How to Convert Your Flat Roof into a Rooftop Garden, Terrace or Deck

How to Convert Your Flat Roof into a Rooftop Garden, Terrace or Deck
Rooftop garden deck

Do you have a commercial flat roof? Have you considered adding a rooftop garden, terrace or deck?

Perhaps you need more outdoor space for your business. Or your restaurant business is expanding and you’re not sure where to put extra seating.

A rooftop garden may sound like a great solution. However, you are not sure if the roof structure can support it.

The good news is that, in construction, many things are possible.

It’s much easier to create usable rooftop space than you might think. What you need are the right materials. Additionally, you will need a professional roofer to make sure your structure can withstand the extra traffic.

Step One: Fix Your Existing Roof

Do you know what materials comprise your current flat roof? Do you have a traditional felt flat roof or a PVC or other type of membrane?

It’s not recommended that you try to convert a felt roof into usable rooftop space, like a garden or extra seating. Felt rooftops have short life spans and most aren’t covered by insurance.

You need to have your current roof and materials evaluated before you begin on any design plans for your new garden or restaurant seating.

A professional roofing contractor will be able to make a plan for your new roof. This plan should take into account the added load and will give you the maximum lifespan on your new, flat roof.

Know Your Roof’s Weight Bearing Capabilities

The first thing your contractor will do is to have your roof assessed by a structural engineer to determine your building’s weight-bearing capabilities.

Rooftop gardens, patios, and seating areas will be subject to a more significant load than your roof may have been designed to hold.

You will need to consider whether the extra weight is due to:

  • Decking materials
  • Added sod
  • Plants
  • The furniture
  • And people associated with restaurant service.

You will want to make sure it stays safe for years to come.

Rooftop Garden, Terrace or Deck Design Considerations

After your new waterproof membrane system is installed, and you will need a plan for the design elements you want to incorporate in your new space.

You have a variety of options for how to finish your new “deck.” There are:

  • Lightweight patio slabs
  • Wood or composite decking
  • Tiles or pebbles that come in many colors and sizes.

If you are considering a rooftop garden, you will still need to plan walkways. Additionally, you need to choose which parts you want to be growing or whether you would like to use synthetic turf.

In addition, your contractor will also alert you to any building codes requiring you to install safety devices such as handrails if your roof is going to be used as extra living space.

Bringing it Home

Is your building located in Southeast Michigan? If you have been thinking about expanding onto your flat roof for commercial or personal reasons, please give us a call. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about converting your commercial roof into more usable real estate.

Let’s Get Started!

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