There’s something special about a rooftop deck, whether you live in the city or out in the countryside. It’s your private perch where you can relax and enjoy a birds-eye view of your neighborhood. Homeowners also love these rooftop oases because they are great spaces for entertaining or growing greenery in containers and raised-bed gardens. With all these benefits, who wouldn’t want one?
Suppose you’re looking into adding this unique selling point to your home. In that case, there are several things you need to look at first, such as the shape of your roof, how much additional structural support you’ll need, the material you want to use, your budget, and other construction and design factors. Building a rooftop deck also is more complex than a ground-level deck, so you may want to hire a professional deck builder. Our experts here at SRI Decks can help you with designing your dream space on your housetop, and we offer these five tips to help you prepare for the project:
1. The first thing you want to do is to check with your city and county to make sure your home is allowed to have a rooftop deck. Rooftop decks are usually associated with flat or partially flat roofs, but many homeowners with sloped roofs have also been able to build their rooftop getaways with some modifications. You need to make sure they are allowed within permitting guidelines.
Your Colorado deck builder should be well-versed in all of these regulations and can walk you through the process. If your home falls under the jurisdiction of an HOA, you’ll want to be clear on its requirements for making additions to your home before you start building. We’ve seen many a homeowner find out too late that their HOA didn’t sanction an addition or change, only to have to rip it out and absorb the cost.
2. Your rooftop construction will take up more space than what is needed for a ground-level deck, so you need to plan accordingly. Will your deck installers be moving up and down the interior stairs of your home, or will they need to build outdoor scaffolding? Some housetops will require a crane to access the roof, so there will have to be enough space for the crane to move around trees, powerlines, and any other structures on the property. Is there room? Will you have to clear away trees or other obstacles first? All important questions that need to be asked and answered, preferably before the contract is signed.
3. Consider the landscaping around your home and proposed deck. Are there existing trees that can provide shade or ambiance to your rooftop space? Or are they too close and in the way of construction? What about planting some trees at the base of your home in an area that won’t interfere with your deck but will provide future shade benefits? Also, allocating space for foliage on the deck by including built-in plant containers and garden boxes is a terrific way to give your area some shade while simultaneously creating a natural, rejuvenating vibe.
4. Select your decking materials carefully, taking into consideration weight, longevity, and warranty protection. Some deck materials may not be covered under warranty if installed on a rooftop deck. This is because the deck on top of your home is subject to more intense exposure to the elements, including sun, wind, snow, and ice. PVC and vinyl decking are lighter than composite or wood, but they don’t do well with direct sunlight and limited airflow. They also can get uncomfortably hot for bare feet.
The same is true for composite decking, except that it’s also weightier decking material. Pressure-treated wood is lighter, but it can splinter and needs a fair amount of maintenance. It also requires a 12-inch clearance, which will be challenging to do for a roof deck.
Hardwoods are dense and incredibly sturdy and durable, but they also can be pretty expensive and aren’t an eco-friendly option if you’re concerned about deforestation. One of your better materials for a rooftop deck is modified wood, as it requires little maintenance, is cool to the touch, rarely splinters, and ages well over time. Modified wood is also as dense as some tropical hardwoods, so it is durable and resistant to moisture and sun.
5. Connect your existing deck to the rooftop deck. If you already have a deck attached to your home, it’s a good idea to build on the outdoor entertaining space you already have and connect the two with a staircase. This allows you and your guests to move freely from one level to the other without using the interior stairs. A two-story deck is also eye-catching and can add considerable value to your property.
Now that summer is upon us, adding a rooftop deck might be just what the doctor ordered for you and your family. And with a bit of planning and a first-rate deck installer, you can do it in time to enjoy the rest of the season. Remember, you’re not just building a rooftop deck. You’re creating an exotic treehouse-like getaway within your own home. And when you’re out there sipping your iced tea and gazing up at that big blanket of Colorado stars, you know it will be totally worth it.