Eyeing an extension

Last updated on January 1, 1970

Jake – Thanks for providing this wonderful resource. Question for you – I’m remodeling my family room in my single-story ranch. I’d like to create interest and the sense of increased height in the room by exposing the ceiling joists. I got this idea from a recent issue of Atomic Ranch – in the remodel in question they inserted drywall between the joists and painted the joists white. It was a really clean look but they only gained 4″ of space that way. Is there any way to place a ceiling material on TOP of the joists to gain the full 10″ of space? What kinds of considerations will I need to take into account if I do that? (I’m think of the weight of the materials and how I do ceiling fans/lighting here.) Thanks in advance…


If you place the ceiling material, (drywall, paneling, wood strips etc) on top of the joists you will only pick up the depth of the joists for additional space. What you saw in the photo was probably 2 x 4 ceiling joists. Do you know what size joists you have? It seems you are expecting to see 2 x 10’s if you are thinking you will be seeing a 10” space. The weight of your new ceiling material should not be a factor. You will have to make some small framing additions to the joists to accept an electrical box for a fan or light. Do not remove any of the ceiling joists without consulting an engineer or architect – these joists are structural members.

I have seen people remove the ceiling covering and install another layer of joists above the existing joists, and apply a ceiling covering to the new joists. This can add even more to the feeling of “space” in the family room.

Have fun!

Jake –

Thanks much for your very detailed response.  It’s a great thing you do to answer these random questions from the universe. You’re right, I am assuming that I’ll get 10” – I haven’t actually measured.  And your idea to install another layer of joists and apply covering to those sounds a lot less expensive (and energy efficient) than creating a cathedral ceiling.  Thanks much for all the info…