Rooftop decks have always been a popular amenity for many different types of buildings. Multi-family apartment buildings, hotels, office buildings, and even private residences can use a rooftop deck to draw people to the space. While rooftop decks have always been popular, it only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as people sought outdoor spaces where they could visit safely and enjoy fresh air after months of stay-at-home orders and recommendations to not gather indoors.
As the pandemic continued and eventually waned, rooftop decks increasingly became a fifth façade, a place designed in conjunction with the building itself to provide space for tenants and residents to enjoy views and nature and get a little more breathing room.
When designing a rooftop deck there are a number of things to consider, including:
How to make the space as energy efficient as possible?
If the infrastructure will support decking materials and an increased live load?
When the space will be used and if enclosures are needed to deal with cold weather, rain, and snow?
What materials will work best over the life of the deck?
Whether you’re integrating a rooftop space in a new construction project or retrofitting an existing deck to expand the building’s usable space, these considerations will inform the material choices you’ll make.
3 Problems with Rooftop Concrete Pavers
Concrete roof pavers have been the traditional material for rooftop decks, favored for their durability, aesthetic, and flexibility, but with the increase in rooftop deck flooring options, there may be a better choice for your project.
Let’s take a look at some of the concrete roofing paver problems you may encounter when choosing concrete as your rooftop deck material.
1. Wind Uplift Issues
For buildings, especially taller ones, grappling with the effect of wind on the roof deck materials can cause significant issues. Wind uplift occurs when air infiltrates the space under the roof materials to create positive pressure while the wind that blows over the surface creates negative pressure. As the two forces work against each other, the opposing forces begin to loosen and separate the rooftop pavers.
In areas with high winds or those prone to hurricane or tornados, buildings, especially tall buildings, are vulnerable to the effects of wind uplift on their roofing materials. To mitigate this risk, the concrete deck pavers can be fastened into place.
2. Increased Weight
If a building wasn’t built to handle the added weight of a rooftop deck, concrete pavers may not be the best choice. When building a rooftop deck, it’s important to analyze the existing infrastructure to ensure it will be able to support both the added dead load of materials, furniture, and landscaping, but also the live load of the people who will use it.
Even one inch-thick concrete pavers, one of the more lightweight concrete roof paver options, weigh approximately 12 lbs per square foot, which adds a significant load to an existing roof. This means that if the building’s infrastructure wasn’t prepared for the additional load, it will have to be retrofitted with additional support, which is an added project cost.
3. Difficult Installation Process
Concrete pavers are installed using a pedestal paver system. This system is able to create a completely level rooftop deck with room for water drainage and air flow underneath, but it is a difficult system to install.
To install concrete roof pavers using a pedestal system, adjustable pedestals are placed where the four corners of the paver will be supported. They are then raised or lowered to the proper height to create a level surface. The concrete pavers are then placed on the pedestals.
When concrete pavers need to be cut to size for edges and corners, special tools and experience are necessary to cut them to size.
The Benefits of Aspire Pavers
Aspire Pavers provide a number of benefits that make them the superior choice instead of concrete pavers.
Our pavers are half the weight of concrete pavers, making them more cost effective to transport, easier to carry, and more convenient to install. One of the main concerns when installing rooftop pavers is the increased load they will place on the structure, so using a lightweight material will maintain the integrity of the building and the roof may not need as much additional structural support.
Easy to Install
Unlike concrete pavers that require specialized tools and knowledge to cut to size, Aspire Pavers can be cut with common household tools and no more knowledge than what’s needed to measure the size and operate the tools.
To make installation even easier, we designed a patented grid system that is also a drainage mat and makes installation quick and simple. Their light weight and easy installation process means that Aspire Paver installation can be completed in 40% of the time it takes to install traditional concrete pavers.
Increased Energy Efficiency
Made from recycled materials and recyclable at the end of their life, the scrap from installation can also be recycled. They are lighter, so they require less energy to transport. They don’t require heavy equipment to lift them into place in some cases. All of these factors add up to increased energy-efficiency and a softer impact on the environment.
Sustainable and Durable
Our pavers use up to 95% post-consumer recycled material, including recycled scrap tire rubber and plastics. Scraps from the installation process are recyclable, and down the road, at the end of their life, the pavers can also be recycled.
Aspire Pavers are also durable, fade-resistant, scratch-resistant, and stain-resistant, so regardless of whether the rooftop deck is used for gatherings, relaxing, entertaining, or dancing, you can be sure it will stand up to years of use.
Choose Aspire Pavers Instead of Concrete Pavers
Concrete pavers are a traditional paver material, but using them on a roof can create a host of problems over the years, namely a difficult installation process, increased weight, and a tendency to crack. Choosing Aspire Pavers allows your tenants to enjoy the rooftop deck for years to come and gives you peace of mind knowing you’ve chosen a durable and sustainable material.
Contact the experts at Aspire Pavers today to discuss options for your rooftop deck.