5 steps for building the roof terrace of your dreams

December 23, 2014

If you’re looking for a private space in the city, a roof terrace might be just what you need to get away and above it all.

5 steps for building the roof terrace of your dreams

Having a private outdoor space in the city is rare. Even if you have a yard, in most urban settings, you’ll still have neighbours on all sides and you might feel fairly exposed.

In recent years, many people have started to look up, and convert the tops of their buildings into private oases away from the city. Here are a few tips on how to build a roof terrace that will help you plan your space.

1. Draw it up

You need to first have an architect and an engineer inspect your building to see whether your roof can support the weight of a terrace. Often, this might mean reinforcing pillars to be load-bearing, and building support structures from the ground or basement level up.

2. Be neighbourly

If you have neighbours below you, this construction will certainly impact them, so you’ll need full sign-off before beginning. It’s usually also a good idea to let your neighbours on either side of you know what you’re planning as the noise and debris might impact them.

While they may be happy for your new terrace, they’ll be less happy if it disturbs them. Build some goodwill and your construction project will be smoother.

3. Money in, value out

The costs for your terrace project can vary wildly, depending on how big a space you’re building, the materials you're choosing, and the amount of work you need to do to your building to support the terrace.

Estimates from several contractors will give you a ballpark figure, before choosing which one to use. Bear in mind that permits and insurance might carry costs. Don't forget that a rooftop terrace can add as much as 10 per cent to 25 per cent to the value of your home.

4. Make it flat

If you’re starting with a flat roof, you have a fairly easy area to work with. If not, you need to build a reverse dormer to create a flat space. From there, you should also work with your architect to determine the size of your terrace.

While it may seem intuitive to create a space that goes edge to edge on the roof, you may be restricted by privacy laws that require a certain amount of space at the edge so you're not looking down at your neighbour’s house. Your zoning and permits will help determine these boundaries.

5. Nowhere to go but up

Planning a roof terrace is no small undertaking. Knowing how to build a roof terrace can help you understand the scale of the project before you begin. If you have a building that can support it, a roof terrace can be a space your family can enjoy with a view that can’t be beat.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu