Open Up a Ceiling With a Steel Sandwich
Bolted between rafters, an angled steel flitch plate can eliminate the need for rafter ties in cathedral ceilings.
Synopsis: Everyone loves a cathedral ceiling, but when you remove the framing that makes most ceilings flat, you remove the lumber that keeps the walls from spreading apart. There are a few conventional solutions: a structural ridge beam, exposed collar ties, and scissors trusses. An unconventional option is to use a welded steel flitch plate sandwiched between two common rafters. This method gives more headroom than scissors trusses and is far cheaper.
My company specializes in designing and building small homes. I like to vault ceilings in small rooms — bedrooms and screened porches, commonly — that normally would have flat ceilings.
People love cathedral ceilings because they add drama and presence to interior spaces. A vaulted ceiling can make a small room look large rather than cramped and confined. So why are cathedral ceilings usually reserved for living rooms or other large public areas while small rooms get stuck with…