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Rooftop Decking: Elevating Your Outdoor Living Space in Massachusetts

Are you looking for a way to enhance your living space and make the most of your square footage? Building a rooftop deck is an excellent solution that increases property value and offers a unique and comfortable space to entertain guests, relax, and enjoy the view.

In this article, we’ll explore rooftop deck ideas, different materials and rooftop deck designs, roof decking materials, and everything you need to know about building a rooftop deck in Massachusetts.

rooftop decking

Why Choose Rooftop Decking?

Rooftop decking is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners as it offers a variety of benefits.

Building a rooftop deck can add usable space to your home without expanding the footprint if you have a flat roof.

roof deck painting

Rooftop decks also offer stunning views and stay more relaxed than traditional decks due to the privacy wall and the open-air design.

Moreover, a rooftop deck provides a perfect spot to entertain guests or relax outdoors without leaving the cozy atmosphere of your home. You can create an outdoor oasis on your rooftop, complete with an outdoor kitchen, built-in seating, and water features.

Building a Rooftop Deck

Before building a rooftop deck, it is essential to ensure that your roof is structurally sound and can support the added weight of a deck.

You should also check with your local building department to obtain necessary permits and follow local building codes. Here are some critical considerations for building a rooftop deck.

building rooftop deck

Local Building Codes and Permits

Before starting your deck project, check with your local building department to obtain the necessary permits and follow local building codes.

Some cities may have specific regulations regarding roof decks, such as setback requirements or maximum square footage.

Local Building Codes - for rooftop decking

Roof Deck Construction

A rooftop deck can be constructed in several ways, including with built-up roofs or floating decks. Built-up roofs are typical in urban areas and consist of a waterproof membrane covered with insulation and a protective layer of gravel or pavers.

On the other hand, floating decks are not attached to the roof, and adjustable concrete pedestals support the deck boards.

roof deck construction

Roof Decking Materials

When it comes to selecting a roofing material for your rooftop deck, you have several options to choose from. The most common roofing materials used for rooftop decks include:

Built-Up Roofs (BUR)

Built-up roofs are the most traditional type of roof used for decks. They consist of several layers of roofing felt and hot-mopped asphalt or coal tar.

Built-Up Roofs

BUR is an affordable option but has a shorter lifespan than other materials.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for cost-effective and natural-looking decking material.

Pressure-Treated Wood

However, pressure-treated wood requires regular maintenance and is susceptible to water damage, making it a less durable option.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is popular due to its durability and low maintenance requirements.

It’s made of a blend of plastic and real wood fibers and is resistant to fading, staining, and mold. However, composite decking is pricier than other materials, making it a more significant investment.

roof deck materials

Rooftop Deck Ideas and Designs

A rooftop deck can be customized to your needs and preferences. Here are some rooftop deck ideas and designs to inspire you:

Rooftop Living Space

A rooftop deck can be transformed into an outdoor living or dining space by adding comfortable outdoor furniture, potted plants, and lighting. You can also incorporate a fire pit or fireplace for a cozy ambiance.

Built-in Seating

Built-in seating can be a great addition to your rooftop dining deck, as it maximizes the use of space while providing comfortable seating for guests.

Built-in Seating - rooftop deck ideas

Building a Rooftop Deck in Massachusetts

Building a rooftop deck in Massachusetts can be a great way to add more outdoor living space to your home. Not only does it provide a place to relax and entertain guests, but it also adds value to your property.

Building a Rooftop Deck in Massachusetts

However, before embarking on the idea of a deck project, there are several things you should consider.

Choosing the Right Decking Material

Choosing a suitable decking material is one of the most important decisions when building a rooftop deck. Many decking material options are available, each with pros and cons.

right decking material

Some popular roof decking materials include pressure-treated wood, composite decking, and PVC decking. Pressure-treated wood is a budget-friendly, durable option that requires less maintenance than other materials.

Composite decking, on the other hand, is a durable material made from wood fibers and recycled plastic, making it resistant to water damage and insect infestations. PVC decking is also a good option for rooftop decks as it is lightweight and can stay more relaxed than traditional deck-ing materials in the hot summer sun.

decking materials

PVC decking’s unique composition also allows for a wide range of aesthetic options, including various colors and textures that mimic the look of natural wood.

PVC Decking

This versatility ensures that homeowners can choose a style that aligns with their personal preferences and the overall design of their home. Additionally, PVC decking is known for its longevity and can withstand the harsh, varying weather conditions often experienced in Massachusetts.

This makes it an ideal choice for those looking to invest in a long-lasting rooftop deck without compromising on style or enduring frequent maintenance. However, it’s important to note that PVC decking can be more expensive upfront than other deck tiles or materials. Still, its durability and low maintenance requirements can save costs over time.

Designing Your Rooftop Deck

Once you have chosen your decking material, the next step is to design your rooftop deck. Consider the square footage of your roof and how you want to use the space.

Would you like to include a seating area?

Roof seating area

How about a pergola?


These are all things to consider when designing your rooftop deck.

When designing your deck, it would be best to consider your home’s and neighborhood’s style. A deck that blends with the surrounding architecture will look more natural and aesthetically pleasing.

Choosing Lighter Colors

Regarding rooftop deck ideas, choosing lighter colors for your decking boards can be a great way to stay cooler in the summer sun. Darker colors absorb more heat, making them less comfortable to walk barefoot.

White Roof

On the other hand, lighter colors reflect more heat, making them more comfortable to walk on and less likely to retain heat.

Lighter Colors - rooftop deck ideas

Protecting Your Roof

Another important consideration when building a rooftop deck is protecting your roof. Flat roof decks and built-up roofs are the most common roofs used for rooftop decks, but they require special care to avoid water damage.

Protecting Your Roof

To protect your flat roof, ensure your deck is installed correctly and that water can drain off the deck quickly. Additionally, you may consider installing a rubber membrane or a protective layer underneath your deck’s fully exposed flat roof to prevent water from seeping into the flat roof itself.

rubber membrane

In addition to using a rubber membrane or protective layer, it’s essential to maintain a good drainage system. Poor drainage can lead to water pooling, severely damaging the deck and the underlying roof structure.

Incorporating a slight slope into the deck’s design can help facilitate water runoff, preventing accumulation. Also, regular maintenance and proper drainage alone, such as clearing debris from drains and gutters, is vital to ensure adequate water drainage.

Roof slope
Types of a roof slope

Another crucial aspect to consider is the weight of the new deck itself. The existing roof structure must support the additional weight because of the deck, furniture, people, and other items that will be placed on it. Consulting with a structural engineer can provide insights into the feasibility of a rooftop deck on your existing roof structure and suggest any necessary reinforcements.

Lastly, it’s important to check local building codes and regulations. These codes might have specific requirements for rooftop decks, especially regarding safety features like railings and fire exits. Adherence to these codes not only ensures safety but also avoids legal issues in the future.

By carefully considering these aspects, you can ensure that your rooftop deck is a beautiful and safe addition to your home.

Local Building Codes

Finally, check your local building codes before starting your rooftop deck project. Building codes vary from city to city and state to state, so ensuring your rooftop deck designs meet all local safety requirements is essential.

Local Building Codes

Maintenance Tips for Your Rooftop Deck

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your rooftop deck in good condition. Here are some tips:

  • Sweep the deck regularly to remove debris and leaves.
  • Check for water damage and make any necessary repairs.
  • Pressure wash the deck to remove dirt and grime.
  • Apply a sealer every few years to protect the deck from the elements.


Building a rooftop deck in Massachusetts can be a great way to add more outdoor living space to your home. By choosing the suitable decking material, designing your deck with your needs and style in mind, and taking the necessary steps to protect your roof, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space to enhance your home’s value and quality of life.

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