This article is contributed by Bill Kohaut, Project Manager at Highland Roofing Company.
Rooftop bars and patios are becoming popular features as developers of office space, multi-family housing, restaurants and hotels look for new and creative ways to provide employees, residents and guests with a unique experience.
While being outdoors and taking in spectacular views makes rooftop patios appealing, one must consider the following to maximize the benefits rooftop bars and patios have to offer.
1. Ongoing maintenance is most important.
With rooftop bars serving as both a commercial roof and an entertainment space, the roof area needs to be water-tight, fireproof, and be able to accommodate a large amount of people, food service equipment and furniture.
While it may be tempting to treat a rooftop patio like an extension of the interior of the building, the surface needs to be maintained by a roofer. Only a roofer will know the proper way to check for leaks and maintain other roofing equipment.
2. It’s not the same as a ground-level patio.
Designing an outdoor roof space isn’t the same thing as designing one on the ground level. Designers must ensure that the roof itself has enough support before they even start laying plans for the deck. For this reason, rooftop decks should be planned with the help of a roofing company and a structural engineer to ensure the structure can handle the projected plan.
3. Rooftop features are exposed to the elements.
Just like regular patios, rooftop patios are constantly exposed to the elements. Outdoor spaces need to be constructed from materials that can stand up to rain, snow, and wind. This is doubly true of a rooftop patio, which is generally more exposed and needs to be durable enough to protect the structure underneath it.
4. Proper drainage is important.
It’s best that commercial roofs have at least a slight slope so that water will drain off the roof. Moisture pooling can damage a roof and eventually lead to leaks or other damage.
5. Take added costs into consideration.
While creating a rooftop deck or patio can be very costly for the building owner, it’s important to remember that rooftop patios add value to the building and can help attract additional customers. Some studies also show that patrons on rooftop bars stay longer at a bar or restaurant than they do at venues without a rooftop space.
6. Don’t forget the special equipment.
Commercial roofs often house special equipment like HVAC units, but adding a patio or deck opens up even more options for the type of equipment a roof may need to house. While rooftop pools, hot tubs, or fountains can be especially challenging to design and maintain, the rewards are often worth it.
7. Make your rooftop green.
Your rooftop deck would be incomplete without plants and foliage. Get a selection of planters in different shapes and sizes for accommodating flowers, herbs, perennials and decorative plants.
Synthetic lawns are also an attractive option for creating an ideal rooftop patio. Be sure water can drain through the turf and is routed to the gutters or drainage systems.
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