into their home wealth

Home Equity Investments

Homeowners can use home equity to finance their home improvement projects through a Home Equity Investment (HEI). An HEI offers a lump sum of cash in exchange for a share of your home's future appreciation. There are no monthly payments. Instead, homeowners buy back their equity at the end of a 30-year term by selling their home or refinancing it. HEIs make it possible to finance home improvement projects and other life expenses without restricting your monthly cash flow. 

Final thoughts on vaulted ceilings

Vaulted ceilings add elegance and airiness to almost any home. Their customizable design makes it easy for homeowners to incorporate this kind of ceiling into their properties. 

While this type of ceiling comes with several benefits, it tends to be less energy-efficient and demands greater maintenance. Vaulted ceilings are also expensive and complicated to build. Homeowners should weigh out the pros and cons and carefully assess their financing options before moving forward with a vaulted ceiling project.

If you dream of adding luxury to your home but aren’t sure how to fund the home improvement project, consider a Home Equity Investment (HEI) from Point. 

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