lowering my shop ceiling

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Forum topic by Colorado1 posted 02-05-2018 07:51 PM 1210 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 992 days

02-05-2018 07:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop ceiling height

I just purchased a new home in the Colorado mountains that has a beautiful 70X40 unfinished shop on the property. It is a 2X6 framed building with 16 feet to the bottom of the rafters.
I plan to segment the shop into two sections 30X40 for my woodworking shop and 40X40 for my automotive hobbies.
For the woodworking shop, I need to insulate and I may want to lower the ceiling to 10 or 12 feet. This will reduce the space I need to heat and create a space above the ceiling where I can mount dust collection equipment.
I am looking for opinions and advice on the ideal ceiling height for a workshop and framing approaches for creating this ceiling under the existing rafters. Ideally I don’t want any posts in the shop area, but I will be spanning 40 feet. I don’t really have much framing experience, so open to suggestions.


19 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5872 posts in 3233 days

#1 posted 02-05-2018 07:53 PM

I like 10’ ceilings in a shop so I can swing an 8’ board around with out breaking the lights.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View AZWoody's profile


1478 posts in 2105 days

#2 posted 02-05-2018 08:26 PM

I have 12’ and I like it. The DC piping is around 9’ though and crosses the shop in 2 places.
One thing about dust collection, you may not be happy with your first placement of tools, or your second or third so make sure you have easy access to everything to change things easy enough.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2722 posts in 1044 days

#3 posted 02-05-2018 10:34 PM

10-4 with Bondo: swinging an 8’ board around without breaking anything.

I have had 2 shops with 10’ ceilings with blown in insulation in the attic and both were very comfortable.
I did not do work that required higher than 10’ ceilings so that was not an issue.
the 8’ fluorescent shop lights were flush mounted and did not hang down. (something else to consider).
a good carpenter framing crew can use dimensional lumber to create a lower framework for drywall
if you did not want to go with the traditional wire and metal frame grid style suspended ceiling.

enjoy your new digs !!!!

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View AandCstyle's profile


3287 posts in 3139 days

#4 posted 02-05-2018 10:39 PM

Colorado, I agree with Bondo on the 10’ height for ease of handling sheets of plywood, etc.

-- Art

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 1698 days

#5 posted 02-06-2018 04:05 AM

9 feet is not quite enough. I know this from personal experience.

View AxkMan's profile


65 posts in 1008 days

#6 posted 02-06-2018 05:41 AM

I would use the extra space for storage.

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2368 days

#7 posted 02-06-2018 05:44 AM

9’ min. 10’ perfect. Go with a drop ceiling. It will hide ductwork, wiring and can be insulated. It’s not structural so anything more than a couple lbs need to be supported from the rafters.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6502 posts in 3375 days

#8 posted 02-06-2018 11:57 AM

I went with 10’ in my current shop, and I’ve had 9’ in the past. I actually found 9’ to do just fine, but I do like to 10’ a little better.It’s pretty easy to hold that 8’ piece of lumber up a little when you swing it around; 10’ allows you to do that without breaking the lights. I do suggest you consider something. Putting your DC duct behind the ceiling may sound like a good idea (and maybe it is) but that ductwork may clog, forcing you to somehow access it to clean it out. More likely, you’ll do something (like buy a new tool) that requires you to rework it a little. Having it exposed makes both those tasks easier. Just saying…..

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View AlmostRetired's profile


221 posts in 1596 days

#9 posted 02-06-2018 12:20 PM

My 2 car garage at the new house is only 8ft even….don’t do that! Only concern I have with anything less than 10-12 feet is if you want to use that high area for wood storage in the shop where it is temp controlled. know I have too much wood for my little place….do you have a habit of saving everything?


View Holt's profile


280 posts in 3511 days

#10 posted 02-06-2018 01:14 PM

Recessing the lighting helps with that too.

I like 10 ceilings in a shop so I can swing an 8 board around with out breaking the lights.

- bondogaposis

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1586 days

#11 posted 02-06-2018 04:46 PM

As to height – 10 feet minimum. Like the fellas have already said, having room to swing an 8’ board is nice. With ceilings at 10 feet, that gives you a margin of 1 foot on either end while you swing that board. Do-able, but still requires a bit of care. If you’re going to hang anything from the ceiling (lights, air cleaner, storage racks), then 11-12ft is even better :) It’s one of those things where more is better, but I understand the need to balance the need for height with the need for a low heating/cooling bill :)

Regarding your DC ducting – many have put false floors in their shops and put the ducting and electrical in the floor. A wooden false floor is also easier on the joints than a concrete slab ;) If you raise the floor, that’ll most likely impact where you place the ceiling.

As for how, probably very similar to the way the roof is framed already. Just repeat at a lower height. With that large of span, you’ll probably want to consult a construction engineer. But you’re probably looking at some sort of truss, supported at either end of the span.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View Notbrick's profile


42 posts in 991 days

#12 posted 02-07-2018 03:26 AM

I would consider the use of one or two ceiling fans in a space that large. Rotate so the fans pull air up, forcing warm air down the walls. Just needs to be a slow setting an beneficial for a fan with mid-large span. Might benefit you greatly. Certainly a more cost effective solution, to test than dropping the whole ceiling.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4209 posts in 3990 days

#13 posted 02-07-2018 05:13 AM

OK, the question about not having posts was not addressed. 10 foot ceilings are good for most applications. You are going to have posts somewhere in that shop. I’ll have to ask how you got that 70 foot span without posts, without using steel I-beams. Or did I miss something? That’s going to be your answer, short of furher explanation.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View caboxmaker's profile


280 posts in 1269 days

#14 posted 02-07-2018 05:27 AM

12’ if you plan on buying a clearvue dust collector.

View Colorado1's profile


2 posts in 992 days

#15 posted 02-07-2018 01:04 PM

Thanks Everyone for your feedback!
I do have a cyclone and part of the shop design is determining where to put it. initially I was thinking I would put it above the new lowered ceiling, but going with a 12’ ceiling and mounting the cyclone on the wall in the shop may be a good option as well.

Regarding posts in the shop, the current roof trussed span the width of the shop (40’) without any posts, and are every 2 feed on center.
I could hang a suspended ceiling from these rafters, but if I want any storage capacity, or to put equipment like the cyclone above the new ceiling, then I believe I would need at least one post, a main beam, and floor joists. I was hoping to get away with not having the post, but sounds like that’s not in the cards.

I will also look in to ceiling fans and possibly just insulating the existing 16’ ceiling, but that is a lot of additional space to heat. Financially, I was hoping if the cost of lowered ceiling will be offset by lower heating bills and save me some money long term.


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