A cathedral ceiling in your home adds a beautiful, airy touch, but how can you prevent it from being a money pit of wasted electricity? This type of ceiling, which can soar to multiple stories, costs more to construct, heat, and light. If you're building a new home, work with a reputable contractor to ensure that your trade-off for beauty isn't a costly electric bill each month.
The Downside to Cathedral Ceilings
The expense involved in cathedral ceilings starts at the building stage. Because of the extra materials involved, the cost to frame a cathedral ceiling can be double the cost of a normal room with a flat ceiling.
By creating the extra space between the floor and the ground, heating and air-conditioning units must be robust enough to carry the extra load when heating and cooling the extra space.
Cathedral ceilings are prone to condensation that can compromise how durable the roof is and can affect the home's energy efficiency.
To your contractor, these challenges are easily overcome by using the right materials and the right construction techniques to prevent performance problems in the future.
Making Cathedral Ceilings Air Tight and Moisture Resistant
Contractors have long debated how to solve some of the moisture and energy loss problems associated with cathedral ceilings, and have concluded that insulating the roof plays an important role in energy efficiency and roof performance. They have settled on two "best practices": a ceiling insulated with batt insulation and a gap for ventilation or spray foam installation that needs no venting.
The batt insulation method uses high R-value fiberglass insulation in the roof cavity between the roof and the ceiling, along with ventilation channels under the roof shaping. After the widespread use of cathedral ceilings in the 1970s and 80s, ventilation was seen as the cure-all to prevent moisture buildup and subsequent leaking, heat loss, ice dams, condensation, and rot.
More recently, the construction industry has looked toward properly insulated sloped roof assemblies without vents as a workable approach. When closed cell spray foam is properly applied to the underside of the roof sheathing, the result is an airtight ceiling that will block moisture laden air from entering the home and then condensing on the underside of the roof. This type of construction can keep energy costs lower.
Using a Conscientious Contractor
Regardless of what type of construction the contractor uses for the ceiling, strictly following currently accepted techniques reflected in building codes can make either approach effective. Local codes specify the proper way to install utilities, apply shingles, and use caulking or foam gaskets to seal around electrical boxes, HVAC registers, or any other vents added to the roof for other mechanical systems of the home.
When you hire a contractor to add a cathedral ceiling, you want to make sure that firm is experienced, ethical, and conscientious about doing the job right. Topp Remodeling & Construction is a local Utah contractor you can trust when you want a cathedral ceiling in your new home, remodel, or addition.