Building a rooftop deck can seem like a large undertaking, but the final result will be worth the time, effort, and money that you put into the project. A rooftop deck gives building tenants and residents a place to escape to the outdoors with a view of the surrounding area. It can be a place to gather and relax and is a desirable amenity, especially in areas where outdoor spaces are hard to come by or yards aren’t readily available.
Building a deck over a flat roof can come with challenges, like choosing the right material, installation methods, and determining the need for additional structural support, and it can result in a highly sought-after building amenity.
Building a deck can seem intimidating, but we’ve broken it down into 4 steps for how to build a rooftop patio.
1. Assess the Space
The first step to building a roof deck is to assess the existing space. The structure itself should be assessed to ensure it can hold the weight of the additional dead load and live load that a rooftop deck will add.
Assess the needs of the space and design it accordingly. Determine which permits are necessary for the construction of the deck, as well as any needed structural modifications.
2. Choose Decking Material
How you prepare to build a deck on a roof is partly dependent on the material that you choose for the decking. Concrete pavers are very heavy and may require more structural modifications to support its weight than a lighter weight paver like porcelain or composite.
Use and traffic should also be considered when choosing the material. High traffic areas or areas where people will be milling around or doing a lot of standing should use a comfortable material, like composite, so that the people using it don’t end up with sore knees or feet. If the area will be used for entertaining, a stain resistant material like composite should be used, so cleanup won’t be stressful and the deck won’t show signs of last weekend’s barbecue.
Decking Material Options
Here are a few of the most common deck pavers to choose from when designing a rooftop deck:
Concrete is a popular choice because it is affordable and durable. It is traditionally used as a paver in many applications including rooftop decks. Since they are so heavy, the structure may require additional support to hold the weight safely. Concrete is durable, however it can also show stains and may eventually crack. Concrete pavers also use a pedestal installation system that can be difficult to work with and may result in higher installation costs.
Porcelain pavers are a beautiful and durable option that can mimic the look of stone or wood materials. Like concrete pavers, they typically use a pedestal installation system. They are lighter weight than concrete which makes them easier to work with, but they cost more than concrete.
Also known as fake grass, synthetic turf can be used as a rooftop deck material and is very cost effective, but it should be used in moderation so it doesn’t overwhelm the space.
Interlocking Wood Deck Tiles
Interlocking wood deck tiles are an easy way to add a natural element to rooftop patio or deck design. They lock together for quick installation, but they aren’t a permanent solution since they can be repositioned or removed as needed.
Composite pavers for a rooftop deck create a comfortable space that is easy to walk on because of their natural give. They are scratch, stain, and crack resistant and require virtually no maintenance. Though they cost more than other materials, their longevity, easy installation process, and durability often make them worth the investment. They are also made with recycled material, so they are a sustainable solution for a rooftop deck project.
3. Prepare the Space
Before installing the actual decking material, the space will need to be prepared, so installation can run smoothly. Any structural modifications that need to be done should be completed. If there is any old decking that needs to be removed, now is the time. If you build the roof deck over the existing deck or directly on the underlayment, make sure that the area is clean and free of any debris.
4. Install the Rooftop Deck
Once the space is prepared, you can install the rooftop deck using the appropriate installation method for the decking material you chose.
Materials like concrete or porcelain use a pedestal installation system where adjustable pedestals are placed at the four corners, and sometimes the sides of each paver and the pavers rest on top of the pedestals. This system can be difficult to work with as each pedestal needs to be positioned and adjusted. When planning the rooftop deck, be sure to account for the added height that is created with this system.
In a sleeper installation system, a wood frame with joists will sit on top of the rooftop deck and the pavers will be installed to the frame. This system requires additional material and labor to construct the frame. This system is best used with plank decking made of wood, composite, or porcelain.
Installation Grid System
This is the easiest method to install rooftop deck pavers and it takes 40% less time than to install traditional concrete pavers on a pedestal system. Aspire offers a patented grid that lays directly on the underlayment or old decking material and the pavers are simply placed on the grid in the desired pattern.
How to Build a Rooftop Deck on a Sloped Roof vs. a Flat Roof
Building a rooftop deck on a sloped, or pitched, roof requires a frame constructed with beams and supports on which the decking material will be attached to create a flat deck. Building a rooftop deck on a flat roof shouldn’t require an additional frame or platform.
Pavers installed with a pedestal system will rest on top of four or more pedestals — at least one at each corner and possibly one on each side depending on the size of the paver.
Aspire Pavers work wonderfully on both a deck build on a sloped roof or on a flat roof. Our patented installation grids lay flat on the substrate, so on a flat roof that does have a slight slope to encourage water drainage, our installation grids will follow the slope of the roof, to facilitate drainage and make installation easier than a pedestal system.
Aspire Pavers Make Deck Construction Easy
When you’re planning your rooftop deck construction project, consider Aspire Pavers for the decking material. Our pavers are made with 95% post-consumer recycled material and help divert materials from the landfill. Our easy installation process will save both time and money and make the project go quickly, so the rooftop deck can be enjoyed as quickly as possible.
Contact the experts at Aspire today to discuss rooftop deck installation and choose the right material for your project.