Is a Vaulted Ceiling the Right Option for Your Self-Build?

There are lots of considerations when you are involved in a self-build that allow you to make the house just what you want.  One area to consider is creating a sense of space and openness that many people favour.  A popular way to do this is with a vaulted ceiling – so is it the right option for your self-build?

Vaulted ceiling styles

There are several different styles that are popular in vaulted ceilings.  Symmetrical spans that reach a centre apex point are popular as are rounded ceilings and even partially vaulted systems that give a contemporary twist to the style.

The tall, cathedral style ceilings are perfect if you want to have open plan living areas as they create a great sense of height and space.  They work for extensions as well as for main rooms although watch for regulations about the height of the extension – it can’t be above the highest point of the main house.

Vaulted ceilings are often used in loft conversions although these tend to be lower than achieved in other areas.  Using dormer windows or rooflights can work in this type of project to add room and light into the loft.  In fact, rooflights and windows are common in many styles of vaulted ceiling for the same reason.

Details of the design

Vaulted ceilings can be used to show off trusses and rafters in the roof, whether they are real structural elements of faux design elements.  This is particularly popular with timber and oak framed buildings where the beauty of the real wood can be made into a feature.  But other industrial looks can also work too, such as steel ties.

Mezzanines and galleried landings are used to make the most of the extra height of a vaulted ceiling and allow you to create more floorspace without losing that open plan style.  Room pods are another way to break up the space without losing the height and are popular in barn conversions.

Is it right for you?

Of course, not every project will suit a vaulted ceiling.  For example, they can easily be incorporated into complete new builds but to adapt an existing property to have such a roof isn’t always practical.  Similarly, with a new extension, you can add a vaulted ceiling if it meets the regulations, but it can be harder to change an existing ceiling to this style.

You also want to consider the lighting of the vaulted ceiling.  Direct artificial lighting up to the vault at night creates a stunning effect and will highlight the unusual ceiling shape so go for wall washers and uplighters.  Also, consider glazing – as mentioned, rooflights and windows are popular options for this style of roof to allow natural light in.

Finally, consider heating of the area – larger open plan areas do take more heating than those with lower roofs.  So, factor this into your decision-making process especially around the type of windows and rooflights that you use.  You may even want to consider electric operation blinds to cover them at different times of the year.