Although many rooftops on apartment buildings may have magnificent views over the surrounding city or countryside, all too often these spaces are left looking drab and unused . Often the reason is simply that it appears to be just too much work and expense to transform the space into a relaxing meditation or entertaining area.
But these days, with the right materials combined with a little flair for landscaping, it should not take too much cost and effort to make a dramatic makeover of an underutilised rooftop.
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The most obvious place to start is on the rooftop surface itself. Generally speaking, this will be covered with some sort of waterproof membrane, and at first glance may appear to be a problem in undertaking any significant makeover. Not only do you want to make sure that there will be no damage to the membrane, but some building owners will prohibit the installation of any permanent materials on a rooftop. Also there may be some local regulations which restrict the use of certain building materials. So firstly you need to check with your local authorities and building regulations, Having done that, you should also ensure that you get approval in writing from the building owner for any changes you will be making on the rooftop.
Whilst you may be able to lay down a wooden bearers and construct a traditional wood rooftop deck, it may not be possible to install other traditional paving materials such as porcelain , slate or sandstone tiles which would normally be laid in thin set or with tiling adhesive.
Fortunately however there is another alternative , which can be used on rooftops and balconies etc. since it does not require the use of any adhesives or other fixing materials but will still enable you to have a traditional ceramic , stone or even wood surface.
Interlocking deck tiles which are available from a number of companies. Use traditional surface materials such as sandstone, granite, slate, ceramic or wood, but instead of requiring the tile to be fixed to the surface with adhesive or thin set, are bonded to or screwed to an integral plastic base with connecting tabs on all sides.
The connecting tabs not only ensure that each tile is securely bonded to its neighbouring tile, but automatically guarantees accurate spacing and alignment of the tiles . The tiles have a number of small feet on the underside which allows water to drain away freely underneath the tiles. Although the feet on the tiles shouldn’t cause any damage to a waterproof membrane, for extra peace of mind, you could lay down an extra layer of waterproof sheeting such as an EPDM sheet before you lay down the tiles.
Having installed your flooring material , you next need to turn your attention to other landscaping items. Remember though that any item installed on a rooftop must be of sufficient weight or secured somehow so that it will not blow away in extreme winds. So any chairs or tables need to be of relatively heavy materials such as heavy metal or stone or heavy wood construction and not Edit this text or lightweight aluminum.
If you are using planters, also it is best to use large and heavy stone or synthetic stone planters and not lightweight plastic pots. Also it’s best that any plants you wish to use are not excessively tall in relation to their width.
Finally, if you have access to electricity outlets on the rooftop, the addition of some subtly placed landscape lights can make a huge difference if you plan to use the area in the evenings.
But however modest or grand your budget is for a rooftop makeover, just a few steps as described above can make a huge difference to the enjoyment of this often overlooked area.