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Roof Deck Pavers: How to Choose the Right Type?

The suitable material for a rooftop deck is crucial for its effectiveness and longevity. Aesthetics are essential; everyone desires a visually stunning rooftop. However, the best choice is a material that protects the roof, withstands weather and UV rays, and needs little upkeep, all while keeping its visual appeal.

Finding a decking option that does well in all these criteria might seem impossible, but it’s very easy with careful consideration.

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Table of Contents

Key Factors to Choose the Right Roof Deck Pavers

When choosing tiles for a rooftop deck, several vital factors should guide your decision:

  • Durability: Rooftop decks endure a lot – frequent foot traffic, harsh weather conditions like snow, ice, wind, and rain, along with constant sun exposure. It’s vital to select a material robust enough to withstand these elements and the wear and tear of regular use.
  • Sustainability: Environmentally friendly materials can contribute to LEED credits and aid in environmental protection. This aspect is about immediate appeal, long-term responsibility, and sustainability.
  • Installation: Given that project costs can expand quickly, choosing materials that are easy to install can significantly reduce labor costs and time. This factor is crucial for keeping the project within budget and time.
  • Comfort: The comfort from the decking material is essential for a frequently used space. Some materials offer more comfort underfoot, which is essential for a relaxing and enjoyable rooftop experience.
  • Maintenance: Low-maintenance materials are preferable. You’ll want to enjoy your rooftop deck more than constantly maintaining it.
  • Weight: Ensure the building’s structure supports the additional weight (dead and live loads) associated with a rooftop deck. The right choice will align with the structural capabilities of the building to ensure safety and integrity.
Artificial Grass Deck Tiles

For their strength and your safety, you should also consider:

  • Anti-Slip: Exposed to the sky, rooftop decks often receive a significant amount of rain and other precipitation. Therefore, selecting deck flooring that remains non-slippery when wet is crucial. Such flooring proves ideal for rooftops for family activities, fitness sessions, or hosting guests, ensuring safety in wet conditions.
  • Heat-Resistance: Walking on a rooftop space should be comfortable, even barefoot. Decking materials that absorb excessive heat or warp in direct sunlight can detract from this comfort. Choosing materials resistant to heat, which stay relatively cool, enhances the rooftop experience.
  • Shock Absorption: Comfort for walking and standing is essential for a deck. Whether engaging in yoga or hosting events, flooring with a slight cushioning effect benefits users. It improves comfort during various activities.
  • Insulation: Correct installation of rooftop flooring can help insulate the deck and the roof without retaining moisture. Efficient insulation benefits the building, helps conserve energy, and increases underfoot comfort.
  • Rot Resistance: Moisture accumulation under decking leads to rot, affecting the deck and the underlying structure. Choose decking materials and systems that allow for water drainage and evaporation. They should naturally resist rot to protect the rooftop.
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  • Insect Resistance: Insects harm the integrity of rooftop decks. Choosing materials resistant to insect infestation can save the investment. It minimizes the need for repairs, maintaining the deck’s durability and safety.
  • Mold and Mildew Resistance: Various materials for rooftop decking offer different levels of resistance to mold and mildew. High resistance to mold, rot, decay, and insects is crucial for the longevity and reduced maintenance of the rooftop project.
  • UV-Resistance: Rooftop decks face severe sun exposure. Materials that fade or suffer damage from the sun can become maintenance-intensive. Choosing UV-resistant materials reduces the need for frequent upkeep.
  • Weight: When planning a rooftop deck, consider the total weight of the total structure and the load-bearing capacity of the rooftop. The weight includes the deck system beneath, and avoiding exceeding the rooftop’s capacity is important.
  • Low Maintenance: Ideally, rooftop decks require little upkeep. Decking options vary in maintenance needs, with those more resistant to environmental elements like rain and UV rays typically requiring less care. Selecting low-maintenance materials allows for more enjoyment of the rooftop space.

Different Types of Roof Deck Pavers

Porcelain Pavers

Porcelain Roof Pavers

Porcelain pavers are great for safety in homes with kids or older adults. They prevent slipping in areas like swimming pools and walkways. Their non-slip surface is a key feature that helps reduce accidents, such as falls, that could harm children or cause hip injuries in older adults.

These pavers are also known for their durability in various weather conditions. They can withstand very low temperatures, down to -60 °F, without damage. Therefore, they are resistant to frost and don’t absorb water so they won’t crack in cold weather. Unlike concrete or natural stone pavers, they resist fading or discoloration from sunlight or harsh weather.

Another advantage of porcelain pavers is their low maintenance. They don’t absorb dirt or stains, which makes them easy to clean. This is especially useful in areas like BBQ zones.

You don’t need special cleaning products for them, as they are not affected by chemicals like some natural stones. A practical choice for various outdoor areas.

Concrete Pavers

Concrete Roof Pavers

Concrete pavers are a popular choice for ground-level patios and plazas, known for their long-lasting durability. They can also be used for rooftop decks, but their heavy weight is a consideration. The building might need extra support to carry the weight of the concrete and the people using the deck.

Over time, concrete can show signs of wear, like cracks, stains, discoloration, and fading. Installing these pavers can be complex, requiring adjustable pedestals at the corners and sides of each paver. Achieving a level surface with concrete pavers involves precise tools and techniques, like laser levels and specialty cutting tools, making the installation difficult.

Concrete is also a hard and rough material, which might only be uncomfortable to walk or stand on for a short period. There’s also a risk of injuries, like skinned knees, especially for children, if they fall on such a hard surface.

Interlocking Wood Deck Tiles

Interlocking Wood Roof Pavers

Interlocking wood deck tiles are made from hardwood that can resist the UV exposure that it will have on a rooftop. Wood provides a beautiful natural look, but even if it comes prestained and pre-sealed, it will likely need to be restained and resealed for its life. Hardwoods, like ipe and teak, can stand up to high foot traffic without showing wear.

This rooftop deck material is easy to install and can be repositioned, removed, and reinstalled elsewhere. It’s typically not a permanent decking solution. Still, it is instead used for apartments or other spaces where it is a temporary solution.

Rubber Pavers

Rubber Roof Pavers

Rubber rooftop pavers stand out for their comfort compared to concrete, helping to reduce issues like sore feet and back pain. Their softness also increases safety for children playing on them. Available in various colors, shapes, and sizes, these pavers allow for creative design choices.

Durability is a crucial feature of rubber pavers; they resist splits and cracks, maintaining an even surface over time. Weather elements like sun, rain, and snow don’t easily damage them, ensuring their appearance remains attractive for years.

Installing them is simple. You can easily cut and place rubber pavers over a drainage mat, which is less complex than installing concrete pavers. Only some edge pieces need cutting in most installation scenarios.

Composite Pavers

Composite pavers are a newer option for rooftop decking, offering several advantages over traditional materials. Their lightweight feature, about half the weight of concrete pavers, makes them easy to carry and position.

While composite pavers can be more costly upfront than other materials, their ease of installation can reduce labor costs. They also require no maintenance throughout their lifespan, which can save money over time. These pavers are durable, resist stains, scratches, and cracks, and are also eco-friendly.

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