Armchair Builder

Low Cost/Big Impact Home Details

Barrel Vaulted Ceiling

Barrel Vaulted Ceiling

This is a new segment we will be doing here at Armchair Builder…featuring low cost design items that have a big impact.  The idea is to increase what builders call perceived value without adding a ton of cost.  Can anyone tell me what this picture is showing?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Yes. This is the framing for a barrel vault.  A barrel vault is basically a vault that has been made into a radius instead of a straight peak at the top.  In this post we will discuss the details of the barrel vault including how much it costs, how it’s built, and the benefits associated with it.

Benefits: The barrel vault makes your room feel bigger without actually making it bigger.  The volume ceiling created by the barrel vault also helps keep occupants cooler on hot summer days/nights by allowing the warm air to rise.  The other nice benefit of this type of vault is the lower drywall maintenance.  Most vaults that come to a single peak have a tendency to crack.  This crack needs to be caulked or re-drywalled on a regular basis.  The radius curve of the barrel vault eliminates the angle.

Subcontractors Involved: As an owner-builder, it’s nice to know what subcontractors are affected by a given plan change.  To add a barrel vault to your new home building project, you will need help from your roof truss and lumber supplier, rough carpenter, insulation company, drywall contractor and painter.  For our project, we had our truss supplier send regular vaulted trusses and then we had our rough carpenter cut the radius out of 2xs on site.  Using a chaulk line, the carpenter applies the radius pieces to the sides of the trusses to form a barrel along the axis of the ceiling.  The reason for cutting the radius on site is because sometimes the roof trusses need to be adjusted slightly in the field which would throw off the barrel vault if applied at the truss factory.  The drywall contractor scores the backside of the drywall board and bends each piece to conform to the radius of the ceiling.

Cost: The cost to add the barrel vault in our project was $1060.  The breakdown for our project was as follows:

  • Roof Trusses: $250
  • Rough Carpenter:  $250
  • Lumber:  $60
  • Drywall:  $250
  • Paint:  $100
  • Insulation:  $150

The room we added the barrel vault to was 15′ by 14′.  You may not be able to add this architectural ceiling detail if you have a hipped roof.  With this style of roof, the clearance at the side walls is minimal.  Check with your architect to verify this.

The barrel vault is a nice, custom architectural detail with a high perceived value…something to consider for your new addition or custom home.

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1 Comment for Low Cost/Big Impact Home Details

Vaulted Ceiling...Opening up your home for a bigger feel- Armchair Builder :: Blog :: Build, renovate, & repair your own home. Save money as an owner-builder. | November 16, 2012 at 6:05 am

[…]  barrel vault – a radius connects two angled ceiling planes […]