What to Know About Commercial Rooftop Bars or Decks

Kathleen Maxwell

rooftop bar on broadway in Nashville

Rooftop bars and decks are becoming popular features in city buildings, as restaurants and hotels look for new and creative ways to provide their guests with a unique experience. Rooftop patios are appealing, but they can put additional strain on a commercial roof.

 For building owners planning a rooftop bar, there are a few additional things to consider when planning for roof construction: 

Maintenance is still important.

Rooftop bars are doing double duty as a commercial roof and an entertainment space. It needs to be water-tight, fireproof, and support certain equipment like a regular roof, while also being able to accommodate large amounts of people. While it may be tempting to treat a rooftop patio like an extension of the interior of the building, it needs to be maintained by a roofer. Only a roofer will know the proper way to check for leaks and maintain other roofing equipment.

It’s not the same as a ground-level patio.

Designing an outdoor roof space isn’t the same thing as designing one on the ground level. Designers must ensure that the roof itself has enough support before they even start laying plans for the deck. For this reason, rooftop decks should be planned with the help of a roofing company and a structural engineer to ensure the structure can handle the projected plan.

Rooftop features are exposed to the elements.

Just like regular patios, rooftop patios are constantly exposed to the elements. Outdoor spaces need to be constructed from materials that can stand up to rain, snow, and wind. This is doubly true of a rooftop patio, which is generally more exposed and needs to be durable enough to protect the structure underneath it.

Drainage can be difficult.

Commercial roofs typically are not completely flat. It’s best that they have at least a slight slope, so that water will drain off the roof. Moisture pooling can damage a roof and eventually lead to leaks or other damage. This drainage requirement limits design options for rooftop decks and can make it difficult to plan them properly.

Rooftop patios are expensive.

Creating a rooftop deck or patio can be very costly for the building owner. While this expense can be daunting, it’s important to remember that rooftop patios add value to the building and can help attract additional customers. Some studies also show that patrons on rooftop bars stay longer at a bar or restaurant than they do at venues without a rooftop space.

Don’t forget the special equipment.

Commercial roofs often house special equipment like HVACs, but adding a patio or deck opens up even more options for the type of equipment a roof may need to house. Rooftop pools, hot tubs, or fountains can be especially challenging to design and maintain as they can create moisture that may damage the roof.

 While construction and maintenance on a rooftop patio can be challenging, the rewards are often worth it. Contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today to start designing your outdoor rooftop space with the right roofing partner.


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