Adding a deck to a home is an increasingly popular trend because homeowners want a comfortable outdoor space where they can relax when they get sick of being inside for too long. Typically, homes will have a deck that is on the same plane as the first floor of their house, but there are some homes, predominantly modern homes, that have a rooftop deck.
At BigDecks.com, we do not encourage this as an addition to any home. Rooftop decks should be planned for during the home construction to avoid expensive and drawn-out structural renovations to the home.
While a roof deck may seem like a desirable addition to a home, there are several reasons why it is a bad idea and should be avoided. This article will explore the risks and drawbacks of adding a deck to a roof.
Liability of a Roof Deck
The most critical liability to consider if you are thinking about implementing a rooftop deck are the structural risks. One of the first things you must address is how much weight and load your roof could withstand. The deck itself will be very heavy because its design is contrary to the design of a standard roof. Also, the weight of people on the deck, along with whatever amenities you want to put on the deck, furniture, grills, or heat lamps, for example, will add to its overall weight.
The weight problem can be solved, but not at a small cost. If you want to install a rooftop deck, the need for additional support and reinforcement is necessary. This will cost a substantial amount, and it could jeopardize other areas of your home. In other words, it is an impractical feature for any home that has a standard roof.
Even if your deck is only a pound too heavy for the rest of your home, there is a serious risk that the roof could collapse and cause serious damage. Homes that do not have this weight problem are still at risk because a storm, or other events, could occur and debris could pile onto the rooftop deck and potentially cause a collapse. It goes without saying that the collapse of a rooftop deck would provoke severe destruction along with financial corrections.
Water Damage and Leaks
One thing that most homeowners do not consider when they are thinking about installing a rooftop deck is the potential for water damage and leaks. To prevent water damage or leaks that could devastate your property, you will need proper waterproofing and maintenance. This, too, will cost a substantial amount of money.
Even if you have waterproofed a rooftop deck, you still run the risk of seeing water infiltration and damage to the interior of the home. This is nothing to take lightly as water damage will cause the growth and spread of mold and mildew which could lead to serious biohazard contamination. Additionally, your flooring, doors, windows, and hallways may warp and could be irrevocably damaged.
Codes and Zoning Rules
As is the case with many features of a home, building code violations and zoning rules must be looked at before building can begin. In most areas, there will be several restrictions to adding a rooftop deck, and in some areas, rooftop decks will not be allowed at all. If you fail to adhere to all of the building codes and zoning rules that pertain to your home, there are fines that can be as expensive as $5,000, and there are also potential legal consequences.
In terms of insurance issues, there is a possibility of voiding or increasing your homeowner’s insurance premiums. This will come at no small cost, and if you decide that you would rather have no insurance instead of paying the fee, you risk being uninsured in the event of an accident or damage. This would be a financial nightmare, and you could even lose your home.
Maintenance of a Rooftop Deck
Installing a rooftop deck is a new trend that most people do not know a lot about. Because of this, the need for regular inspections and maintenance will be required more for a rooftop deck than for other common and secure home additions. Another thing to consider is the unique deck design and placement of rooftop decks. Because they are a flat surface above ground level, they collect a large amount of material, such as water, branches, and leaves. Cleaning a rooftop deck and making it presentable takes a considerable amount of time and energy. What is more troubling is the potential for costly repairs or replacements if a large storm occurs, or if a tree falls.
In conclusion, there are several risks and drawbacks of adding a deck to a roof. The need for installations that will support the deck will be costly, and they could also result in alterations to other parts of your home. Waterproofing your deck and consistent maintenance will also come at a significant cost, and even if you do this, there is still the potential for interior water infiltration and damage that could ruin your home.
Before you are to make any adjustments to your home, however, you would need to carefully examine your area’s building code violations to see if you need any permits and inspections. Failing to adhere to the codes of your area could result in fines and even legal consequences.
When it comes to insurance, your homeowner’s insurance premiums will rise, and in the event that you are uninsured and damage occurs, you could lose your home forever.
Lastly, maintaining a rooftop deck and replacing or fixing any damages that occur to it will come at a very large fee and will require a ton of effort. If you are desperate to have a comfortable outdoor living space, there are several other options to consider.
A ground-level deck or a patio are terrific home additions that millions of homeowners use on a daily basis. They are much cheaper than rooftop decks, require less maintenance, and are far less susceptible to damage. If you are still wanting to install a rooftop deck, we urge you to consult with professionals and thoroughly research the process before making a decision to add a deck to a roof.