What is the Cost to Raise the Roof on a House?

Why Raise the Roof?

You might raise your home’s roof for several reasons. One common reason is to create more indoor space. When you raise the roof, you can add an extra story to the home or increase the ceiling height for an existing story.

Another reason to raise the roof is to add dormers or to change the type of ceiling in a room. If you have conventional, flat ceilings, you can upgrade to vaulted ceilings to make your home more elegant or visually appealing. To do so, you might need to increase the roof’s height.

Finally, some homeowners decide to raise the roof for repair reasons. If your existing roof leaks or has issues with pooling water on its surface, raising and replacing the roof can help to solve the problem.

Making a Vaulted Ceiling

In situations like the ones above, it can make sense to lift a roof in one piece and replace it without much structural modification – especially with a trussed roof.

But while a trussed roof can be raised, it can’t be modified to make a vaulted ceiling. You need to start with a stick roof to do that.

Exposing the underside of the sloped rafters is what creates the “vaulted” shape inside that you’re looking for, and that means removing the ceiling joists first.

That breaks the structural “triangle” that holds the roof together, and requires additional framing work to restore structural integrity.

A common solution is adding “collar ties,” which are similar to ceiling joists but a little higher up. A vaulted ceiling with collar ties usually has a large flat area above the sloped sides.

If you want the ceiling vaulted all the way to the top it gets a little more complex, and you’ll need a structural ridge beam.

The ridge beam is at the very top pointy part of the roof.

(Stop me if I’m getting too technical, ok?)


What about raising the roof and adding an extension?

If you are intending to raise the roof at the same time as adding an extension, the new part will be all new construction so the ceilings will be whatever height you want them to be. On the original house, you will have to build the walls up to whatever height you want and then build a new roof. There are special connector brackets that help tie the wall and roof together so they don’t get ‘tippy’ at the connection. You want to tie it all together so that it behaves like it’s one piece.

Saving money on the cost to raise the roof on your house

This is not a cheap project so saving bucks may only make a bit of a dent in the overall bill, but it is still worth doing. Here are some options to trim back the spend:-

  • Look for grants at federal and local level, it might be possible to shape your project to fit within certain criteria so you can get a contribution to the overall cost but you may be underwhelmed at what’s on offer as many grants have a cap per household and are pretty modest compared to the overall cost to raise the roof on your house
  • Try and re-use existing materials from your current roof although the labor involved in doing this can sometimes outweigh any of the savings
  • 40% of the cost will be the materials so ask your contractor if there are cheaper options available that might lower the bills without affecting the integrity of the roof or the aesthetic look The return on your investment is going to be the uplift in the value of your home plus lower energy costs due to a more weather efficient roof.

The Cost of Raising a Roof Pitch

A raised roof pitch is no easy task. It requires you to replace your roof, add to your siding, and create new joists. If you replace the entire frame, your costs could jump even more, but that’s still a fraction of the cost of adding to your footprint by expanding outward.

A new roof pitch is well worth the investment, though. It can prevent leakage, improve curb appeal, and add to your storm resistance.

Part 2: Increasing the Pitch of your Roof – Costs and ROI

Flat and low-slope roofs are prone to leaks, and depending on the style of your home, might not enhance its aesthetics. Raising the roofline to increase the slope and add the visual appeal of a raised or cathedral ceiling solves both issues. If the home has gables, then they must be extended to fit the new roof line.

Since most of the costs are the same as those in Part 1, they’re listed without detail:

  • $250-$1,000 | Structural engineer or architect fees
  • $99-$500+ | Site plan — Get one at 24hPlans.com
  • $450-$1,000 | Building permit
  • $5-$8 per square foot | Removing the roof structure
  • $14.00-$21.50 per square foot | Cost of extending gable walls
  • $16.00-$22.00 | Building the new roof structure
  • $15.00-$20.00 per square foot | Installing roofing and siding
  • $5.50-$16.00 per square foot | Finishing the extended gable walls

Total Cost and ROI

  • $60-$86 per square foot | Cost of raising the pitch of the roof
  • $74-$98 per square foot | Cost or extending wall height (Part I) and increasing roof pitch (Part II)
  • Increasing roof line pitch ROI | 50%-54%

This project doesn’t return a lot of bang for your buck either. While it does improve the curb appeal of a home and reduce the risk of damaging leaks and expensive repairs, changing the roof pitch just doesn’t have the same value as adding usable space such as a bedroom, bath, bonus room, etc.  

Frame the New Roof

From this point, it was pretty straightforward roof framing. The only difference being that the new rafters sat on the ends of the old rafter instead of the wall.

In this picture, you can see where the old 4:12 pi

In this picture, you can see where the old 4:12 pitch was and the new 10:12 pitch roof on top of it.

What are the advantages of raising the roof on a house?

There are several advantages to raising the roof on a house not least the factor that this may be a house that you love and don’t want to leave – you just need more space. You may also find it cheaper to develop your current home than to move house. Some of the clear advantages include:-

  •  Increasing space and light in the upstairs rooms which may have low ceilings or sloping ceilings and suffer from small or inadequate windows which causes restrictions on the type of furniture. Raising the roof can offer higher ceilings or the opportunity to remodel to a different ceiling type
  • Adding new accommodation or extra storage space in the loft by way of conversion, raising the roof can make a loft conversion possible or make it easier by avoiding the expense of adding dormer windows or the difficulty and cost of a mansard loft conversion where you are short of height
  • A loft or roof conversion solves the problem for homeowners who cannot expand their property either at the back or to either side
  • A new roof type which is higher can better resist bad weather and minimize leaks or pooling water.

Raising the Ceiling Height

Let’s say you want a taller ceiling – could you simply hook up a crane, lift the existing roof structure, then make the walls a little taller and lower the roof back down?

You can, and you’ll be the sensation of the neighborhood when you do!

But there’s an important structural issue you need to address first: you can’t simply add a new wall (a knee wall) on top of the existing walls. Doing that creates a “hinge” between the new and existing walls – and that’s a very unstable structure.

Instead, the walls have to be made taller from the bottom up. One way to do that is by installing new, taller wall studs alongside the existing studs. Another method is covering the existing wall and new knee wall with full-height plywood sheathing to eliminate the hinge.

Either way, you’ll need the help of a structural engineer to make it safe.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Roof?

The cost of raising a roof can vary widely depending on the project’s scope and complexity. Generally speaking, roof-raising isn’t a cheap or quick project. According to HomeAdvisor, the price can start around $15,000 and go up from there, depending on your home’s size, the type of roof and its structure.

Some factors that go into the overall cost of raising a roof include:

  • Planning the project with a roofing contractor and structural engineer.
  • Getting the right permits from your municipality.
  • Removing the current roof.
  • Adding framing for a higher ceiling or additional story.
  • Rearranging the wiring, ductwork and plumbing in your home.
  • Finishing the home’s exterior after the roof is raised.

Because there’s a wide variation between price estimates online, this type of project can be hard to budget for. Rely on a range of bids from several trusted local contractors, rather than your own research, to figure out how much you might have to pay.

Hire a Licensed, Insured Contractor

Your contractor should not only have a license and insurance, but they should also be able to pull all the required permits before performing any work on your roof. You will need a contractor with experience — they should understand all that goes into raising a roof. Keep in mind that permits are more than just bureaucratic red tape, they affect your ability to sell your house in the future or to replace your roof.

Raising a roof is not always a practical option but when it is it is a cost-effective way to give your home more square footage.If you have a vision for your home that includes higher ceilings or a second story, we can help. Use our contact form to get in touch with us today.

Why do you need to consider the layout for building up?

If you decide that a second floor is the way to go, there are a few things to look at.  Plumbing is one. Pay attention to the location of plumbing in the walls on the first floor. If you can get the second floor plumbing aligned with the  plumbing downstairs that makes for a much more straightforward plumbing wall. 

Another thing  to look at is whether you want your kids playroom on top of your master bedroom. You wouldn’t want to have a  laundry room that backs up to the baby’s bedroom because you might be doing laundry at all hours of the night and we don’t want a thumping washer and dryer waking up the baby. So think about how you’re going to live in the space and who’s making noise at what time of the night.

When my parents built our house, my dad was a commercial pilot and he was flying a lot of red eye flights overnight. He’d get home in the morning and have to sleep for a good part of the day to get backmup to speed after a trip. Normally, when a house is being designed you would want the master suite to be on the east side of the house, so it gets the morning sun and it wakes you up. But my parents wanted it the other way around. They didn’t want bright light coming into the bedroom because it would disturb dad’s sleep. 

So think about how you are going to live in the house, and what is happening in your life right now that you may need to accommodate. Also think about what’s coming in five and 10 years. Right now, as I write this, I can hear the microwave pinging as my kids are making snacks. So had I thought about it at the time, I would not have planned my house to have my home office next to the kitchen.

Think also about who’s going to be flushing the toilet at 2:00 AM and who might be woken up by that because plumbing is hard to make silent.  As much as we insulate pipes,there’s always some noise from them.

If you’ve got kids, you might not want to have the noise of them thumping up and down the staircase, right next to your formal dining room. Whether you are building up or building out, spending the time to plan the layout to accommodate all the ways a house is lived in will be time well spent.