Ask a Professional: a Rooftop Deck

An increasing number of our customers are asking us to quote for rooftop deck installation. This solution is gaining popularity both in the suburbs and in Chicago itself, and the development of technology is conducive to experimentation. Is it worth building a rooftop deck? What are its advantages and disadvantages?

First Things First – Roof Load Capacity

pros and cons of rooftop deck

Before you start thinking about the color of the boards and the type of furniture you will put on your terrace, it is essential to check whether you can install it at all. For obvious reasons, your house must be covered with a flat roof, but not every technology will be suitable. Theoretically speaking, the deck can be installed on the vast majority of popular solutions, although the cost of such an operation may exceed the homeowner’s capabilities.

A safe solution is green roofs as well as those made of concrete. These are very sturdy structures, designed to carry heavy loads (and the installation of a roof deck involves such loads). Most TPO roofs will also be suitable, although in some cases, the structure holding the terrace will be a bit more elaborate and more expensive.

rooftop deck technologies

In a much worse situation are owners of asphalt flat roofs and metal flat roofs, whose structures are usually very weak. It happens that such roofs can’t withstand the pressure of snow and ice, let alone a terrace with people on it.

Also recommended for homeowners from Chicago: Everything you need to know about ACM panels

Can I Legally Erect a Rooftop Deck on my House?

Illinois law requires that a homeowner planning to replace or extensively remodel a roof apply for a permit. Your plans are also affected by the decision of the local homeowner association, which can make regulations regarding the exterior appearance of buildings. In most cases, going through the paperwork is not difficult, but you must remember to fulfill all legal obligations.

What Decking Material Should I Choose For Rooftop Deck?

In recent years, more and more homeonwers are choosing to build a rooftop deck from synthetic/composite wood. This is hardly surprising, since modern materials are highly resistant to weather conditions and mechanical stimuli, and their maintenance is much cheaper and easier. One popular manufacturer of composite decking, Trex, offers up to 50 years of warranty on its products.

rooftop deck roof terrace materials

Natural wood also has its advantages – the white and red cedar we use can please its owner for many years, as long as maintenance is carried out regularly and properly.

Sometimes homeowners decide to use ceramic tiles, stone tiles or concrete. While these are extremely durable and sometimes priced very attractively, you have to reckon with their weight. Even thin stone veneer is about 0.4-0.8 inches thick, which, in the case of a large roof deck, translates into really heavy pressure that your home may simply not be able to withstand.

How to Design a Comfortable Rooftop Deck?

We often find that homeowners are not entirely satisfied with their terraces. They are sometimes too small, poorly designed or inconvenient to use. Practice shows that the best idea will be to visit several properties with a roof deck already built. Also contact deck installers from Wheeling, who will be happy to advise you and help you make the right choice.

It is also potentially a good idea to hire a designer, as he will help you avoid serious mistakes for a relatively small fee, which is often less than $1000. The rooftop deck will be with you for 20-30 years, so it is worth investing a little more money in its construction.

Also take into account your and your family’s needs – maybe you like to do barbecues in your free time, or you are particularly keen on having a hot tub? Your rooftop deck should be properly tailored to your expectations, so that its use is as pleasant as possible. On the other hand, it is not advisable to buy a table that is too big or sofas that are too big, as they will limit the free space and, if not used, will only be a waste of money.

How to Ensure Proper Water Drainage From The Rooftop Deck?

rooftop deck water drainage

Water can pose a very serious threat, so when designing and installing a rooftop deck you should do everything you can to drain this liquid as quickly as possible. First of all, water puts pressure on the roof, which in the case of flat structures can cause a real threat of building collapse. Besides, leaks can occur, causing mold and rotting of wooden elements in the attic. As a rule, the drainage system should be as efficient as possible.

There are several rules you should follow:

  • The decking boards should be installed in such a way that water can drain freely and not linger on the wood. For decking tiles, joints should be deep enough so that drainage is not impaired;
  • The roof surface should be undulating and gently slope to one side. A slope of 2 degrees will not be noticeable to users and at the same time will ensure that water flowing off the rooftop deck will go straight into the gutters;
  • The roof surface must be very well insulated so that water is not able to leak through it;
  • Gutters must remain unobstructed at all times, so we suggest installing gutter guards or other systems to keep leaves and other debris from falling in.

Do you have this problem? Check:. What to do with mold in the attic?

What Furniture and Decorations to Choose for the Rooftop Deck?

rooftop deck furniture ideas

Many of our customers choose to put garden furniture on their patios. The most popular choices are, of course, sofas, tables and grills, but some homeowners also buy swings and hot tubs. Potted plants are also popular.

In our opinion, the most important parameter of furniture for your rooftop deck should be water resistance. A relatively inexpensive, yet very durable material is synthetic rattan, which has a lifespan of about 10 years. Also, the cushions should be water-resistant, as linen, cotton and other natural materials tend to mold and rot.

Some homeowners in and around Chicago say that furniture made of aluminum is the best choice. Their choice is supported by their very high resistance, low weight and resistance to rust – highly desirable. On the other hand, aluminum patio furniture can get very hot during the summer and be unpleasantly cool in the fall.

When choosing furniture for the rooftop deck, suggest, first of all, their durability and practicality – you are furnishing a relatively small lounge space and an inefficient arrangement will cause discomfort, and thus, discourage use. It is also common for furniture not to be tucked away for the winter, and to be exposed to a great deal of light in the summer. These are not optimal operating conditions for most materials, so low-quality products will very quickly lose their aesthetics, and in extreme cases, will crumble, for example. Taking into account the difficult access to the terrace itself, the eventual replacement of the sofa will be troublesome, as it will have to be brought up the stairs.

Is Rooftop Deck a Good Investment?

Well, it depends. We can certainly say that the construction of a terrace is a way to increase the value of your property, and the comfort of your home increases. On the other hand, in many cases, the difference in price at the eventual sale does not cover the expenses incurred for this investment. For this reason, we believe that it is not worth planning to install a rooftop deck if you plan to move in the near future. You will gain much more if you spend the money on necessary maintenance, such as replacing the siding.

In this case, is it worth spending money on a rooftop deck? In our opinion, as much as possible, but only if you like to spend time outside. Many people opt for this solution because they don’t have a garden – for obvious reasons, a rooftop terrace is pretty much the only way to give yourself a private space to spend time with friends if you live in Chicago or another big city.

Do you live in or around Chicago and don’t know how much rooftop deck installation costs? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote. We have completed hundreds of carpentry projects, including dozens of terraces, both large and small. Our team of specialists is eager to take care of your home and realize your dreams of the perfect space to spend time with your family.

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