What Is A Rooftop Deck?

rooftop deck

What does rooftop deck mean?

One thing that many businesses, especially restaurants learned from the pandemic of 2020 and into 2021 is that offering plenty of well-spaced seating is a must. The same can be said of office buildings where waiting rooms can only hold so many with the social distancing guidelines we’ve all been mandated to observe. So, what many have discovered when the dining room or the lobby has maxed out, the only other option is a rooftop deck

However, businesses and restaurants aren’t the only ones that a rooftop deck has proved to be invaluable!  With all of us quarantined to our homes, we all needed that outside area, and even with a backyard or front yard, we wanted something more. Rooftop decks have found their way to residential settings all across Austin, Texas and other cities and states. 

A rooftop deck is a designing and creating a place on the rooftop that serves the same purpose as the deck outside your backdoor.  Some would consider a rooftop deck a crown on a business or home! 

Maybe your rooftop deck plans are for a place the family can relax and enjoy the sunset, or you own a restaurant and want to offer your clients a different view. Either way, a rooftop deck is going to be an upgrade, but there is a difference between a commercial rooftop deck or a residential rooftop deck. 

There are various requirements and stipulations that govern each of these projects when creating a rooftop deck. As a business, you’re responsible for the safety of others on your property because those others are what keeps your business in operation. So the requirements, standards, and stipulations will be more intense than a residential rooftop deck. 

Do you need planning permission for decking on a flat roof?

 If you are planning to create a rooftop deck in the city, yes, most likely you will need to get a building permit or planning permission.  Experienced rooftop deck builders are familiar with city codes and will include this in their quote for ‘pulling permits’ as known in the construction industry. 

You’ll also need an engineering inspection that assures the structure can withstand the weight of a rooftop deck.  A copy of that engineering inspection will need to accompany the building permit request, all of which will usually have fees to be paid by you. 

How much does it cost to build a rooftop deck?

For a commercial property or a residential property, there are so many rooftop deck ideas to go with, and the price tags go with them too!  A basic rooftop deck on a residential properly can cost as much as $25,000. Add an outdoor kitchen with an integrated grill and a wet bar, the price goes up. Not only is there the framing with flooring, but the foundation, the safety railing, and whatever support the engineering reports recommended, and the city requires. 

For a commercial property, safety is going to be key for a rooftop deck. So the framing and foundation are going to have to be sturdy, then railing around edges is an absolute must. While railing is required (and smart) for residential property, it is an insurance matter for a business and the city the business is located.  You could estimate $100,000 or more for a restaurant to set up a basic outdoor rooftop deck dining pleasure. 

For either situation, rooftop deck coating is important.  There are roofing contractors that specialize in rooftop decks and will know the best product and method on how to waterproof rooftop deck. Waterproofing is important when you have a flat roof and adding a rooftop deck makes it even more important.

patio furniture on rooftop deck

What are the rooftop deck pros and cons?

For commercial building owners, there are some construction factors to be considered when planning a rooftop deck.  

  • Inspection and Maintenance: A rooftop deck is going to provide a roof and a place of entertainment. The waterproofing is only one aspect of concern and needs.  There is fireproof and safety with the assumption you’re going to have several people at one time on the rooftop deck. While you can carry out the inside interior to the rooftop deck, it will need to be regularly inspected and maintained by a professional roofing contractor. 
  • Not A Ground-Level Patio: Designing your rooftop deck is different than designing an ground-level outdoor patio. The designer must work with engineering to ensure there is ample support from the structure before the rooftop deck construction begins. A team that includes the designer, structural engineer and a roofing specialist should be created for your projected plans. 
  • Elements and the Rooftop: In many ways, your rooftop deck will be like a regular patios, constantly exposed to the climate and elements. Choosing materials that are going to hold up to the ice, rain, snow, UV rays, and wind is a must to keep your rooftop deck looking good. 
  • Drainage Difficulties: Commercial roofs look flat, but they have some slope to them for drainage purpose.  Your rooftop deck won’t have that slope, so special drainage needs to be set in place to make sure the roof doesn’t have water pooling and standing on or under the decking. 
  • The Expense: Yes, as we stated earlier, a rooftop deck will be costly, but keep your eye on the prize for future value this will add to your structure. Even after the pandemic calms down and life returns to the normal we knew, you can still utilize your rooftop deck for additional seating. 
  • Special Equipment: Commercial roofs typically have the HVACs, electrical, and plumbing matters installed on them, but with a rooftop deck, these things may have to be relocated.  However, it also will provide you a way to install a lighted water feature too. 

The pandemic of 2020/2021 has given us all a memory we may wish to keep or we may wish to forget. It also provided businesses and homeowners to think of different ways to entertain. A rooftop deck is one of those ways and with proper planning, it can be something you’ll enjoy for years to come. Call (512) 299-6576 today for your rooftop deck in Austin, TX.