Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

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Andrew
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:46 pm
Location: South Euclid, Ohio

Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by Andrew »

Hi all!

My house is a 1929 center-stair Georgian with a finished attic. The attic runs the whole width of the house and has always been a finished space, but the insulation is in absolutely awful condition. We want to get the temperature under control, move the south wall back a couple of feet to widen the space, and re-do the walls with new drywall, lighting, electric, and gas heat (there's a 3/4" line already up there). Overall, it's a rather straight-forward project aside from the logistics of actually getting the materials up and down from there!

One of our grander ideas was, rather than putting the flat ceiling back in, to carry the ceiling all the way up to the ridge, leaving the cross beams exposed and dry-walling around them for a dramatic extra couple of feet in the ceiling. The first contractor we had out to look at the space thought it was a neat idea, but had never seen it done like that before. He said the ties are likely to be 16" apart, which was a little narrower than I was expecting, but it still might be cool looking. His concern, aside from the extra work involved, was mostly that it might 'look like monkey bars'.

Has anyone ever run into this sort of thing? I'd love to see a photo of what it might look like so I can wrap my head around it. Since I can't see above the current ceiling until we start ripping things apart, I don't know if this idea is nuts or great!

Drew
Attachments
Looking west from the stairs. (photo taken when the previous owners' stuff was still there)
Looking west from the stairs. (photo taken when the previous owners' stuff was still there)
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Looking east from the stairs. (photo taken when the previous owners' stuff was still there)
Looking east from the stairs. (photo taken when the previous owners' stuff was still there)
attic2.jpg (69.77 KiB) Viewed 8284 times
Drew

Georgian Colonial Revival, 1929
East of Cleveland, Ohio

Sombreuil_Mongrel
Posts: 2189
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:12 am
Location: WV

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by Sombreuil_Mongrel »

Hi,
That's what we did on one project house. The old dovetailed collar ties were left exposed, even though with adding double sister rafters to the existing ones, they were probably no longer necessary, the owners wanted to retain them.

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They had low-voltage lighting added to the tops.
Casey
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PowerMuffin
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Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:42 am

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by PowerMuffin »

I love that look!
Diane

Andrew
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:46 pm
Location: South Euclid, Ohio

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by Andrew »

Sweet! That's just the kind of thing I was imagining. Although in their case the rafters are farther apart and higher up than ours, but that is cool to see! Our roof has a stronger pitch and is much lower than the photographed one, so it may still be impractical for us (or just too expensive). Guess we'll find out!
Drew

Georgian Colonial Revival, 1929
East of Cleveland, Ohio

wletson
Posts: 2428
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:22 pm
Location: Ayr, Ontario

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by wletson »

With 16 inch centers, even if they are 20's, it is not going to give you any more headroom... actually or visually, especially if you leave them bare wood. But, if you painted them to match the ceiling it would visually open the space. Not sure it would be worth the work, but who knows!

What style is the rest of the house?
Last edited by wletson on Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image1883 Schoolhouse, rural Ontario, Canada
warren

Sombreuil_Mongrel
Posts: 2189
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:12 am
Location: WV

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by Sombreuil_Mongrel »

I should have pointed out that the collar ties in my pics were on 32" centers, having been installed at every other rafter pair. If the fastening is beefed-up, you can probably remove half of your 16"-spaced collar ties. One new construction I did, the designer spec'ed collar ties only every 4 feet. If its worth pursuing, get a structural engineer's input. Every 4' is better visually/spatially than every 16" IMO.
Casey
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Fanner
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:18 pm
Location: WI

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by Fanner »

This site never ceases to amaze me :shock: Sorry to hijack your post a bit here, I just have to comment; we have been considering finishing off our attic since moving in 12 years ago. I have been in favor of trying to maintain the "height" by leaving the collar ties exposed, but have been worried about how it would look. Just this morning I was looking at it again and trying to picture this.... Now I have my answer. Thank-you!! :D
1904 Victorian :)
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avjudge
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:29 pm
Location: Somerville MA

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by avjudge »

Just be sure to use some sort of flexible sealant around the beams or cracks will open up at their ends that will leak heat - I would hope that's standard practice now, but my previous house (a 1950s ranch) had decorative beams across the LR ceiling. Each penetrated the drywall to fasten to the joist above for its entire length. The drywall was butted up against the beam and the joint filled with compound, creating lots of leakage into the attic above as flexing of the structure caused cracking. (In this case it was the full length of each beam instead of just the end as it would be with ties.) I never really fixed that one, because the construction during which I gained temporary access to that attic space and discovered the extent of the problem was in preparation for selling.

Anne
Anne
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Andrew
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:46 pm
Location: South Euclid, Ohio

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by Andrew »

We've had a couple of contractors out to look at the space and are finding that this may be a lot pricier of a project than we'd originally imagined (although not unreasonable), so the extra work in cutting and seaming around the planks may not end up being worth it. They also said our electric panel, despite being brand new, is already maxed out and wouldn't allow us to put new electric to the attic without an upgrade or a second panel. Oh, and they noticed that our water tank is installed backwards so the cold water is coming into the top of the tank instead of the bottom. :P

Aaaanyway... the guy we met with this morning pointed out something interesting that we hadn't considered at all. Currently, the ceiling in the attic is at about 6'4", while the height required for a room to be considered "residential living space" is 7'. He suggested that it may be easy enough to raise the collar ties and move the ceiling up by 8" to make it a 7' ceiling. This would add several hundred square feet to the 'size of the house'. If we are going to have a "bigger house" when we sell it than we do now, that may affect our decisions about how much we can afford to spend on the project…
Drew

Georgian Colonial Revival, 1929
East of Cleveland, Ohio

candy-factory
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:48 pm

Re: Dry-walling around collar ties in attic remodel?

Post by candy-factory »

Sorry for the late reply, but I have this so I thought it may be helpful to you or someone in the future.

Our 1932 foursquare attic was finished in 1984 (which leads me to a whole bunch of other q's I'll post in another thread :lol: ), The height to the bottom of the ties is 7'. Here is a pic looking to the front through the dormer (sorry for the messy window seat, we're doing a major winter cleanup)

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Here's a pic through the back skylight:
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Hope this helps.
Ryan

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