Barrel Vault Ceiling

By Robert Robillard on Uncategorized

Building A Barrel Vault Ceiling  How to build a barrel vault ceiling

A barrel vault is an architectural element that is known as far back as ancient Egypt, and was also used in Roman architecture.  A barrel vault ceiling is a curved ceiling formed by the extrusion of a single curve.  It is basically a series of curved rafters.

The barrel vault pictured is not structural and is built down from existing 2×12 cathedreal ceiling rafters.  There are interior partition walls on either side that the barrell vault ceiling rafters.  The actual strucural weight of the roof is supported by the 2×12 roof rafters.

We figured out the barrel curve we wanted and made a pattern with a router and a trammel, cutting all of the plywood needed for the barrel vault ceiling.

how to build a Barrel vault ceilingEach arch rafter is made up of two pieces of plywood and the tops of the plywood are fastened to the 2×12 roof rafters.  The bottom edges of the plywood  [curve section] have scrap 2×10 material installed along the curve for a nailer and for spacing the plywood.

This scrap material will also act as a nailer for the plaster strapping to be installed after.

The plaster strapping or ribs of this arch [photo above] were made from strips of 3/4″ plywood ripped to 2 inches.  The 2″ strapping was spaced every 2″ and secured to the barrel vault rafter with screws.

Finishing the Barrel Vault Ceiling:

The barrel vault ceiling was finished with two layers of thin 1/4″ blue board, seams overlapped.  1/4-in. blueboard will bend and form acrown molding rope lighting curve.  You may need to wet the back side it if you’re building a tight radius.

TIP:  Draping the blueboard over a couple of sawhorses may help start the curve.   A coat of thin set veener plaster finished the barrel vault.

Once finished crown molding was installed along base of the arch and left open on the to to allow us to install and hide rope accent lighting. The rope lighting was installed on a dimmer provides a nice warm glow at night.



How To Install Crown Molding Rope Lighting

Rope Lighing Basics:  Designing With Rope Lighting

Adding Accent Lighting


Rope lighting behing crown molding






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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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