How To Raise My Garage Ceiling

Asked By: chris05gto on Friday, April 23, 2010
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Answer Hey Rick, My garage ceiling is 9' 3", I want to raise it to 12'for a 4 post lift.My trusses are on 24" centers,I want to raise 4 of them over 1 stall.My garage is attached to my home. 26' deep x 28' wide.My home was built in the 50's and trusses are 2x4 stick built.I emailed you some pics and more details.Let me know if you need more info. Thanks, Chris

Thanks for your question Chris. To start off I want to refer you to another question I answered that was similar to yours except in that one we were dealing with factory made trusses and in your case you have stick built trusses. However, many of the same principles will apply. Just click on the following link to get to that question.

Details On Raising Garage Height

The following drawings and information are what I figure you will need to do to achieve what you need, however it's up to you to determine what building permits you may need and or having it engineered. I base all my answers on my building experience and in all the jobs that I have done, I have always taken out a building permit when required. 

Based on the distance between your trusses of 2' and the fact that you want to remove 4 trusses, you will end up with a opening width of about 10 ' and the depth of the opening will be determined by the distance between the 1 x 4 upright sections of the trusses. Take a look at the drawing and photo below to see what I am talking about.

opening size

Click Photo To Enlarge

truss upright section

Click Photo to Enlarge

Now on to how to create your opening. You will need to remove enough drywall on the ceiling to allow you to be able to work on the framing of the opening. You will also need to cut out some of the existing frame work to allow you to install 1 x 12 headers or microlam beams which you will build.

You are also going to have to shore up or build two temporary walls to support the ceiling while you are making the modifications.

Look at the drawings below to get an idea of what I am talking about.

cut out drywall

Click Photo to Enlarge

truss and wall cross section

Click Photo to Enlarge

You will notice from the drawing above that the walls will be placed under the upright support sections of the existing truss. You will be cutting out the center sections of the existing ceiling joists flush with the edge of the upright supports. You will also need to cut of the angled 2 x 4 supports that are now going from the existing upright supports and the wood gusset plates near the peak of the roof.

You will then need to construct a header using either two 2 x 12 pieces of yellow pine or spruce lumber. There will be one header on each side which will attach against the ends of the ceiling joists you cut off and the ends of these headers will be installed between the two remaining joists on ether side.

The drawing below will show you more detail on how this will work.

close up of opening framing

Click Photo to Enlarge

In your case the 4 light gray joist sections are the ones that will be removed. The headers are then nailed against the remaining cut off sections on each side. Make sure you keep them flush with the bottom of the existing joists and keep  the same distance in between the joists when you attach the headers to them as is consistent with original joist layout. It does not matter if the headers stick up higher then your existing joists. It is the support and strength that we are after here. 

Also, instead of building the header and then installing it, after you measure in between the two remaining joists on either side, which will be about 10', nail or screw on piece of 2 x 12, cut to length, against the joists and then nail the other piece of 2 x 12 against the 2 x 12 you just installed. Then, be sure to nail, screw or bolt the two remaining joists to the ends of the headers as shown in the drawing above. For added strength, you can use joists hangers on the ends of the joists to install on the back side of the headers.

You will then have to take the existing angled 2 x 4's and attach them to the headers. You should be able to pull them over and cut them to fit and nail them to the top of the headers. Then, if you decide to drywall the interior of the raised area or nail up plywood to this area, the existing 2 x 4's will act as the framing for this section.

You would also have to install 2 x 4's on the two ends over the two remaining joists in order to frame in the sides.

After you complete all the framing you can then install new drywall on the ceiling and in the opening area if you wish.

Of course you are going to have to relocate any wiring that may be in the way using junction boxes if necessary to extend the wires out of the way. Make sure you do this in accordance with the building codes in your area.

It is always best to check with your local building department to find out if any permits are needed when doing this or any other type of structural modifications to your home. If they are required then you will need to obtain them and make sure you get the proper inspections. They may also require more detailed drawings from an architect in order to get the permits.

I hope this helps. Rick

Rick Maselli is Founder and Editor of and Ask Rick


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