“What homeowners may not be aware of is that barrel-vaulted roofing is actually very affordable, and can easily be placed in a custom home to complement the size and scale of interior furnishings,” explains Patrick McBride, Principal at GMS Architectural Group. “The additional cost of installing a barrel-vaulted roof only adds about five to 10 percent of the cost of a traditional ceiling and roofing truss system. In addition, a barrel-vault roof is a very green technique as it uses metal roofing that is long-lasting and re-usable. The initial investment may be a little more than a regular roof at the outset, but what homeowners get in return is over 50 years of virtually maintenance-free roofing. And because metal roofing is very lightweight, it does not take any more effort to erect than a regular system.”
Barrel-vault roof systems are nothing new. They are known from Ancient Egypt and Italy, and were used extensively in Roman architecture. They can be seen all over Europe. In medieval Europe, the barrel vault was an important element of stone and masonry construction in cathedrals, monasteries, castles, tower houses, cellars, crypts, cloisters and great halls. Nowadays, this technique is better known in modern architecture, and can be seen particularly all over the West coast of the U.S., in cities as well as in the countryside.
As barrel-vaulted ceilings help bring natural light indoors to make spaces look larger than life, this technique is particularly applicable in any setting that has great views, or stands within majestic landscapes, the Northwest being a great example. The gentle arched form located both inside and out gives a property a very soft rolling form, and acts as a bridge between indoor and outdoor spaces framing the views of outside elements and enhancing indoor spaces, e.g. a swimming pool, vistas or a great landscaped garden.
“Once the barrel-vault structure is in place, homeowners have unlimited opportunities to compliment their new space above and below the vault,” concludes McBride. “With the use of exterior and interior lighting, windows and suspended acoustic clouds, homeowners can make their home unique. Lighting and acoustic consultants become important when selecting the most appropriate energy-efficient options. Accent lighting of appliances and fixtures capture the inherent character of a vaulted ceiling.
If you are looking to wow your friends and family, this is definitely a technique well worth discussing with your remodeling professionals. Featuring a nice area of your home, such as an entrance hall, a formal dining area, or a combined dining and living room, this historic roofing and ceiling method always feels new and fresh, and most of all, it will add nicely to the resale value of your home.”