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Engineering Your Rooftop


Engineering Your Rooftop

Mar 14, 2014

Chicago Deck Design & Architecture - Preparing for your Loading Bearing Rooftop Deck


A rooftop deck is truly something special, and for many in Chicago building up is the only option for outdoor space. Providing you a convenient and versatile space without expanding the footprint of your home is a dream of many homeowners. If you enjoy entertaining but don’t have a lot of yard space, expand your home upwards with a rooftop deck.

Rooftop decks are an asset to any residence, co-op or condo and a luxury that even small buildings can offer residents and buyers. Adding to your amenities and driving more traffic helps you appeal to a wider audience, while receiving a higher return on your property investment. The most sought after asset of any Chicago property is outdoor space. Providing your residence with a rooftop deck provides that outdoor getaway that every city dweller craves.

Since building codes and regulations were upgraded to a much more expansive weight load capacity in 2007, there are endless possibilities for a roof garden. Even if your property is not up to the current code, reinforcing of your existing roof is possible to create the fabulous outdoor space you have envisioned.


Not every roof has been constructed to bear the weight of a deck. It’s best to contact a professional who can help you determine the requirements.

Your roof may have sustained damage over the years, and repairing water damage, caulking, peeling, dips, standing water, and other issues are important. Damage does not mean that your roof is not suitable for a deck, but it certainly should be prepared before you begin building, otherwise you may be stuck with a large price tag down the road.

Leak-proofing a roof after a deck has been built can be extraordinarily difficult. Solution would include decks designed to allow access to the underlying rooftop, modular decking that can be lifted in sections.

Weight is an important consideration when building a rooftop deck. Your roof should be able to support the deck, as well as plants and soil, furniture, grilling equipment, and people. These calculations can be the most important part of your preparation efforts, and thus, should be handled by an experienced professional. A miscalculation could lead to the collapse of your roof, expensive repairs and insurance woes.

You are now ready to start the design process. There are many choices to make, including trees, shrubs, perennials, pergola, privacy screens, lighting, irrigation, type of decking material, etc. Hire an experienced designer that will give you the custom roof retreat you’ve been dreaming of.

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