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What is a Barrel Vault?

A barrel vault… that’s what they keep money in at the bank, right? Wrong. Find out everything you need to know about this ceiling type here. Barrel-Vault-01

The barrel vault may sound like a giant structure that holds money in a bank, but that’s not it. You might find a barrel vault in a high-end bank, or one that was built in an old structure, but it’s not meant for any purpose other than to add aesthetic appeal to a room.

But let’s shift our focus away from financial institutions because they aren’t the only places you’ll find barrel vaults; not by a long shot. You’ll find them in the Vatican and just about any other historic structure. You may even find them in your neighbor’s home (gasp).

Have we sufficiently built suspense? Okay, now I guess we can answer the question…

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What is a Barrel Vault?

A barrel vault is a type of decorative ceiling that is used to soften the edges of a room and, in some cases, make it appear larger. The easiest way for you to imagine a barrel vaulted ceiling is to imagine a giant barrel cut in half lengthwise and mounted on the ceiling. The process of building one of these ceilings is a little more involved than that, but now you get the picture.

Barrel vaults are made up of one single curve that is repeated over and over again on the exact same radius throughout the ceiling. These vaults can span the entire length and width of a room, or they can be used more sparingly to highlight one section of the room.

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How Can I Install a Barrel Vault?

For most people, installing a barrel vault is fairly easy. It’s the barrel production that can be a challenge. That’s why we got into the barrel-making business so many years ago, and it’s also why demand has only increased over time. As more people realize that they can install these stunning ceilings within their budget, more people are making the move to barrel ceilings. To get the process started, you’ll just need to take three simple measurements.

  • Length: This is the distance from one end to the other.
  • Width: This is the span of the barrel vault. Exactly how wide would you like it to be?
  • Rise: This one seems more complicated than the other two on paper, but it’s actually quite simple. Rise measures the height of your barrel vault. Measure from the apex of the curve to the lowest point of where you want your barrel to go. As you might imagine, this measurement impacts the radius of each curve.

And if you have very basic needs, it gets even easier. No need to send us your measurements. You can just buy one of our premade kits and install it into your ceiling (it’s perfect for renovations).

Once you have your custom or basic kit on site, you can follow the simple instructions that came in the box, or watch one of our easy-to-follow installation videos.

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