What is a Vaulted Ceiling?

In architecture, a vaulted ceiling is a self supporting arch fitted above walls but below the roof of a structure. Vaulted ceilings have been around for over seven thousand years and were common in Roman architect. Popular styles of vaulted ceilings include a barrel vault ceilings, domed ceilings, ceiling fans, groin, and rib.

Vaulted ceilings are quite a controversial topic in some architectural circles: where some architects like the grandiose effect that they create,  others think they are outdated. However, this type of ceiling seems to be with us for the foreseeable future.

You will find vaults being used in contemporary buildings and structures. Their typical design is an upward extension which creates an overhead space. A vaulted space gives you more options for using the attic space.  Vaulted ceilings are not always arched nowadays. Most of the time, ceilings are triangular in shape, which then becomes like a cathedral ceiling. However, many people use the word cathedral ceiling for vaulted ceiling nowadays.

Vaulted Ceilings are Ideal for:

Today, you can customize  the design of a vaulted ceiling to align with the look of any building or house. Vaulted ceilings are compatible with all structures, whether an industrial building, rustic-styled building, and even a contemporary house. You can be creative and add beams and support cabling in the ceiling to enhance the aspect. Additionally, arches add a modern finish to the ceiling. Vaulted ceilings are ideal for any part of the house, provided it is structurally compatible. You’ll commonly find them in open kitchens, a dining room, the family room, or living rooms.

Pros and Cons


Increased Natural Lighting

The extra height created by this type of ceiling makes space for big windows and increases natural light streaming in the room.

Utilising Unused Roof Structure Space

What would be wasted space in the attic region can be reclaimed with a vaulted ceiling. They also create space for larger windows as we’ve said, and add character to smaller rooms. The end result is that you end up with a more impressive room.

Increased Grandeur

Vaults add a sense of grandeur to any room.

A vaulted ceiling is surprisingly versatile so if you want to impress your friends then ask your architect to consider it.


Energy Wastage

Opening up the roof space means that you either have to use more energy to heat it or even cool it.

Difficult to Maintain

Vaulted ceilings require more maintenance than ordinary ceilings. When a bulb needs to be changed, or dusty, exposed beam needs to be cleaned, you’ll need a very tall ladder.

Require Special Trusses

Just bear in mind, that if you are set on a vaulted ceiling you need to check with a truss designer if there is enough support available from the existing beams – you may need bespoke trusses for your this type ceiling.

The downside is that you may incur extra costs of acquiring and installing the custom trusses. Also, you need to account for more labour costs to remodel the structure to fit in the curved areas.

Frankly speaking, it’s easier to install a vaulted ceiling in a new build than it is to add one to an existing building.


A vaulted ceiling is compatible in theory,  with all types of buildings and structures as we mentioned.

We have also shown that the installation of this type of ceiling requires specialist support; a quality that can only be provided by professional suppliers of engineered floor and roof solutions.

If you are really set on a vaulted ceiling then give us a call.