Roof terrace design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Why convert a roof into a rooftop terrace?

Rooftop terrace can be one of the best architectural features of your house. Ever since the days of Hanging Gardens in Babylon, roof gardens are considered to be a much coveted feature for any house. There are several benefits of a rooftop terrace.

* It adds beauty to the exterior of the house. 

* A gracefully designed terrace increases the value of a house. 

* You get regular opportunities to relax in an open space. 

* Many city homes no longer have sufficient space to design a beautifully landscaped garden. You can fulfill your wishes of designing a garden on your flat roof

* Avid gardeners may like to indulge in organic farming on the terrace. 

* A well-designed terrace increases the durability of your roof by adding an extra layer of protection.

* Like sod roofs of the Scandinavian countries, a garden in this space can help you build an energy efficient and environment friendly house. 

* It also increases the quality of insulation. 

* The additional layer reduces noise pollution by absorbing sound. Consequently, you enjoy living in a peaceful setting even in the busiest parts of a city.

How can I build a roof terrace?

Check the feasibility of building a rooftop terrace for your house. For instance, there may not be sufficient space for doing so. The existing roofing may not be strong enough to hold the extra burden. When in doubt, seek help from an experienced architect.

Cover the entire space with insulation boards made of plywood. Use a combination of glue and nails to hold them in place. Alternatively, you may buy self-glued insulation boards. You will then need roofing felt to cover the plywood surface. Acrylic or cement based polymer coating makes the entire surface waterproof. Proceed to build the flooring after that.

To build stylish flooring, you may use any one of the following materials:

* Promenade tiles 

* Porcelain tiles 

* Artificial grass turf 

* Hardwood or engineered wood

It is possible to complete the project within $500 CAD per square metre. If you are doing this for an existing house which already has proper insulation and waterproofing in place, you will be able to complete the work within $300 CAD per square metre.

What planning permission do I need in Canada?

You don’t need a special permission to design a stylish patio for your house. It is included in the building permit which you need to apply for before the start of the project. Building permits can be procured from the local building authorities. Residential buildings that are less than six stories high don’t need any special permission for green roofing either. If the building you are about to occupy is more than six stories high, then you will need special permission for green roofing from the local city council.

The rules for green roofing are specific to the place you live in. For example, in Toronto, houses with gross floor space between 2000 and 4999 square metres must have a green roofing coverage of at least 20% of the gross floor area. Most cities in Canada are yet to have such elaborate laws for green roofing system. But it is better to clarify this from the local building authorities before beginning the project.

How do I decorate the terrace of my house?

Decorating a patio need not be a complicated affair. You may attempt designing the space yourself or seek help from an experienced interior designer. Think of the way you wish to make use of this space and plan accordingly. Measure the available space and make some rough sketches before settling for the final design. Here are some decor ideas to get you started:

Outdoor entertainment zone – This is one of the most popular ways of using this space. Depending on the available area, you may design an outdoor dining parlour, barbecue zone and kitchen with a bar. Choose furniture suitable for an outdoor space. Rattan and bamboo furniture are durable and capable of withstanding the continuous exposure to sunshine and rain.

Buy matching cushions to make the seating arrangements more inviting. Don’t forget to invest in waterproof canvas cushion covers. Install a bar table next to the barbeque zone. You may purchase a portable bar for this space. You may buy a traditional charcoal grill or electric barbecue grill. While the former gives your food the right kind of taste and flavour, the latter is easier to clean and maintain.

Decorate the entire space with potted plants. You may also place a few artworks like stone or wood sculptures. Choose suitable lighting to illuminate the space properly. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed damp lamps are suitable for areas not exposed to moisture and shower. You will also need UL damp lamps for your residence in the coastal areas of the country. But you must buy UL wet lamps if the lighting fixtures come in direct contact with moisture.   

Spa and Jacuzzi – This is one of the best places to install a jacuzzi and build a small spa around it. This is very suitable for those who are living in small houses and don’t have the opportunity to build a spa in the interior of the house. Build a gazebo, canopy or stylish shelter above the Jacuzzi so that you are not exposed to the climate during the colder season.  

Flower or vegetable garden – Who doesn’t like to have a sanctuary of peace in one’s home? If you are craving for it, then decorate your rooftop with potted plants and vegetable. You may also seek the help of a landscape designer and build an elaborate vertical garden in this space. Building a greenhouse on the patio is not difficult either. With anyone of these in place, fresh organically grown fruits and vegetable would be right within your reach.