Rooftop decks seem to be synonymous with urban settings and New York skylines, but these beautiful decks can really be enjoyed by anyone. It's more rare to see rooftop decks in residential settings but they offer a few advantages over regular decks.
Advantages of Installing a Rooftop Deck
Here are a few reasons why a rooftop deck addition is a great idea:
1. Can Be Connected to an Existing Deck
One very cool feature of a raised deck is that you could easily attach a simple set of stairs from your existing ground or second-story level deck to the rooftop deck. If your home is in an area with an incredible view this eagle's nest of sorts is an exciting opportunity.
2. Adds Value and Flair to Your Home
Not many homes have a rooftop deck which means your home will be more valuable and unique. This is a bonus if you enjoy having high curb appeal and will also be useful if you later decide to sell your home.
3. Doesn't Take Up Yard Space
If your home already have little yard space it seems a shame to cover it with a deck, especially since a well-maintained lawn is a thing of beauty. Choosing a rooftop deck means you won't take up ground space and you'll have a more versatile means of entertaining. Visit with guests on the deck and have space for the children to play in the yard below.
4. Can Feel More Private in Urban Areas
While being up in the air seems to be the opposite of privacy, if you put up potted shrubs or privacy screen you'll find you have better privacy on a rooftop deck than at ground level. This privacy is enjoyable for many and you may also find it's quiet up there as well.
Material and Installation Options for Rooftop Decks
The very first thing you should remember if you're considering a rooftop deck is that a normal residential roof is not designed for entertaining purpose, or to have the stress of people or furniture on it. Using a normal roof as a deck will only serve to damage the protective roofing membrane and void your roofing warranty.
Also, you should be sure that your roof is in good condition prior to installing a rooftop deck. It is a good idea to have a professional come out and evaluate it. If there is a problem with the roof, a deck will not cover up the issue, so to speak. Instead it will likely exacerbate it.
If your contractor finds that your home and roof are good candidates for a rooftop deck you can discuss differents types of materials and installations. For materials the most popular choices for a residential rooftop deck are wood decking boards or some type of composite/synthetic paver system. Commercial buildings or apartments may opt for a mineral-embedded surface material but the average home is better off with wood or pavers.
A wood deck area on a rooftop requires the same maintenance as regular wood decking and is therefore a nice, reliable choice for most homeowners. Wood is particularly good for doing a raised roof deck. Raised roof decks are what you would assume - a raised wood structure placed on special pads on the roof, with the actual decking on that.
This raised system is nice for the underlying roof and is particularly good for wet regions as water will go right through the deck and off the house roof like normal. These raised decks are also nice when it comes to roof maintenance. You can easily remove raised panels and access the roof under without disrupting the entire deck.
If you are concerned with the care needed for wood decking you might want to do pavers instead. Pavers are tiles, that vary in size, but are typically 2' x 2' squares. These pavers are a type of low-maintenance decking substitute that can be made of a variety of composite materials but the most common are concrete pavers or rubber pavers. Similar to a raised wood deck, these pavers are either placed on protective pads or have their own small raised feet to allow for water drainage under it. Keep in mind that concrete pavers are great because they last a long time and need barely any maintenance, however are very heavy. Consult with your contractor about concrete paver weight concerns and whether your house is a candidate for them.
Warranty Options for Rooftop Decks
An important thing to consider before installing a rooftop deck is how it may affect the warranty on a residential roof. It is an unfortunate but common issue that a rooftop deck get installed and the homeowner later finds out that there’s a roof leak issue, even if not caused by the deck, isn't covered because of the deck. Always speak with the manufacturer prior to any construction being done. Many manufacturers will allow a rooftop deck under warranty, but only if you get permission prior.
Speaking of permissions, double-check with your local buildings laws as you may very well need a permit to build a rooftop deck, just as you would with a normal deck around your home. Your contractor may also help with determining what permit you need.
Rooftop decks are a wonderful way to increasing outdoor living space, adding value to your home and diversifying how you can enjoy your property. It gives you a unique space for entertaining guests and gives you a bird's eye view of your surrounding environment, something a ground level deck could never do.
Take your time weighing the pros and cons of a rooftop deck and work only with a reputable contractor experienced in rooftop installations. Discuss a rooftop deck installation plan with your roof manufacturer, get a building permit if needed, and you'll be well on your way to enjoy summer from above your home in no time.