I'm sure it's possible, but is it ridiculous?

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My wood shop is a two car garage that is literally bursting with all my woodworking tools. Massive 3HP cabinet-style table saw, band saw, planner, miter station... etc etc. I love my shop. BUT... the ceiling is simply too damn low. It IS a garage after all, so I do not expect luxurious vaulted ceilings with recessed skylights or anything like that. But... it isn't even a standard 8 ft. high. The ceiling is 7' 8". I am a really tall guy, 6'5", so... it really feels pretty weird to me just to be in my shop. It feels claustrophobic somehow. Not only that, it is... such... and enormous pain in the ass to work with standard sheet goods. Most of the projects I build begin their life as 4' x 8' sheets of 3/4" plywood. I'm sure it sounds like not that big of a deal; you jut have to remember you can't stand the board up on its end. Let me tell you... it really sucks a lot of the joy out of the whole experience when you can't turn the board around "that way" and there is a band saw in the way if you try to flip it "that way"... so I end up having to open the garage door, walk out with the board, flip it, and then re-enter with it... do that 3-4 times and you start thinking about how you really do need to get back at that whole meditation zen stuff everyone keeps talking about. 

So... I'm no home improvement expert. I've done some wainscoting, a lot of painting, and even installed some lighting fixtures, but... I have no idea about raising a ceiling by 8-12 inches or so. I have forgotten the exact dimensions of my shop, but it is essentially a large square, 25' x 25' cinder block building that is detached from my house and is about 10 feet away from my house. The roof is a standard "A-shaped" shingled roof just like the house. From inside the shop, the ceiling is just 1/4" plywood screwed into the rafters with 1.5" wide 1/4" wooden trim covering all the seems between each 4' x 8' ceiling "panel". There is a knock out, so I can get up into the "attic" so-to-speak, and whoever built the garage was awesome enough to insulate the ceiling. There are rolls of pink insulation covering the whole thing. Here in Charleston, SC... it easily stays at or above 100 degrees during the summer, but out in my garage... it's weirdly tolerable thanks to this insulation. 

So... anyway... cost is not so much of a concern to me as structural unknowns. I just don't know if it is even common for people to even try things like this. I'd hate to get $2k and a lot of work into a ceiling lift project, only to find out that what I'm doing makes the whole damn roof kinda sketchy now. Charleston SC is also very prone to unwanted visitations by traveling hurricanes! I'd hate to look out my window and see my wood shop having it's cap peeled. What do you guys think?

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14 minutes ago, Dave H said:

Here is a guy doing it himself I would lift the whole building and add a pony wall on the bottom, because lifting the roof as a unit would be a b_tch IMO


Woah...!!! I never even thought of lifting the whole building! That's insane! I mean... I love it. I'm gonna watch that video now and see how insane it really is. Might be totally doable. Thanks man!

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Ahhh... I can already tell that this guys method would not be ideal for my situation. His garage is made out of OSB with 2x4 studs. My garage is full on cinder block and mortar construction. I imagine that even if I could find jacks that are strong enough... AND... I could do it all perfectly... the lack of flexibility in the material would cause the walls to crack in multiple places, and turn solid walls into broken stacks of loose cinder blocks. 
However... the idea still stands... I could possibly take the same idea, but apply it to just my roof. I'd have to figure out exactly how the whole roof assembly is attached to the tops of the walls and see about detaching just the roof... lifting it... and adding a couple more rows of cinder blocks to the tops of the walls, and then setting the roof back down.

That would all most likely involve some reinforcement so that when I lift the ceiling, off it's base, it doesn't start to deform, twist, or try to flatten itself out in some way. I dunno. It is all sounding like I will most likely just have to live with what I've got, and do some inner work on my patience level. Ha ha ha... Where's Oprah when you need her?

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Depends on how the roof structure is attached to the cinder block walls.  I'll be raising the roof structure on a small framed building, hopefully this Spring.  If you can release the roof structure from the walls without too much difficulty, it shouldn't be a terrible job.  It's going to be more than a little bit of work, any way you have to do it.

Forget jacking up cinder block walls.

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3 hours ago, difalkner said:

My first shop was a detached 12x20 garage with 7' ceiling, even lower than yours.  What I did was to remove the sheetrock ceiling halfway on the 20' dimension leaving the rafters exposed.  I then added crossmembers about 9' high to take the span load of the 12' wide building.

That gave me a free area for longer pieces and a much better open feeling.  The back half of the ceiling was left in place and I added an access door so I could use that new attic space for storage.  That was In about 1977 and I pass by there often and it's still standing so I guess it was strong enough.

The cost was minimal, as you can imagine; just a little time is all, really.  I used the 2x4s that I cut out of the original crossmembers to make the new braces.

I just quickly drew this in Fusion 360 but didn't try to make the cross members more than a line but it is to scale, fwiw.


Dude... @difalkner... this is, in my opinion, my best option. I could even do something like what you suggested, one joist at a time. I could also reuse the lumber, so my net cost would be much less than any kind of roof-raising, et cetera. My one concern, however, is... I just went out into the shop, got up on a ladder, and looked at the joists and rafters for the first real time. I've never paid attention to exactly how they were made. Below is a quick SketchUp approximation I made real quick. The whole situation looks kind of sketchy, to be honest. I mean, the lumber looks fine, but... where all the joists and rafters all meet, the builders just sandwiched each "joint" with 1/2" ply wood. The plywood doesn't look like it's very structurally sound anymore. Like, the plys look like they are kind of delaminating, and it just looks really dry and brittle. My house was built in 1950. I don't know if the garage was also built in 1950, but it was obviously built 20-30 years ago, at least. I imagine there are some more modern metal plates that are better than just using plywood. But... then again... what do I know about this kind of thing?

My only other concern is... if you look at the drawing below... the yellow wood is what is already there. Everything that is blue represents the joists I'd be cutting down, raising, and reinstalling. The green wood represents some thing I'm not sure about. Can I really just remove the existing joist, cut it to the correct length for 24 inches higher up the ceiling, re-attach it to the rafters (using whatever proper roofing jointing plates)... and then once I've done it across each of the rafters... I'd re-install the ceiling, insulate it again.. and I'm done. OR... would that weaken the roof where it lands on the top of each wall, and I'd have to.... do something more?



Garage Ceiling.jpg

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This once was an attached garage when we bought the house. I bought the lot next door and built a detached which eventually became my shop. I did what you are saying and took every other joist and moved it to the next one and coupled them with lag bolts and surrounded them with 1x cedar for looks. Lighting for the pic is not the best. 



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With trusses on block, I’d lift the whole roof and build the block higher. The roof is already braced for shear on top. You need a simple wall on either side that can be jacked and lifts the whole side together. Houses are done like this a lot to fix foundations and sagging porches. You are simply moving higher and lifting much less weight. Tom is absolutely correct that the only limiting factor is how the sill is anchored to the block. If cost is not much of a factor, you can hire the block work out if you like. My two cents. 

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Is the wiring in conduit on the surface, or in the blocks?

I intend to raise the roof on this building, that's about 16 feet square.  I'll cut the fasteners, jack the whole roof up on the inside with a bunch of hydraulic jacks (that I already have), fill the space in with a built up beam, and tie it back down to the studs with metal straps.  The outside of the new box beam will be covered with a painted band, and the whole inside will be covered with backer board, and tile.

As it is now, the height under the fascia boards on the sides where the door are is barely over six feet.  Don't ask if I'm going to get a permit.


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What size lumber is the top cord of the truss?

From what i recall of my structural courses the center vertical beam is a zero force member or well near zero. It is holding up the weight of what ever you hang from the ceiling. It's likely that you can do what you are illustrating with out needing the green section.  Either way your green section isn't adding any strength to the truss system. Well it might add a little bit but not much. You'd be better  securing a larger board on the side of the top cord to the first new joint. Beings that the center beam is a zero force there isn't much stress in the joints so the plywood is more than adequate. The ply probably looks rougher than it really is. They might be glued on even but in the 50s maybe not.

You could probably do that plan I'd just make sure that the lumber size is adequate for the span of the truss. There are resources that would tell you what is good enough and i could probably find them again. I did all the calcs when i built my shed to make sure the roof wouldn't collapse.

More information here. https://inspectapedia.com/structure/Roof_Framing.php You'd be going from a low rafter tie to a mid span rafter tie. I don't see any problem with it.

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First choice would be to raise the roof 2 block courses.  Dont' forget to but some rebar down in to the existing top 2 course or so and run them to the top of the new block.  Temporary beam and posts just inside each outside wall should allow fairly easy jacking.   Think about the electrical, (where those lines are).

Second choice, if possible,  remove the slab and dig out about 8" and pour new slab.  Water drainage still OK around the building?  What so do with all the stuff in shop during the project?

Third choice,  Reconfigure each trusss, one at a time to make a vaulted ceiling.  In effect you would be making what are called Scissors trusses. Sorry I don't have  picture of one.  Google.

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