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The process of raising the roof on a house explained

No matter the initial square footage of your home, you can always find a way to expand it. The proven solution is to build a second-floor addition by raising the roof. This option is a way out for those who lack room on their property to expand out. The raised ceilings boost the entire home space and make it airier. Nevertheless, no two houses are built the same way. Some buildings, especially those in disrepair or with a stick-framed attic space, are not good candidates for lifting the roof off and then putting it back. The same goes for large tops with complex construction. The cost and labor intensiveness of their lifting may outweigh the benefits. This article explains how to raise the roof on the house and what advantages you may get from resorting to this move. Take your time to get clued in a roof elevation process to avoid possible issues along the way.

The process of raising the roof on a house explained

Table of contents

  1. How to raise a roof in your home? - Factors to consider
  2. Why raise the roof on your house?
  3. What is the average cost of raising the roof?
  4. The expected timeframe to raise a roof
  5. Why rely on expert roof-raising contractors?

Living in a self-occupied house is a dream come true for many Americans. Nevertheless, a small share of people can afford to buy a 2- or 3-stored mansion with high ceilings and enough space for all family members. That makes homeowners use every trick in the book to expand the existing room.

The proven and relatively affordable way to do that is by removing the existing roof and putting it back on top of the new second floor. Aside from making the home more spacious, raising the roof enhances interior aesthetics and elevates ceiling height. It provides space for decoration and makes rooms more spacious. If the foundation is strong enough, you can add an entire floor between the lifted-off roof and the basement. These things combined increase house value and living conditions.

Of course, this renovation requires considerable time and skill to complete. At first, it may look as simple as enhancing your bathroom interior. But, things are more complex in reality. We compiled this guide to give you a general idea of the roof-raising process. It’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the planning, procedure, timeframe, costs, permits, and return on investment. Read on to learn more.

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How to raise a roof in your home? - Factors to consider

The roof type you have

Before any work is done, you must find out how your roof is built. Most roofs are structured either as a stick or a truss. Stick roofs have to be completely dismantled and rebuilt, but they are better if you want to add a vaulted ceiling. Truss-type constructions are easier to raise. If you can’t determine how the roof is built, consider consulting house blueprints. It’s also a good idea to check if the beams are connected to the ceiling - there is a chance they have to be removed. Please note that it is always easier to raise the roof on your home when you have an attic. Here are the signs your home is not a good candidate for raising the roof or adding the second floor:

  • HVAC ductwork blocks the space and cannot be displaced
  • a house is built on a weak foundation
  • a roof has the wrong pitch and shabby framing
  • wiring installation does not comply with the national electric code
  • chimneys attached to the roof space you want to raise
Call out a certified roof-raising contractor to understand whether your roof can be lifted off without compromising the home structure and vital utility lines.

Building materials

Once you determine the existing roof type, consider the materials required for the renovation. First and foremost, they should be compliant with the roof structure. Steep roofs are better made with asphalt shingles, while rubber materials work best for flat roofs. When raising the roof, it’s better to use materials that won’t increase the pressure on the house. This approach will keep structural integrity intact. When selecting materials, consider the regional climate. Your new roof should be able to withstand heavy snowfall or scorching sun. And last but not least, the roof should be properly insulated to keep both heat and cold out of the house.

Building permitsPaperwork required to accomplish a roof-raising project

As with all major renovation projects, raising a new roof requires a building permit. Homeowners have to contact their local residential permit department to find out how they can get it. 

Please don’t start any work without a permit. Illegally changed roof height may cause problems when reselling a house. If you want to delegate the task to roofing contractors, make sure they have a license. Working with an unlicensed company does not allow you to apply for a building permit.

Additional objects

Whether you're about to raise a roof or add the second floor, you might need to replace the ductwork, electrical wiring, plumbing, or a chimney attached to the ceiling. It is especially true for homes with central heating and air conditioning. On top of that, the added space will require an extra HVAC unit for adequate heating and cooling. 

Removing or working around any of those things requires professionalism. For example, you may need to cut off the power from the HVDC to dismantle or raise the roof safely. Doing it without the proper equipment and expertise is extremely dangerous. A certified contractor will do the work according to the norms and keep you from falls and injuries. 

Why raise the roof on your house?

The ceiling height elevation

Raising the ceiling height is a complicated process that cannot be accomplished without professional assistance and the appropriate permits. There is no way to build new walls on top of existing ones as it can create a hinge between the primary and new walls. The walls are made taller from the ground up to avoid structure instability. This can be achieved in two ways: 

  • Sheathing the new and old walls in full-length plywood to remove the hinge
  • Installing taller wall studs alongside the existing ones

Consider hiring a dedicated structural engineer to inspect your roof and ensure it's robust enough to support the updated structure. A pro will decide whether to create the vaulted ceilings or add load-bearing walls.

The second-floor build-up

Building the new floor between the roof and the first floor

Adding an entirely new level to your home is an excellent space-boosting solution. You can enhance your living area and acquire more storage space in the attic by taking the roof up. Keep in mind that a new floor requires a stairway to get there, so a few square meters of the first-floor living space should be allowed for its placement. 

Building up the second floor is less complex than raising the ceiling height. All hinge worries can be put aside as the first-story walls remain the same height. A new floor structure is added to the existing walls, and then the second-floor walls are built. 

Nevertheless, the process is associated with some structural difficulties. Thus, the carrying walls and foundation should be strong enough to handle the extra weight. Go for a professional engineer's assistance before attempting any work. A pro will scrutinize the floor plan to ensure the added construction is supported adequately.

A vaulted ceiling development

If you have a trussed roof, the chances are it will be replaced without much fuss. Nevertheless, this roof cannot be converted into a vaulted ceiling. Such a conversion can be achieved only with a stick roof. 

Creating a vaulted shape requires removing ceiling joints. Builders dismantle the classic triangle structure and add additional framing to keep a roof intact. The typical way to do that is by using collar ties. They resemble ceiling joints but are placed slightly higher. Vaulted ceilings with collar ties boast a large flat area above the sloped sides.

Use HomeQuote To Hire Local Roofing Companies

Invest in roof renovation to ensure your building's structural safety and enhance its curb appeal

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Use HomeQuote To Hire Local Roofing Companies

What is the average cost of raising the roof?

The average cost to raise a new roof ranges between $17.000 and $25.000 and varies on the following factors: 

  • local labor costs
  • the existing roof structure 
  • exterior remodeling work 
  • material costs 
  • the foundation strength
  • plumbing and electrical work
  • unexpected damages along the process

Below you will find a list of factors that may contribute to the cost of raising the roof.

Factor                                   Average Cost                                             

Roof inspection and project planning     

To plan the roof raise project, you should consult a structural engineer. A qualified pro may ask up to $1.700 for his services (getting permits is included).

$1.400- $1.700

Roof removal and new structure reinforcement  

Builders remove the existing roof and reinforce the new construction with framing to elevate the ceilings. This scope of work counts for the lion's share of the project's cost.

$7.500 - $12.000

Plumbing remodeling and electrical wiring setup 

The complicated part of raising a roof lies in moving and reinstalling electrical wiring and pipes that are in the way of the new construction. This work should be carried out by a crew of dedicated electricians and architects.

$4.500 - $6.200

Home exterior refinishing 

Raising a roof usually wreaks havoc on the house exterior, resulting in damaged insulation and siding, peeling paint, scratches, and other defects. Visible damages can affect the home's curb appeal, so exterior modifications are inevitable.

$5.500 - $7.200

The expected timeframe to raise a roof

The time frame needed for raising a roof is unique for every project. If a skilled crew carries out the work, the expected timeframe is a month. However, every major issue that appears in the project's course extends the deadline. If no rewiring or restructuring is needed, the project might be accomplished much quicker. Though counting post-installation finishing works, the whole process takes up to seven weeks.

Why rely on expert roof-raising contractors?

How to get free bids from roof-raising contractors

There is no way a regular homeowner can have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to lift off the existing roof. This major house reconstruction requires extensive expertise, which not every contractor possesses. To find the right roofer for your project, you should conduct a thorough market analysis, comparing multiple bids. We recommend hiring licensed professionals with valid insurance and permits to carry out roofing works. 

HomeQuote is a country-wide contractor-matching platform showing dozens of professionals who are up to the task. You just need to leave your request to receive free bids from proven roof-raising contractors operating in the area. Compare quotes to find a pro who has enough knowledge and expertise to accomplish your project in compliance with municipal building regulations.

Make a roof-raising project happen by hiring a screened specialist through HomeQuote!

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