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The average cost to raise a roof is around $70,000, though the project may cost anywhere from $15,000 to $125,000, depending on the specifics.* Low ceilings can make even a large, open-plan home feel cramped. If you want to heighten your ceilings to create more space, you may need to raise your roof. In this guide, we’ll explain the two most common types of roofs and your roof-raising options for each one.
*Unless otherwise indicated, all cost data in this article was sourced from HomeAdvisor.
Major Cost Factors for Raising a Roof
The primary factors that determine the price of your roof-raising project are roof type, house size, and project complexity.
The type of roof frame you have will greatly determine the project’s complexity and price. A trussed roof will be easier and less expensive to raise than a stick roof.
Trussed roofs contain prefabricated triangular structures called trusses. Roofers build trussed roofs off-site and transport them to the new building, where they attach the roofs to the wall studs. Trussed roofs are more affordable and quicker to assemble than stick roofs. They are also easier to raise since you can raise trusses as whole units without needing to completely disassemble the roof framing.
A stick roof, on the other hand, is more expensive to install, as roofers must assemble it on-site using individual rafters. This also makes a stick roof far more difficult to raise because contractors need to take the entire roof structure apart and replace it. However, stick roofs are more customizable and offer options that trussed roofs don’t, such as attic space and vaulted ceilings.
Raising a stick roof falls at the high end of the cost spectrum, so if budget is a factor, you may want to explore other options for increasing ceiling height.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to give a cost based on square footage for a roof-raising project because there are so many variables at play. In general, it costs more to raise larger roofs than smaller ones, and raising the roof over only a portion of your house will cost less than raising the whole thing. For instance, a small stick roof with a complex roofline is likely to cost more than a large, simple trussed roof.
Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC Considerations
If your home’s electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, or central HVAC system and ductwork run through the ceiling, the project will be more complex, time-consuming, and expensive. You’ll need to either reroute or disassemble and then reconstruct each system once you raise your roof. It’s best to hire specialized, licensed contractors for each system, and these professionals usually charge $50–$150 per hour.
Aside from home systems, other features may make this roofing project more complex and thus more expensive. For example, some architectural styles lend themselves more easily to roof raising than others. It will be much easier to raise the roof on a ranch-style home than on a Cape Cod or a Victorian. Chimneys are also a complicating factor, and moving or altering the chimney can add anywhere from $500–$6,000. If your contractors find any structural damage, you’ll also need to pay roof repair expenses.
In addition to roofing materials, expect to pay from $1.50–$3 per square foot for labor. Roofing contractors may charge more in areas where demand and costs of living are high. This is a complex enough project that you’ll probably also need to hire a structural engineer or architect for planning, which can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Lastly, you’ll need the proper building permits, and these costs will vary based on your state and city.
Additional Factors Affecting Roof-Raising Costs
Depending on the specifics of your project, you may also need to take the following roof-raising costs into consideration.
New Roof Installation
Even if you’re able to preserve your roof’s structure during the raising process, this may be a good time to consider roof replacement. You’ll likely need to replace the underlayment and surface materials—such as shingles—regardless, so you can fold the price of installing a new roof into the total cost and increase your home’s resale value at the same time. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, a new asphalt shingle roof costs an average of $29,136 but has a return on investment of $17,807, or 61.1%.
If you decide on roof removal and replacement, you’ll need to choose the materials for your new roof. While you can simply replace what you had, you can also take the opportunity to switch to a new and potentially more durable or attractive roofing material. Here are the most popular choices and some pros and cons of each:
- Rubber: A rubber membrane is only appropriate for flat roofs, but it’s a cost-effective and low-maintenance material. Rubber membrane materials such as TPO and PVC only last about 20 years, but if properly installed, EPDM, another type of rubber, can last up to 60 years.
- Shingles: Simple three-tab asphalt shingles are the most popular choice on residential roofs based on their ubiquity and low cost of installation. They typically only last from 15 to 20 years, but more durable shingle types are available. The life span and cost of shingle roofing will depend on whether you choose architectural, composite, wooden, or solar shingles.
- Tile: Tile roof installation expenses also vary widely based on the tile material, which may include cement, clay, composite, or natural slate, but they’re generally more expensive than shingles. However, all of these materials are highly durable, and you might not need to replace them for decades.
- Metal: Metal roofing materials are available as shingles, tiles, or standing seam panels. Metal roof installation costs are some of the highest, particularly for specialty metals like zinc or copper, but metal also has the longest life span of any roofing material. When properly installed, standing seam panels can last 50 or more years.
New roofing materials aren’t the only materials necessary for completing this project. You’re also likely to need new drywall, siding, crown molding, and paint. These will all come with their own material and labor costs.
Benefits of Raising a Roof
Although raising your roof is an expensive, disruptive home improvement project, it comes with a number of substantial benefits:
- High ceilings make an interior space feel larger, even if you don’t increase the square footage, which can increase your home’s value.
- You can increase your home’s storage capacity with an attic or high shelves.
- With a large enough lift, you can even add a second floor to your home, which may be ideal if you can’t expand your living space horizontally.
- Even if you don’t turn the new height into a finished space, you can exchange flat ceilings for vaulted ceilings with exposed beams or skylights.
- You can use this opportunity to alter your roofline by adding dormers or other features or adjust your roof pitch for functional or aesthetic purposes.
Raising your roof isn’t the only way to get higher ceilings. There are more cost-effective methods, but they typically require you to have a stick roof.
- Coffered ceilings: A coffered or sunken ceiling consists of a series of beams and sunken panels that create a grid. Although the entire ceiling is not raised, the coffers are, which gives the appearance of more space for about $20–$30 per square foot.
- Partial roof raising: If your home has additions or sections with separate roofing systems, you can choose to raise the roof only over that part of the house. Even raising the roof over a garage can provide plenty of extra storage space.
- Tray ceilings: If your budget is smaller, a tray ceiling provides a less dramatic but more affordable way to raise a ceiling by a foot or two in the center of a room. A tray ceiling does cut into existing attic space, but since you won’t need to alter your home’s roof and walls, this project usually costs $2–$4 per square foot.
- Vaulted ceilings: If your home has a stick roof and an attic, you may be able to cut through and substantially raise your existing ceilings. A cathedral ceiling is one that’s open all the way to the rafters, and it’s the most expensive option at about $120–$180 per square foot. Other options like rib vaults, groin vaults, and domes are in the range of $50–$75 per square foot.
Raising your home’s roof can increase both your living space and your options for using this space. Because it’s such a complex, large-scale undertaking, it’s not a DIY project. You’ll need to hire experienced engineers and licensed roofers, and we recommend getting estimates from at least three local contractors before making your choice. The project will be less expensive and disruptive if you have a trussed roof, so if you have a stick roof, we recommend looking at alternatives.
Roof Raising FAQ
Is it expensive to raise a roof?
The exact cost will depend on the type of roof you have, but yes, raising a home’s roof is a high-end construction project. However, it costs less to raise trussed roofs than stick roofs.
How much does it cost to raise the height of a ceiling?
The cost to raise a ceiling will depend on your roof and attic type, but prices can range from $2–$4 per square foot for a simple tray ceiling and $120–$180 per square foot for a vaulted cathedral ceiling.
How long does it take to raise a roof?
Depending on factors such as home size and roof complexity, homeowners can expect roof raising to take four to six weeks.