How much does it cost to lift a roof of an existing building?

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Is it possible to raise a roof on half a house 3-4 feet?


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Dytecture is correct, the cost to raise the roof would be costly but maybe your only option. The dormers would work. The issue that I see is that code requires a certain portion of every habitable room (don't have my code book with me at the moment) to be 7' tall or more. When a permit is pulled to add the dormers, it would seem this would become a big issue. Interested to hear what others think….See More

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I suggest an architect. You will also need to permit this construction so make sure you have licensed and insured architect and contractor. Changing a roof line is not inexpensive, will depend on current structure so getting an expert out is best. I am sure you can find these people in your area on Houzz.Good luck….See More

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We just completed renovations on a home where a section of the roof was raised. Minimally you will need a contractor, we also had an architect. There was a lot involved regarding the ceiling joist, the roof rafters, insulation and seismic issues as well as electrical, heating and air. To get a rough cost idea you need to have someone walk the house with you that can see the big picture as well as discuss the creep items. Creep items are things you must do by code once a wall is open and the things you decided to do becomes "we might as well also do"….See More

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Well, with that goal in mind, it is probably worth exploring the cost locally. I consider your husband not hitting his head on the ceiling as a good goal! Is there an attic that you can get into to see where the ceiling is attached relative to the trusses? Maybe a few inches can be found there….I don't know. Try posting this in the Home Repair part of Houzz to see if someone can give you better answers….See More

What Is the Process of Roof-Raising?

The process of raising a home’s roof can vary based on the framing of the house and the placement of certain components. For example, the location of wiring or ductwork in your home can make the project more challenging for a contractor, as they might need to work around or relocate existing ducts, wires or plumbing. Whether your roof has a stick or truss structure also influences the process of raising the roof.

An experienced roofing contractor can give you a better idea of what to expect if you decide to raise your roof. They will also let you know if they think raising the roof is the right option for you, or if there are more affordable or less complicated options available.


Understanding what’s involved

The driver behind a roof raise is really important to achieving the outcome you want and being fully aware of all the cost implications. The first point to consider is the existing construction of your home, for instance, if you just want higher walls and a vaulted ceiling and you have a stick-framed house then you probably already have an attic with sufficient space and don’t need a roof lift as by removing the ceiling joists, you can get the room and look that you want. There is still additional work like adding ridge beams and collar ties but it can avoid the cost and work of a roof raise on your house.

A roof lift can involve re-routing electrics and plumbing which can have a big impact on cost and involve you in works that you might not have thought of initially. If you want a whole new second storey then you can’t just dump a new gable wall on top of an old one as it will affect the load bearing capacity of the whole structure. Adding a second floor has implications for the HVAC system and existing plumbing and electrics which may need renewing or upgrading, all of which impact significantly on the cost of the project.

How long does it take to raise the roof of a house?

On average, a roof construction project takes four to six weeks from start to finish. Actual time will depend on the square footage of your roof or how ready your roof or attic is for height.

What Happens to the HVAC System?

When a roof or ceiling is raised, there is a strong chance your HVAC system—and electrical system—will be impacted, especially if you have central heating and air conditioning. Working with complicated  electrical and HVAC systems is the biggest argument for hiring a roofing contractor to work on this renovation project. A contractor will keep you from being injured and will also make sure your home is safe.

If your higher ceilings go into your attic space, depending on how high it goes, your  attic air conditioning systems will have to be moved. This can be relatively simple if the attic is large or the ceilings are not raised dramatically. But regardless of how high the new ceilings are, ventilation will have to be re-routed through the new air ducts.

Is a roof structure expensive?

Raising a roof is less expensive than many other home improvement projects and makes a dramatic difference to the living space in your home. The average total cost to build your home can range from $ 15,000 to $ 20,000.

Is it expensive to raise a roof?

Raising a roof is less costly than many other home improvement projects and makes a dramatic difference in your home’s living space. The total average cost to raise your home’s roof could range from $15,000 to $20,000.

Saving money on the cost to raise the roof on your house

This is not a cheap project so saving bucks may only make a bit of a dent in the overall bill, but it is still worth doing. Here are some options to trim back the spend:-

  • Look for grants at federal and local level, it might be possible to shape your project to fit within certain criteria so you can get a contribution to the overall cost but you may be underwhelmed at what’s on offer as many grants have a cap per household and are pretty modest compared to the overall cost to raise the roof on your house
  • Try and re-use existing materials from your current roof although the labor involved in doing this can sometimes outweigh any of the savings
  • 40% of the cost will be the materials so ask your contractor if there are cheaper options available that might lower the bills without affecting the integrity of the roof or the aesthetic look The return on your investment is going to be the uplift in the value of your home plus lower energy costs due to a more weather efficient roof.

Estimating Extras

Depending on where you live, local requirements could drive the cost of adding an attic living space even higher. In areas prone to seismic activity, for example, adding a large attic dormer to raise the roof may require a whole-house seismic upgrade. Other homeowners may face costs associated with beefing up roof trusses to support the weight of the new living area. If you plan to use high-end finishes or fixtures, these items could also increase cost.

What is a roof lift?

On a technical level a roof loft or roof raise, is the process by which the existing roof is lifted off, and new, usually larger and higher roof is lifted back on. The old roof trusses (the wooden triangular shaped frames), are usually replaced with ‘attic trusses’.

Making a Vaulted Ceiling

In situations like the ones above, it can make sense to lift a roof in one piece and replace it without much structural modification – especially with a trussed roof.

But while a trussed roof can be raised, it can’t be modified to make a vaulted ceiling. You need to start with a stick roof to do that.

Exposing the underside of the sloped rafters is what creates the “vaulted” shape inside that you’re looking for, and that means removing the ceiling joists first.

That breaks the structural “triangle” that holds the roof together, and requires additional framing work to restore structural integrity.

A common solution is adding “collar ties,” which are similar to ceiling joists but a little higher up. A vaulted ceiling with collar ties usually has a large flat area above the sloped sides.

If you want the ceiling vaulted all the way to the top it gets a little more complex, and you’ll need a structural ridge beam.

The ridge beam is at the very top pointy part of the roof.

(Stop me if I’m getting too technical, ok?)

Which Tools are Needed for a Skoolie Roof Raise

There are some tools that you absolutely MUST HAVE when you are cutting through metal and stabilizing your roof before lifting. 

No matter which method you choose to go with you’ll have to have these essential tools to properly, efficiently, and safely separate your roof from its foundation and create a new one.


We have a Makita angle grinder and this thing has come in handy for so many of the bus projects but specifically for this post, we used a blade that cut right through the middle of the windows.

IMPACT DRILL- $60-$150

The drill was used to place the bolts through the metal after the raise


When you raise your roof you need to prepare for the metal sheets which will need to fit right under the roof and the rivets will need to be removed and this is where the air hammer will be used. 

RIVET GUN- you can purchase a ⅜ rivet gun from harbor freight for around $40. If you don’t own an air tank you can buy a hand riveter that is cheap but will destroy your hands after 10 rivets or you can get a pneumatic air tank for around $60. 


CROWBAR- $5-$20

Before you cut through your roof at the window, your windows will need to be removed and so will the metal that you’ll be placing your metal tubing so a good -drill-crowbar-hammer is all needed at this point.


– Car Jack $20 – $100

– Motorcycle Jack $70 -$200

You’ll need something to pump the roof up, right!? Jacks will be able to raise while you secure the metal.


I went to Harbor Freight and purchased vise grip type clamps that were only $5 per clamp.

These clamps are for lifting the roof, they will hold the metal tubing in place to make the transition easy.

 I used 5 clamps and worked my way down the bus from 1 end to the other. Don’t make the mistake of moving from 1 side of the bus to the other side when setting the clamps to drill bolt holes or weld, it is easier to go 1 side from front to back and then to the other side.

*All of your tool costs are dependant on the brand. If you like matching sets or specific brands it will cost you more for the ones you really like. 

Part 2: Increasing the Pitch of your Roof – Costs and ROI

Flat and low-slope roofs are prone to leaks, and depending on the style of your home, might not enhance its aesthetics. Raising the roofline to increase the slope and add the visual appeal of a raised or cathedral ceiling solves both issues. If the home has gables, then they must be extended to fit the new roof line.

Since most of the costs are the same as those in Part 1, they’re listed without detail:

  • $250-$1,000 | Structural engineer or architect fees
  • $99-$500+ | Site plan — Get one at
  • $450-$1,000 | Building permit
  • $5-$8 per square foot | Removing the roof structure
  • $14.00-$21.50 per square foot | Cost of extending gable walls
  • $16.00-$22.00 | Building the new roof structure
  • $15.00-$20.00 per square foot | Installing roofing and siding
  • $5.50-$16.00 per square foot | Finishing the extended gable walls

Total Cost and ROI

  • $60-$86 per square foot | Cost of raising the pitch of the roof
  • $74-$98 per square foot | Cost or extending wall height (Part I) and increasing roof pitch (Part II)
  • Increasing roof line pitch ROI | 50%-54%

This project doesn’t return a lot of bang for your buck either. While it does improve the curb appeal of a home and reduce the risk of damaging leaks and expensive repairs, changing the roof pitch just doesn’t have the same value as adding usable space such as a bedroom, bath, bonus room, etc.  

Part 4: Dormer Cost and ROI

Dormers don’t increase the square footage of the space, but they raise the roof above it, so the space is more usable. Popular uses of the space are as a sitting/reading nook, kid’s play space, dressing area, small bedroom, walk-in closet, small office and storage area. Dormers also allow light into the space, provide a view and improve the aesthetics of a home.

A building permit is required ($450-$1,000), and you must have an architect design the plan for your dormer ($250-$500). However, foundational support probably won’t be needed. At most, the architect might require adding a support beam beneath a very large dormer.

If you’d like to explore your options for dormers, this guide from RoofingCalc fully explains the ten types of roof dormers, their cost and pros and cons:

Here’s a brief itemization of construction costs per square foot. Complete dormer costs are below:

  • Removing roof material and cutting the roof deck: $3.25-$4.50
  • Framing the dormer: $19.00-$32.00
  • Siding and roofing materials installed: $15.00-$20.00
  • Finishing the interior: $50.00-$110.00

The higher cost per square foot to frame, side and roof dormers compared to additions is due to their smaller size.

Dormers: Average Total Cost and ROI

Where your dormer falls on the spectrum below will be based on the style of the dormer, the quality of the windows and the building and finishing materials used.

  • $90-$160 per square foot | Average total cost for dormers
  • 52% to 58% | Average dormer cost to value

Dormers are a Top 10 home remodeling project on many lists. This explores other popular home remodeling ideas that could make your home more usable, enjoyable and valuable: 


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