Cathedral or “vaulted” ceilings occur in many types of homes, and particularly in homes of contemporary design. Cathedral ceilings often require special consideration when re-roofing a home as the absence of an attic space and, oftentimes, the absence of adequate ventilation raise serious issues to be addressed
There are numerous designs of cathedral ceilings. Some include limited attic space and ventilation while others are completely “closed” and still others are constructed using stress skin roof panels. It is important to analyze each cathedral ceiling individually and then do additional research as appropriate based upon the structural details. In some cathedral ceilings, the roof deck is exposed on the bottom side. In these instances, attention must be paid to fastener length and pull-out resistance (refer to Technical Bulletin #49). In other cases, these ceilings are constructed of stress skin “sandwich” panels (see Technical Bulletin #26). Often, with cathedral ceilings, the property owners are desperate to gain additional insulation value. See Technical Bulletin #57 for details on how to do this without jeopardizing the integrity of the roof system. Ideally, cathedral ceilings will be constructed so as to allow a vented airspace on top of an insulated area. Please refer to Technical Bulletin #15 dealing with moisture and ventilation. Yet another issue with cathedral ceilings can sometimes be sound transmission. Refer to Technical Bulletin #3 on this subject.