What You Need To Know About Building a Rooftop DeckMay 26, 2021
Whether you live in a city or are simply looking for a spectacular view, building a rooftop deck has many advantages. These areas are usually more private, a little warmer and a lot quieter than street-level patios. However, there are some considerations that need to be addressed before you throw your furniture on the roof and claim it as your own private oasis.
When a building is constructed, a lot of forethought goes into how the rainwater will drain from the roof. Sometimes the roof is slanted into gutters, and other times there are drainage systems built right in. If you mess with a building’s drainage system, there could be expensive and damaging effects.
One way to construct a rooftop area that doesn’t impact drainage is by using an elevated deck system. These systems allow water to drain freely underneath panels held up by small pedestals. These even work if your roof is slanted. Deck panels can be installed with adjustable pedestal support, allowing for each corner to be raised or lowered to the ideal height.
Figuring out the amount of weight a roof can hold is not as easy as you may think. First, there is the dead load. This is the weight of the roof itself and any permanent equipment that is fixed to it, like HVAC systems and water tanks. Then there is the live load, accounting for temporary weight. The live load may address heavy snowfall or contractors with tools working on the roof. A rooftop deck increases both dead load and live load, so it is extremely important to determine if the area can withstand additional weight.
Start by looking at your local building codes. It will list the minimum load-bearing requirements for buildings in your community. Next, take a look at the rafters used to construct the roof. What size beams were used, and how far apart are they spaced? Finally, use online calculators or span tables to determine the load your roof can handle. If you are unfamiliar with building specs, then you should consult a professional.
Inspectors are experts in building codes. Although calling an inspector may be the last thing you want to do, it will ensure that your rooftop deck is safe and legal. In many areas, permits are required to add a deck even if you own the building. So, if you want to truly relax in the new outdoor space you are creating, then bite the bullet and make sure everything is up to snuff.