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Roof Decks: Transform Your Roof into a Place to Relax and Meet Friends

Roof decking, Somerville - top view
Roof decking, Somerville – top view

If you follow interior design trends, you’ve probably heard of Roof Decks. More and more private houses, especially in the suburbs, are being designed in such a way that part of their roofs can be used as an outdoor terrace, place to relax, to hold parties and BBQs.

Roof Decks are in demand for sure and so popular nowadays that even owners of old houses are wondering if they can add such structure to an existing roof of their property.

Although this is not a trivial task, professional roofers can implement such a project even if we are talking about 1900s and older historical buildings.

What is a Roof Deck?

Constructional and architectural nuances aside, roof decks are a type of flat roof that you can access directly from your living room, through an attic space, or by climbing a special outdoor ladder.

You can use the roof deck as you wish: you can install furniture, armchairs, tables, benches, and you can use the roof deck as a place to meditate, grow flowers or enjoy sunsets.

If you are planning to build a house in a picturesque area with an excellent view from the second or third floor, then a roof deck becomes a real must-have.

The area, size, top covering, additional elements on the roof decks surface depend on the project and the architectural features of the building. But still they have common advantages.

Potential Benefits of Roof Decks

  1. You will receive an outdoor room that you can use for relaxation, entertainment, meditation and arranging never-to-be-forgotten parties. The trend of recent years is to place a Caribbean-themed rooftop bar where you will hold open air parties.
  2. Professionally installed roof deck does not require regular maintenance or repair. All you need to do is periodically check the roof covering, once a season or after rain, snowfall, hurricane.
  3. With a Roof Deck you can most likely increase the market value of the property. Especially if the roof is located at a height of 3-4 floors and above, and it offers a beautiful view of the area.
  4. You can turn your Roof Deck into a “green zone” by planting plants, flowers, small trees, or even a vegetable garden.
  5. You can create multiple seating areas and accommodate up to 60-80 people on large roof decks. Just do not forget to tell your neighbors about the planned event.
  6. Professional roofing companies offer a variety of roof deck designs, as well as multiple materials, colors and decorative options ranging from modern membranes to natural-looking roof decks.

Roof Decks Installation Schemes and Options

The design of the roof deck depends on the specifics of the project, the architectural features of the building, the type of covering material you choose and the loads on the building frame. In most cases roof decks can be mounted on a railing or a monolithic base.

  • The most popular option is a roof deck with an exit from the bedroom or another living room that is not visible from the street. The room and the roof in this case are on the same or mostly the same level.
  • Another scheme is a roof deck with several zones. Zones can be separated by stairs and passages. The area of ​​the roof deck can be both small and huge, according to the size of the entire building.
  • Roof deck on a shed or garage is another popular way to get an open air room. It is suitable for buildings with a sloping roof, but extensions that have a flat roof.

How to Build a Deck Over a Roof?

As experienced roofers note, custom roofing is not designed to be constantly walked on. Standard roofing materials and structural frame are not designed for such operation either.

Therefore, the installation of roof decks requires a special approach, engineering solutions and underlayment and covering materials. As a rule, such projects require financial investments. And if your roofing isn’t designed for roof decks, that investment can be a big one.

Naturally flat roofs are best suited for installation of Roof Decks. But even in this case, it is necessary to check the condition of the roof frame and correctly calculate the expected loads on the surface of the roof used.

Another important feature of such roofs is access to the open roof zone. It is highly desirable that you can access the roof deck from the living or bedroom room. The door can be either sliding or conventional (full glass doors are a hit right now). The staircase for access to the roof deck is also allowed, but the stairs must be straight and not so high. Ladders and spiral staircases are not convenient.

Roof deck must comply with fire review standards. The roof should be designed in such a way as to quickly evacuate people in case of force majeure. These standards may differ from state to state.

If you plan to mount lighting and other accommodations on the roof, they need to be added to the project from the very beginning. All communications, cables and pipes must be securely hidden and protected from rain and temperature changes.

Another reason to hide everything underneath is that cables and pipes under your feet can be not only unsightly, but also safe – you can trip over them.

How to Build a Roof Deck on a Low Slope Roof?

  1. First, find roofers and designers who specialize in Roof Decks. The design and installation of such roofs is a complex and extraordinary task, with specific complexities and solutions that ordinary roofers may not know.
  2. Secondly, it is necessary to strictly observe the rules of fire safety and other established standards. What is more, additional insurance may be required if you plan any major work on the roof of an already completed building.
  3. Thirdly, there may be additional elements on the roof surface – chimneys, roof windows and skylights, air conditioners, and so on. These elements are either built-in or replaced to make it convenient to use the open roof. One more reason to do so is that the panoramic view is not blocked by anything.
  4. The construction of roof decks usually need some permission from the authorities or/and the district neighborhood council. Your project must match the various standards. For example, if you plan to make a roof on a historical building, then your roof should be invisible from the street.
  5. Roof deck construction usually requires a certain amount of money. Do budget planning. A half-finished project is worse than a project that you set aside until better times. On the other hand, professionally executed roof decking can be a long-term investment if you plan to sell your home in the future.
  6. The construction of decking on the roofs of any apartment buildings is a particular problem. When considering remodeling or renovation projects for such buildings, seek permission from architects and find contractors with the required expertise.
  7. Most roofing projects take a long time – from 1-2 months to a year or two, depending on the complexity of the project. Renovation projects require much less time.
  8. Finally, the construction of the roof is high-altitude work. This means that all materials for construction or reconstruction will be lifted to the desired floor, including with the help of special equipment and cranes.

How to Build a Deck on a Roof?

The first stage is inspecting a building and designing a project. Professional roofers will assess the condition of the roof and tell you exactly if it is possible to mount a roof deck on your house.

The second stage is the preparation of the base level of the roof, which will reliably isolate the living rooms, and which will withstand the load. Depending on the roof project, a welded stainless-steel frame, an underlayment of beams or plywood can be used as a base. At this stage, communications are established (depends on the project).

The third stage is the laying of covering, from natural wood to modern composite materials (depends on the project). The covering can be floating or laid down on special glue.

The next stage is the protection of additional structures on the roof, the installation of drip edges, gutters, stairs and doors.

The fifth stage is the creation of the interior. You can add awnings, beach umbrellas, as well as furniture, sofas, benches, armchairs, tables and chairs, bar counters and other elements to the roof deck that will make your outdoor experience more comfortable.

Roof Deck Materials: PVC Membranes, Composite and Topside Wooden Decks

Roofing material and underlayment for roof decking must be:

  1. Waterproof – to protect the inner structure from rain and melt water gathering on the surface.
  2. Wear-resistant – so that you do not change them for every several seasons.
  3. Designed for walking and furniture installation. Not every roofing material is suitable and durable enough to walk on.
  4. Attractive in appearance – so that you can enjoy not only the sunset or a drink on a roof deck, but also the appearance of the interior around you.

Roofing materials for deck roofing come in several categories: modern energy-efficient PVC membranes that reflect ultraviolet and do not fade under the sun. These are also composite decks that have strength, geometric stability and long service life. Finally, it is natural wood in boards that can be used under the open sky.

Roof Deck Deckshield in Somerville

Let’s look at the stages of installation of a roof deck on a specific example. This project was completed by a team of professional roofers, ID Flat Roof, in Somerville (MA).

As you can see in the photos and videos, these roof decks were mounted on the flat roof of a residential building over a living space.

Roof deck consists of two separate areas at different levels which are connected by an open passage. The roofers applied time-tested materials and advanced technologies designed specifically for flat and low-slope roofs.

According to ID Flat Roof experts, installing roof decks over living rooms requires special skills, as it is necessary to achieve one hundred percent protection against leaks. In addition, the surface of the roof deck must be strong, durable and maintenance free.

According to the project, there were additional elements on the roof surface like roof balustrade and roofing window.

Deckshield: Installation Steps

1. First of all, the roofers checked the condition of the old plywood sheathing. The condition of the old was unsatisfactory.

2. Roofers found areas that were damp and rotten under the influence of negative factors, water accumulation on the roof surface and leaks. Therefore, the specialists decided to partially dismantle and repair the old underlayment.

3. The next stage is the laying of a special overlayment material for the roof – Densdeck. This material prevents damage to the roofing and serves as additional insulation.

4. The roofers at ID Flat Roof then laid a Deckshield onto the roof surface, which was glued to the Densdeck. Sheets of watertight material were used as the top covering. They were securely interconnected and glued to the underlayment.

Such Densdeck+Deckshield installation technology prevents cracks, bumps, leaks from appearing on the roof surface. Deckshield material is designed to last for many years and does not require additional maintenance.

5. As mentioned above, there were additional elements on the surface of the flat roof, such as railing posts. To protect the places where the elements are attached to the roof surface from leaks, the experts used anti-leaking post flashing technology.

6.The roofers installed a drip edge at the edges of the roof, soldered securely and hermetically to the Deckshield surface. A professionally installed drip edge protects the walls and structure of the house from rainwater that drains from the roof.

As a result, the roofers at ID Flat Roof installed a durable and safe roof deck Deckshield that can be used all year round. Here you can spend warm summer evenings, enjoy your morning coffee or just relax after a working week. To learn more, ask questions about your roof project and to get an estimate – call ID Flat Roof.

Tips for those who plan to make a roof decking

  • Plan your budget. Despite all the benefits, roof decks are expensive projects as a rule. Consult with professional roofers and ask them for a project estimate.
  • Check the architectural requirements for private buildings in your area. Some states have restrictions on the construction of roof decks, and some cities and regions ban roof decks altogether. In addition to architectural standards, there are also fire and other regulations.
  • Call a specialist who will check the condition of the roof frame, underlayment insulation and utilities. The structure of the building must support the weight of the new roof and what will be on it. As well as the weight of the people who will go out on the roof deck.
  • Think about how you will enter the roof deck zone. You may need to redevelop the interior. Avoid ladders and spiral staircases if possible.
  • At the initial design stage, consider the presence of electricity, water supply or gas (for grill) on the roof.
  • Order an interior roof deck project, especially if you plan to make a roof deck of a large area, with a lot of furniture, green areas, shade zones and so on.
  • Take the time to find a professional roofing company that specializes in roof decks.


Roof Deck is a great addition to your home that you will definitely use during 9 months out of 12 (or even all year round). Moreover, specialized contractors offer various projects of roof decks of different styles, areas and functionality. You will definitely find the project of your dreams.

At the same time, a roof deck is a complex project that requires financial investments, time for implementation and participation of specialists. Check all the pros and cons, and if you are ready to solve possible difficulties, you will be satisfied with the result.

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