Labor Saving Durable Rooftop Deck Installation Options

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If you’re planning to build or replace a rooftop deck, you probably want it to last for a long time. Because most rooftops are fully exposed to the sun and weather, the conditions on a rooftop deck can be punishing. That’s where durable decking material and a well-designed rooftop deck system can help.


Garapa hardwood rooftop deck in New York City


The fully exposed, unprotected weather conditions on a rooftop deck are not your only enemy, though. Low clearance decks also have their own issues, so you must plan wisely. Know that the lower the clearance of your rooftop deck, the more difficult it is for moisture to escape. Trapped moisture can lead to mold, potential rot, and unhealthy conditions. It can also affect the durability of your decking. 

There are two basic options for building a rooftop deck, sleepers or a deck frame system. There are benefits, and drawbacks, to each rooftop deck installation method.

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Rooftop deck installation using sleepers


Sleepers are typically wooden 2x4 lumber laid flat on a rooftop or balcony that the decking boards may be fastened to. Yes, it is true that sleepers can be used to create a little separation between the rooftop and the bottom of the decking boards. This method is fast and easy and less costly than other rooftop deck installation options.


Ipe hardwood rooftop deck in Newport, Rhode Island over wooden sleepers


Benefits of Using Sleepers for Rooftop Deck Installation

  • Low cost installation method
  • Fast installation
  • Low clearance

Limitations of rooftop decking over sleepers

  • Water flow. Sleepers impede the flow of water on a rooftop deck. That’s why you should always run sleepers in the direction of the pitch of the roof.
  • Moisture. The low clearance of sleepers can create a moisture trap. This can affect the long-term usability of the sleepers and the decking material.
  • Rot. Wooden sleepers (like 2x4 pressure treated lumber) will work well - until they rot out.
  • Level surface. Rooftops are never perfectly flat. they need a little pitch drain water. Creating a level deck surface with sleepers will likely take a lot more time, labor, planning, and materials.
  • Fire.  Most likely, none of the wood components are fire rated. This may or may not be problematic in your location.

RELATED: Deck Installation Tips over Sleepers

The Eurotec Rooftop Deck System is a terrific solution to consider


Another option for a durable rooftop deck installation is the Eurotec deck system. The Eurotec rooftop deck system consists of aluminum joists and adjustable deck pedestals to create your rooftop deck frame. The rooftop deck pedestals are adjustable so you can create a perfectly level deck easily.   The Eurotec components allow you to use full length decking boards for a great look.


Ipe hardwood rooftop deck in New York


Limitations of Using Eurotec Aluminum Joists for your Rooftop Deck

  • Aluminum joists are more costly than wood joists up front
  • The lowest clearance (distance from the top of the roof surface to the top of the decking) for the Eurotec rooftop deck system with adjustable pedestals and aluminum joists is 3". You can get a little closer using sleepers (approximately 2-1/2") total clearance.  

Eurotec Pedestals and Aluminum joists for rooftop deck frame

Eurotec rooftop deck system uses aluminum joists and adjustable deck pedestals for the frame


Why Use Eurotec Aluminum Joists for your Rooftop deck frame?

There are lots of benefits of using aluminum joists rather than conventional framing lumber for a rooftop deck. When you compare wood joists to Eurotec aluminum joists, here are a few of the main differences:

  • Straight. Eurotec aluminum joists remain straight and true. They will not warp, twist, or split like wood joists.
  • Fire resistant. Aluminum rooftop deck joists are fire resistant. Wood Joists are not.
  • Long Lasting.  Eurotec aluminum joists will not rot like real wood joists.
  • Lower weight load on roof. Aluminum joists are lighter weight than wood joists, which can be very important with your rooftop deck loading requirements.

RELATED: Eurotec Rooftop Deck System vs. Sleepers Article

Looking for more information about rooftop deck design and installation? Visit our website for additional information about the Eurotec Rooftop Deck System:

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