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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Odd Low Ceiling Inside, but Regular Roof Height Outside?

    I have an old house (1850) that was built in "stages". The front part is from 1850, the middle part from maybe the late 1800's and the back part from maybe 1920's. My daughter's room is in the middle part and runs the whold width of the house. The ceiling is a normal height starting on the right side of the room and going about 2/3 of the way acroos. Then it angles down to the top of the 2 windows on the left side of the room. If you look at the house from the outside, the roof pitch is the same on the right & left side. There is no access to any attic space inside and this room is on the 2nd and last floor of this part of the house. We do know there is some space above the ceiling, though, since when we moved in we had racoons living up there and we could hear them move througout the 3 sections of the house (they are gone now!). Any idea why there is this weird ceiling angle and how can we find out if we can make it the same height all across?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
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    367

    Default Re: Odd Low Ceiling Inside, but Regular Roof Height Outside?

    If you put a room up in the "attic" like it appears you have, you have to contend with the slope of the roof rafters. Normally, this room would be built in the center of the house, relative to the peak of the roof, and runs side to side the same amount of feet, from the center of the roof. They usually stop the room when the ceiling height is about 8ft. It sounds from your description that the room is not centered in the space and they carried the one side of the room farther than the other side.

    The reason for this may be that they wanted to put in a window for the room and didn't want to build a dormer on the roof to do it. Therefore they just ran the room a little farther to the outside wall and ran into the slope of the rafters. You could probably do something about it but it'll be work and you may end up building that dormer that they didn't want to build.

    Good Luck.
    Last edited by ma2804; 12-27-2008 at 07:24 PM. Reason: Didn't make sense when I read it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    4

    Default Re: Odd Low Ceiling Inside, but Regular Roof Height Outside?

    It doesn't appear to be an "attic" space since the staircase from the first - second floors goes all the way up and the other rooms on the 2nd floor don't have this same odd ceiling. Other than this sloping ceiling the room is perfectly squared. The right side of the room (which has the full-size ceiling) has a later-added, two-story bow-turret style additon with three windows. There are 2 of these "turrets" with the second one being on the right side of the house in the front portion (the original part) of the house. Would it be possible to cut a small hole in the ceiling to try to observe what is up there?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Odd Low Ceiling Inside, but Regular Roof Height Outside?

    You can cut a hole in the ceiling or try to figure out the best place to cut an access panel so you can get in the attic space.
    I certainly would want a way into an attic space. Maybe a closet next to the space would work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    367

    Default Re: Odd Low Ceiling Inside, but Regular Roof Height Outside?

    Ed's suggestion about an attic access in a closet is a good one. I've had houses with the access in the ceiling of the closet.

    Not sure what the building code states, where you live, but in the South, the Southern Standard Building Code states that you MUST have an attic access. Your house was probably built before it was a code issue. Go ahead and cut the access. You'll be glad you did later. Just make it big enough that a person's shoulders will fit through.

    Good Luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,621

    Default Re: Odd Low Ceiling Inside, but Regular Roof Height Outside?

    It sounds like the late 1800's edition roof came down to shorten the wall. Called a half story. When the addition was added to the back a new roof system was installed that goes all the way to the peak but the original roof framing was left in place. My guess if you had access to the attic you would be able to see the old roof structure.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    4

    Default Re: Odd Low Ceiling Inside, but Regular Roof Height Outside?

    Thanks. There is a closet in the Master Bedroom which is in the third addition but there must be some sort of connection between the 2nd & 3rd parts because the racoons were able to run through all 3 sections. We'll try to cut an access panel in that closet and see what we can find. I sure wish I could time travel and see what each part looked like when it was original! The front part - the original house - we think had a center staircase with at least one landing that went up and came out what is now a closet in the front bedroom. The coat closet was a staircase to the basement. When we pulled up the Living Room carpet we could see marks that looked like there were walls there at some point and the ceiling has matching "uneven" marks where it looks like the walls had been removed.

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