What is a Vaulted Ceiling?
A vaulted ceiling is any ceiling that is more than 8 to 10 feet high. It is not typically constructed using the same pitch as a roof. A vaulted ceiling can have a single sloping side, a curved slope, an arched slope, or different sloping sides and is most often framed using engineered trusses. During construction, a vaulted ceiling is one of the most challenging areas of a home to insulate.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Vaulted ceilings offer the perception that a room is a lot larger than it may actually be. Some may prefer the open-air perception that a vaulted ceiling provides and the natural lighting that comes with it. Vaulted ceilings are unique and appealing. Their added charm provides a sense of style and character to a room.
However, vaulted ceilings also have their fair share of shortcomings. Science tells us that moisture circulates throughout humid higher elevations to areas of lower humidity. If outside temperatures are warm and humid, moisture tries to force itself into the home. When it’s just as hot inside the home, humidity gravitates towards the outside environment.
You’re probably not aware that moisture in the air is water vapor. When compared to liquid water, it’s quite small. Therefore, water vapor travels through building materials more freely. Water vapor weighs less than air, so it rises faster up to the ceiling area and through cracks and holes. As warm air rises, it places pressure on the roof area.
What Can You Do
Vaulted ceilings are located in hard to reach places, and they present unique challenges to insulation professionals like us. While the actual insulating process is pretty straight forward, there has been some discussion as to whether it’s worth even insulating your vaulted ceiling.
However, we believe that it is worth the time and investment for the simple reason that a properly insulated vaulted ceiling will keep heat where it needs to be. That’s because the greatest volume of heat transfer occurs through the roof and ceiling areas. A home with properly installed insulation helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs; it also improves the living environment of your home.
Available Insulation Options
Fiberglass Insulation-Cathedral ceilings were constructed with 2 x 8 rafters for many years, which meant that only R-19 Fiberglass batts were installed. When codes upgraded to R-30, even 2 x 10 beams would not offer enough space for standard 10-inch thick R-30 batts.
Now, insulation manufacturers are offering 81⁄4″ R-30 high-density Fiberglass batts, which provide higher thermal performance inch-for-inch than standard fiberglass batts with the added benefit of allowing space for ventilation and eliminating the need to increase the rafter size or add roof baffles.
Closed-cell spray foam insulation fills and seals cracks and holes in your ceiling and doesn’t absorb moisture. It also offers 60% more R-value per square inch than other forms of insulation.
Dense cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper. Cellulose insulation stops air flow, leakage. It’s treated with borate, which is a naturally occurring mineral that repels pests and prevents mold from growing.