After a long day, few things are better than kicking your feet up on your deck and taking in the fresh air, but if you live in an urban setting with limited outdoor space, a traditional deck may not be a viable option. Luckily, there may be another possibility: A rooftop deck. With invigorating vistas and a whimsical sense of escape, a rooftop deck can give you an accessible, relaxing outdoor haven. But where to start? Get rooftop deck ideas — and project planning guidance — for both new rooftop deck builds and remodeling projects, to bring your elevated outdoor oasis to life.
When considering rooftop deck designs, you may be wondering, is it worth it? The good news: It is.
Is a Rooftop Deck Worth It?
Rooftop deck designs offer unique advantages:
✓ An outstanding viewpoint of the area around your home.
✓ Gives you a convenient, accessible outdoor living space for urban homes.
✓ Can add value to your home.
Before you start exploring rooftop deck ideas, there are a couple of important considerations to think through to ensure your project can be completed successfully.
Can I Add a Rooftop Deck to My House?
If you’re planning to add a new deck to your roof, you’ll need to first find out if you even can build a rooftop deck on your home at all. A couple of questions you’ll need to answer include:
What Are Local Building Codes & HOA Restrictions?
Check local building codes and any Homeowners’ Association (HOA) restrictions to ensure you can build a rooftop deck on your home.
Can My Building Support a Rooftop Deck?
Rooftop decks are heavy structures and will require proper drainage and ventilation beneath the boards. Your home or building’s roof will need to be able to support the weight of the structure and provide adequate drainage and ventilation.
A rooftop deck is a serious undertaking and will require specific construction to ensure the structure is built to code and to the specifications of your decking material of choice.
Because of the complexity of such a build, we highly recommend working with a contractor who can lend their expertise to complete a successful build.
Now that you have a better idea of the considerations you’ll need to think through, you’re ready to dive into rooftop deck ideas to inspire your own project.
7 Rooftop Deck Ideas to Elevate Your Space
These rooftop deck designs will give you the inspiration you need to create a unique outdoor space for yourself and your family. As you explore these rooftop deck ideas — ranging from deck board color considerations to larger scale structural additions — make sure to keep your budget and the scope of your project in mind.
1.) Choose Capped Polymer Decking Over Wood
Whether you’re planning to add a new deck to your roof or remodel an existing rooftop deck, you’ll need to think through your deck material options. Your rooftop deck is fully exposed to the elements, including harsh UV rays and precipitation, which is why it’s important to choose a durable material that can stand up to these severe conditions. While wood is a common option, its vulnerability to sun and moisture will mean a faded, cracked, molded surface in no time at all.
The answer? TimberTech® AZEK® capped polymer decking. While our capped composite decking options will also give you a durable, fade-resistant, low-maintenance deck material compared to wood, TimberTech AZEK offers unique benefits for a rooftop deck.
Why Choose TimberTech AZEK?
✓ Absolutely no wood in the core or capfor unbeatable moisture and fade protection.
✓ Engineered to stay up to 30° cooler to the touch than competitive productsso you can enjoy your deck through the heat of summer.
✓ Boasts industry-best warranties including a 50-Year Fade and Stain Warranty and Lifetime Limited Product Warranty.
✓ Offers 40% better traction, wet or dry, than the competition for added safety.
✓ 30% lighter in weight than competitive products for easier installation.
Building a Rooftop Deck With TimberTech AZEK
To ensure the best performance for your TimberTech AZEK deck, it is of paramount importance that the deck substructure is built to product specifications outlined in the Installation Guide. Your TimberTech AZEK rooftop deck requires specific substructure framing, including proper joist spacing and blocking — a floating substructure is not an acceptable option for our decking installation. Because of the complexity of a rooftop deck project, and the unique specifications of TimberTech AZEK decking installation, we highly recommend working with a TimberTech-registered contractor. You can also contact a TimberTech expert who can give you more insight into your rooftop deck build.
2.) Choose Light Colors for a Heat-Resistant Retreat
You likely remember from school that lighter colors reflect heat, while darker colors absorb heat. For rooftop deck designs exposed to full sun, choosing lighter colors for your deck boards, furniture, and décor will mean a more heat-resistant, cooler space. Plus, lighter colors help to bring a breezy, energetic feel to your space. For the most heat-resistant deck boards, choose light-colored decking from a TimberTech AZEK capped polymer decking collection, which is designed to stay even cooler to the touch — up to 30° cooler — for a barefoot-friendly surface.
3.) Build Overhead Structures for a Shady Retreat
Sometimes the unobscured bright skies and bold views offered by a rooftop deck can be a little too direct. Consider constructing a pergola or other covered structure, like a cabana, to get the right amount of shade and sun, while accenting your outdoor space with a striking design statement.
4.) Add Details for Privacy
While your rooftop deck gives you an exceptional viewpoint, you don’t want others to impose on your privacy. To keep your deck enclosed but still inviting, add in deck privacy structures such as a roof extension, a trellis, or a privacy wall.
A roof extension offers complete overhead protection from the elements and is often designed in the same architectural style as your home or building.
A trellis with tighter-woven latticework will give you a textured aesthetic with a cozy feel, while loose latticework will give you an open look and feel.
Give your space a sense of enclosure, while still maintaining an open, inviting feel with a solid or slatted privacy wall.
5.) Add Railing for a Polished Design
Adding railing to rooftop deck designs will give your space a completed, polished look while promoting security for friends and family by outlining your perimeter. Just like your deck material, your railing will also need to stand up to exposure to the harsh elements.
Instead of wood, opt for a metal or composite railing which deliver greater durability and require less maintenance. Plus, metal and composite railings from TimberTech offer several customization options to create a unique design for your space.
6.) Light Up the Night
Nothing sets the mood quite like lighting with an ambient, warm glow. In addition to permanent lighting fixtures in your railing, you can illuminate your rooftop deck with lanterns, string lights, and candles to ensure daytime drinks, fun, and games last into the evening.
Permanent deck lighting is installed within the surface and/or railing of your deck, so will likely need to be added at the time of build. In-deck lights give you ambient illumination with the flip of a switch and you can even set up a timer for automated lighting when you need it most.
Semi-permanent lighting — like bistro lights — can be hung above your rooftop deck or along your railing for a soft, intimate aesthetic. But be aware these types of lights are less durable than permanent lights and will need to come down if inclement weather is in the forecast.
Temporary lighting — such as candles and lanterns — are an inexpensive way to provide gentle, inviting illumination to specific areas on your deck. Like bistro lights, you’ll need to store these away in the event of inclement weather and plan for frequent replacements of these as well.
7.) Wrap Yourself Up in Cozy Details
Incorporate indoor elements on your rooftop deck to create a cozy atmosphere for friends and family. Comfortable cushioned furniture, throw pillows, and even blankets will create an outdoor living room feel and help you fend off the chill from cooler evenings. Plus, the different textures and layers can add inviting visual interest to rooftop deck designs.
Bring Your Rooftop Deck Ideas to Life With TimberTech
Now that you have the rooftop deck ideas you need for your design, the next step is to begin planning for your build or remodel. Start by ordering free samples of your favorite TimberTech deck board colors to find the right hue and material for your rooftop deck project.
And remember: TimberTech AZEK decking is not recommended for all applications, and some rooftop deck builds may be unsuitable. Be sure to reach out to a TimberTech expert or a TimberTech-registered contractor to confirm your rooftop deck project is up to code and meets product standards.