Roof DecksRoof deck construction options
Rooftops offer great opportunities for creating attractive entertaining or relaxing areas, but this useful space is so often wasted. Building a roof top deck on an existing building is often seen as expensive, time-consuming and very difficult. But it needn’t be that way. Depending on what you want to achieve as the final result, Architrex has two alternative options for building amazing looking roof decks.
Firstly is the option of laying down interlocking tiles over the existing surface and secondly is the option of creating an elevated deck using a pedestal support system. Let’s look at both of these in turn.
Interlocking Deck Tiles
The beauty of interlocking deck tiles for a rooftop deck is their simplicity. You simply lay the tiles by snapping them together right over the existing surface, creating an instant ‘floating’ rooftop patio. So it’s normally a do-it-yourself job that can be completed in less than a day. The existing deck will normally slope for drainage, so your new deck when using interlocking deck tiles will also slope in the same direction. In most cases, you can lay the tiles directly over drainage holes that may be positioned in the rooftop area.
With interlocking deck tiles, you don’t need any permanent supporting structures which is often the major impediment to installing a roof deck. If you live in a condo building, generally speaking, the building owners won’t permit the construction of any ‘permanent’ structures on a rooftop.
We often get asked ‘will the decking damage the waterproof membrane on the roof top?’ All our interlocking decking tiles have a large number of ‘feet’ on the underside of the integreted plastic base. These ‘feet’ distribute any load evenly over the surface below, so under normal circumstances with typical waterproofing materials, the ‘feet’ should not dig into or damage the membrane.
But if you or the building owner still have concerns about possible damage to waterproof membranes on the rooftop, we suggest you lay down an extra protective layer of EPDM sheeting over the existing roof surface. You can buy EPDM in various widths with lengths up to 50′ wide from specialist suppliers such as Best Materials or Resource Conservation Technology who can also custom fabricate a single sheet to avoid seams. They can also supply a complete system for your roof deck that includes adhesives, sealants etc.
Pedestal Paver System
For large rooftop decks and especially in commercial locations subject to heavy foot traffic, we suggest constructing your roof deck with structural porcelain pavers supported on adjustable height pedestals. These 3/4″ thick pavers are exceptionally strong, scratch resistant, stain resistant, frost proof and non-combustible. They are not interlocking but with this pedestal supported plaza system, they are simply positioned with the corner of each paver placed on the head of an adjustable height pedestal using the inbuilt spacer tabs to keep them accurately aligned and correctly spaced.
One of the big advantages of this pedestal paver system is where your rooftop has service pipes, an uneven surface or slopes in multiple directions because they enable you to raise the deck surface to completely cover the service pipes and create a perfectly level, elevated roof deck surface. A pedestal paver system can raise the deck height from as little as 1/2″ to over 3 feet if required. And all this is achieved without any permanent structures such as beams or bearers or other deck support foundations being installed on the rooftop. The pedestals are simply placed on the existing surface or waterproof membrane, the wide, flat circular base avoiding any damage to membranes.
Porcelain pavers are considerably lighter than concrete pavers and thus much easier to transport to your rooftop and install compared . Plus they are wear resistant, stain resistant, fade resistant and freeze/thaw resistant. They are also available in an exceptionally broad range colors including simulated stone and simulated wood, so you have the ability to construct a wood look roof deck in locations which may have strict fire codes prohibiting or restricting a natural wood roof deck.
But if you still long for the classic beauty of real wood deck, are not concerned about long term maintenance and local regulations will in fact permit a solid wood deck on your rooftop, we also supply solid Ipe wood structural tiles which are also designed to be used with a pedestal system. Just like the porcelain pavers mentioned above, these 24″ x 24″ tiles are simply positioned with each corner placed over an adjustable height pedestals, again enabling the construction on a perfectly level deck without any expensive substrucuture.
But there’s yet a third option using a pedestal paver system. Eterno pedestals are also available with a special head that is designed to support wood bearers which are held in place on the pedestal head with screws. This means you can actually build a conventional wood plank deck on a rooftop but potentially overcoming restrictions the building owner may place on having ‘permanent’ structures built on the roof top. You can see more details about this application here.
Whichever roof deck option you select, decking tiles or a pedestal paver system using either porcelain pavers, Ipe wood deck tiles or a conventional plank style wood deck laid over bearers on pedestals, before you start, you must always seek permission from the building owner or other organizations concerned with the care and maintenance of your building. You should also check that local regulations permit your preferred deck material to be installed on your rooftop.
For example, in some urban areas, there may be fire regulations which could restrict the building of a wood or composite wood deck on a roof top. Although the Ipe wood used on our SwiftDeck Ipe wood deck tiles and structural wood tiles has a Class A (highest) fire rating, even this may not be sufficient to satisfy some authorities.
Fortunately the option of a pedestal paver system with porcelain pavers will still give you the ability to build a wood lookalike roof deck either using 24″ x 24″ or 16″ x 48″ porcelain pavers or the elegant 12″ x 96″ porcelain planks of our DeckWay system.
If you’d like further information on building roof decks with either interlocking deck tiles or a pedestal paver system , just give us a call on 866 206 8316 or send us an e-mail.