Rooftop deck makeover
Flat rooftops can offer great opportunities for conversion into attractive entertaining or relaxing areas, but contemplating a vast expanse of drab concrete or asphalt and envisaging how to attack such a problem, can be a rather daunting prospect.
Two important points need to be considered at the outset. Firstly, any objects on a roof top which are not securely fixed, need to be of sufficient weight or size that they will not move or blow away in strong winds.
Secondly, if there is a waterproof membrane on the roof, extreme care must be taken that the membrane is not punctured or damaged in any way.
The most important thing that then needs to be decided is what to install on the surface. If there’s a waterproof membrane, then it’s obviously not possible to lay conventional ceramic tiles. In that case, probably the best option is to cover the area with interlocking wood deck tiles (see for example www.ezydeck.net). These tiles are typically available in 12” squares and are easily laid by just snapping the tiles together. Inbuilt connecting tabs on the integral plastic mesh base ensure each tile is locked securely to the adjacent tile to form a continuous deck surface. The gaps between the wood slats and the plastic mesh base allow water to drain freely away and minimize the chance of strong winds lifting the tiles.
The plastic bases of these tiles have multiple “feet” which distribute any load evenly over the surface below. A geotextile could be laid under the tiles as an extra precaution against membrane damage or if the building owner required extra assurance, if required.
Some manufacturers produce tiles in a variety of different designs, so it is possible to create borders, centerpieces, feature areas etc. to suit your individual preference.
As well as the wood tiles, a select range of ceramic interlocking tiles are also now available which gives much more opportunity for creativity in designing the total rooftop landscape. These tiles are designed to interlock precisely to the wood tiles, so for example you could have a dining area paved in the ceramic tiles where tables and chairs are situated, surrounded by wood tiles. If possible, try to divide the area into “rooms” by using a row of tubs with bushy plants, some trellis, modular fencing etc. With the addition of some large pots, attractive plants, and maybe a few favorite pieces of sculpture in strategic spots, that forsaken roof top can easily become an attractive and useful relaxing an entertaining area.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Malcolm Kay is the CEO of Intex Pacific Pty. Ltd. an exporter of landscape materials including modular decking tiles. For further information see www.ezydeck.net