Rooftop Decks: Building a Deck with a View

By HomeAdvisor

Updated November 10, 2017

Roof Deck in San Francisco

A lot of decks are essentially raised patios. Other than the convenience of walking out of the second floor of your home out onto your deck, one of the best reasons to build a deck is the view. You don’t get any better views than the ones from your roof. Whether it’s city skylines or the hilly countryside, sunsets or sunrises, a rooftop deck can give you stunning views and a comfortable area to sit down and enjoy them.


Roof deck installation has some similarities to and differences from other kinds of decking. The biggest difference is that, unless the original roof was specifically designed to accommodate a deck, installation occurs on a slanted— sometimes severely slanted— surface. This can make installation and accessibility tricky. There are two ways to overcome this problem. The most common way is to create an opening in the roof and turn a portion of the attic into a roof deck/patio. If you already have access to your roof but can’t build into an attic, you may also be able to build a roof onto the deck. You’ll need to make sure your roof can withstand the extra weight of the deck before you proceed.

That said, roof decks have a preexisting building surface, which requires less support than a second floor deck that must be built up from the ground or anchored to a strictly vertical wall. The similarity with other kinds of decking is that the cost of the deck still mostly boils down to how big you want your deck to be and much weight the deck needs to support. Needless to say, unless you have experience working with both decks and roofing, it is best you leave installation to a professional.

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Tree Landscaping

The position of existing trees or planting new trees is often an important consideration for your roof deck project. Trees near your roof deck can provide a secluded ambiance. Just because you’re on your deck doesn’t mean you want to feel the entire world can spy on you. If you or a household member has a fear of heights a well-placed tree or two can change the visual surrounds of the deck and alleviate feelings of fear. On the other hand, you probably don’t want trees that are going to completely cutoff your view. Before you build your deck or plant new trees, take note of what lines-of-sight you want to maintain and which can be obfuscated.

Building Steps for Rooftop Decks

If you have a large roof, don’t feel you necessarily have to build the deck right next to the roof access. Perhaps the best place for a roof deck is near the top or at the far of the roof. Often times, you can take extra materials from your deck project and build steps on your roof leading from the roof access to the deck. Again, make sure your roof can accommodate this extra installation. Check out our deck stairs cost calculator to budget for this portion of the project.

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