Add outdoor space to your home with a rooftop terrace

Image for article titled Add Outdoor Space to Your Home with a DIY Rooftop Deck

Photo: Artazum (Shutterstock)

Outdoor space is always a good thing in a home. No matter how beautiful your interiors are, human beings are animals, and as such, we onewe’re meant to roam free with the wind in our hair. While typical suburban houses often have a big garden, and some rural houses come with a lot of surface to enjoy, the more urban your environment, the less you will have access to a vast outdoor space. You might not have any outdoor space at all.

If that is the case-or if you just want to enjoy a beautiful private outdoor space –think about your roof. Rooftop terraces can be great additions to your home, additional addition space for tanning, doing yoga, hosting cocktail parties, or starting a window box garden (or all of the above). The benefits of a roof terrace go beyond simply saving usable space—they can also be very private and peaceful, an/a they can increase the value of your home.

You might think that installing a roof deck is an expensive project requiring expert contractors, but depending on the type of roof you are working with, it doesn’t have to be. Here’s How You Can Add a DIY Roof Deck to Your Home Without Breaking the Bank or Stressing Out.

Make your deu ddiligence

If you want to avoid having to read the fine print of your landlord’s insurance policy, you need to do your due diligence before embarking on a rooftop terrace project:

  • Hire an engineer. Most flat roofs are definitely not designed to support the load of a roof terrace with several people standing on it. Your first step should be to hire a professional to inspect your roof to determine if it is capable of supporting the loads, or if it can be increased to support them. And don’t assume an existing deck means you’re fine, unless you know for a fact that the previous owner did their due diligence.
  • Check the hardware. Flat roofs can be made with different materials. Ideally you want a rubber roof with a smooth surface – a gravel roof means your deck will push gravel down into the membrane, potentially puncturing it and ruining your waterproofing. And if your roof is covered with clay tiles or something similar, you probably won’t be able to get away with it at all.
  • Check your codes. Finally, roof decks can run into all sorts of local building codes, HOA rules, and other regulations. Double check this before you have to. to delete A brand-new bridge.
  • Delivery. Building a roof deck requires you to bring a lot of very heavy and space-saving materials to the roof. Check to see if your hardware supplier can deliver your materials by crane, dropping them directly onto the roof for you. Unless you’re that weirdo who thinks carrying a hundred pieces of wood up three floors is just healthy exercise.

Consider the gender of rphew

Saying you have a “flat roof” isn’t very accurate or precise. All flat roofs have a slope, which is why water runs off. The tone is usually subtle, but it will be there, so you’ll have to determine the pitch of your roof so that you can take this into account when building your terrace.

The ideal roof for a DIY patio is one with an existing railing or parapet walls. These are the “half” walls that run around the perimeter of the roof. If the roof you’re considering for a deck is one of these, you may not have to install railings (which are not only a good idea but almost certainly required by code) and you can easily drop a deck “floating” in place (see below). If your roof is not bounded by parapet walls, you will need to consider installing a guardrail around the perimeter.

You can DIY a terrace on a non-flat roof, and it’s not that hard, but it’s a little harder and a lot less safe. You do, but most people will be much happier and safer on a flat roof.

Consider the ttype of deck

Once you’ve selected your location, assuming you’ve installed parapet walls or railings, there are several different approaches to a DIY roof deck.

  • Carpets, tiles, grass. The easiest thing to do is to simply buy rubber mats or plastic tiles that snap together and set them in place, or cut a piece of outdoor mat or artificial grass to fit. This type of patio can be completed in less than an hour and gives you a nice surface to walk on with no construction required.
  • Floating bridge. A step up from rubber mats is to build an actual deck. It will involve wood and other materials, but it is not difficult. You will need sleper—tthese are usually 2 by 6 pieces of pressure-treated lumber that are laid flat on the roof. Placing pieces of rubber or other roofing material under them is a good idea, and you’ll probably need to adjust them to the pitch of the roof by ripping (cutting) them at the proper angle or building the material under them gradually so that they are level. You will need to lay the crosspieces 16 inches away in the center and make sure they are parallel to the slope of your roof, otherwise they will block the drainage, and you will have a big problem.
  • Pedestal platform system. An alternative to wooden sleepers is a pedestal decking system like those made by Bison Innovative Products. Depending on the size of your roof, this option may be a little more expensive, but the adjustable nature of the studs makes it easier to get a level roof. Instead of sleepers, depending on the system, you’ll attach pressure-treated lumber to the pedestals or pre-engineered deck units. Fordeck planks, your cheapest option is pressure treated boards, which you can find at any big box hardware store or lumber yard. Pressure treated lumber will last you 10 at 20 year, depending on weather conditions, and is easy to cut and install. Alternatively, you can use composite decking like Trex. This material is a mix of wood and plastic and will never rot, making it a more expensive but much more durable material that is generally as easy to work with as wood.

If you have depth, flat roof with high parapet walls, the weight of the deck is probably all you need to hold it in place – no need to penetrate waterproofing or secure the deck. If your roof doesn’t have parapet walls or you’re concerned about holding your floating deck in place (or if building code requires it), you’ll need to anchor your transoms to the roof by penetrating the membrane and then sealing the screws with polyurethane caulking (note: not latex or silicone caulking), or attaching a lintel to the house and attaching your rails to it.

It may sound complicated, but it is.– or two-day work, depending on your roof—then a decade or more enjoying fabulous outdoor space aand literally feel superior to your neighbors.