Adding pitch - from low to medium?

Hi all, I’ve been reading for a few days and just wanted to say hey … there is so much good information / knowledgeable folks here and I really am enjoying the forum.

anyway, I figured I would dip my toe in the water with a question.

I recently purchased a single story 50’s ranch style house. It’s had a few additions and is roughly 4000sqft with a low pitched composite roof over most and a flat roof over one addition (approx 500sqft). The attic is pretty tight and has scuttle hole access to some parts while other parts are not accessible unless cutting up through the ceiling drywall

After moving in we discovered that there had been previous issues with pests and as a result the attic insulation is in pretty poor shape. I would like to have the old insulation removed and the attic cleaned and re-insulated but the minimal attic space and lack of access is preventing that in certain parts.

so my question - Is adding pitch to the roof to increase attic space a terrible idea (I assume this would be a costly process - but I don’t have any idea as to how i could ballpark it)? Are there better options to increase attic access and space.

(Disclaimer: if its not already obvious I’m as green as one can be when it comes to much of this and might not be up on all the terminology. So I do apologize if my question has been beat to death by others and I missed it using the wrong search terms)

Adding pitch, means new roof trusses. I don’t think you can just add more lumber to your existing trusses in order to create the added space. You may find someone to do that, but I think in the end an entire new roof would be the best solution. You would be able to clean all of the old insulation out, put down a vapor barrier, new sheathing and a new lifetime roof. You could also get rid of that flat roof section aswell, or just turn that into a patio.

There are options to your dilemma, none of them cheap and fast though.

[quote=“bcdemon”]Adding pitch, means new roof trusses. I don’t think you can just add more lumber to your existing trusses in order to create the added space. You may find someone to do that, but I think in the end an entire new roof would be the best solution. You would be able to clean all of the old insulation out, put down a vapor barrier, new sheathing and a new lifetime roof. You could also get rid of that flat roof section aswell, or just turn that into a patio.

There are options to your dilemma, none of them cheap and fast though.[/quote]

thanks, I figured more pitch meant a total roof/attic rebuild - trusses and all.

I know its impossible to estimate accurately but generally what type of costs are added by the truss work / reconfiguring the bones of the roof. its been hard for me to get any kind of ballpark on this …

given the present roof is in good shape is there any option that would preserve the present roof

[quote=“rmhelpinstill”]

[quote=“bcdemon”]Adding pitch, means new roof trusses. I don’t think you can just add more lumber to your existing trusses in order to create the added space. You may find someone to do that, but I think in the end an entire new roof would be the best solution. You would be able to clean all of the old insulation out, put down a vapor barrier, new sheathing and a new lifetime roof. You could also get rid of that flat roof section aswell, or just turn that into a patio.

There are options to your dilemma, none of them cheap and fast though.[/quote]

thanks, I figured more pitch meant a total roof/attic rebuild - trusses and all.

I know its impossible to estimate accurately but generally what type of costs are added by the truss work / reconfiguring the bones of the roof. its been hard for me to get any kind of ballpark on this …

given the present roof is in good shape is there any option that would preserve the present roof[/quote]

I can’t see any way to save your installed roof and add pitch to your roof. If you want a ballpark figure, see if you have any Truss companies local you can call and just ask for a basic 60’ x 25’ roof at 5/12 pitch.

ya i agree with bc demon i havent used it but look into spray foam it can add alot of r value and is great for tight spaces.

Sir,

New trusses are an expensive option. You can vacuum out old insulation and blow in new fiberglass insulation with just a few pilot holes in sheetrock below. Have done this stuff before and it quite easy. Cut out ever other truss in areas you can’t reach a 2x2 square under ceiling truss. Make sure you don’t break sheetrock and reseal, mud, tape, etc.

You don’t have to remove old insulation if dry. More is better. I would also suggest blowing in from fascia if available. This is way cheaper and easier than cutting out sheetrock.

People add rafters all the time over flat trusses. Truth is that distributed forces are a lot less with a pitch roof than a flat roof. You will need a builder/architect/inspector depending on your locale. Did one earlier this year. Very easy…

I have had many ask this question over the years.

It is almost always cost prohibitive.

unfortunately the old insulation is the primary issue - most is batt insulation with decades of prior rat infestations and raccoon activity leaving urine and feces on top under and even inside the insulation … I am also sure there a a number of dead rats in the attic that we haven’t been able to pinpoint given the inaccessible areas. there is also some blown in insulation scattered throughout making things harder to identify unless up close.

that said I am guessing a new roof will cost upwards of 40k or more … and that’s just hard to justify … particularly when it seems there are a few companies i’ve found that will create new access points in the process of cleaning the attic.

if the current roof were in bad shape and needed to be totally redone it might be easier to justify but the current roof is in good condition and is probably on the front end of its life span. Of course, i live in Houston so its life span changes depending on any given years hurricane season …

anyway, many thanks for the info guys … certainly, lots to chew on …

Houston???

No more than 20k tops. I suspect you can find someone to do it 8-10k. Honestly, your problem is the size of your house. People see the house and see $$$ signs. Houston labor/material prices are real cheap.

I can personally go down there and do it for 25k. You are only talking about adding pitch to a 500 square foot area. You don’t have to take this all the way up the roof. Hardest part of this job will be matching siding up…

[quote=“famous”]Houston???

No more than 20k tops. I suspect you can find someone to do it 8-10k. Honestly, your problem is the size of your house. People see the house and see $$$ signs. Houston labor/material prices are real cheap.

I can personally go down there and do it for 25k. You are only talking about adding pitch to a 500 square foot area. You don’t have to take this all the way up the roof. Hardest part of this job will be matching siding up…[/quote]

I’ve had that problem for sure … people hear 4k sqft and assume its massive. Its big but its not what people would expect it to be. to be honest I thought the 4k number was an error with the appraisal district cause it doesn’t feel that big - basically the size is a result of a few Frankenstein additions … anyway, that’s been my biggest hurdle because estimates are all over the map for everything and by budget is not exactly sizable …

by the way - just for clarification I was talking about adding pitch to the low slope portion of the roof and leaving the flat roof as is. Perhaps also keeping the garage conversion as it doesn’t have an attic space and is in back. The flat roof portion and the garage conversion total about 800 sqft … so the remainder would be approximately 3200 sqft.

You lost me. Keep the flat roof flat and add slope to a sloped roof?

If you are just adding slope to do insulation, etc. Wait for the next storm and redo.

The pitch to my 1960 ranch - 1200 square foot roof is so low that when I had it insulated in the 80s, the men had to lay on the joists to blow insulation and could not guarantee that they had reached the last 200 square feet over the carport that I had turned into a room. I had to expensively repair and replace the roof with the last few years and go the architectural shingles in hopes that I’ll be dead by the time I need a new roof. Exterminators I called in wihen I first realized I had a rat problem in the roof and under the house didn’t explain about contamination. I now know that all the insulation should be removed - I’ve been told the only way to do this may be to remove the entire celiling in the home’s interior. I’ve been doing what the expertimators did but more, setting traps and tossing poison in the attic and under the house for many years - can only just stand at access points and reach to put traps in. Also looking at major structural repairs caused by failure of pipe in wall - will definitely lose entire bathroom, may lose small bedroom and have massive draining project for the room I added. I can occassionally nail a nail in straight, that is the extent of my skill. Any suggestions about the creepy attic full of contaminated insulation? Frankly would like to sell home to investor and start again with hard won knowledge. However, starting over with a new mortgage at 63 is pretty scary. Will holes in dry wall ceiling of each room be sufficient for the work to be done or just don’t poke my head in the space for traps and poison without a respirator and hope for the best? I’d be fine just taking the ceilings to slope with the roof but I now there are pipes poking through that roof and don’t know where they are located or whether they could go between rafters, have insulation stapled in and dry wall nailed to rafters. Sorry for the length but I really can’t handle all the issues at once without some suggestions. Thank you for any suggestions…

Sorry tor the many typos - thought I had calmed down and proofed - guess not. Thelma