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Old 07-31-2009, 07:32 PM   #1
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Should I use vinyl decking on top of a flat garage?


I am considering adding a deck on the top of my 2 car, detached garage, which has a flat top roof (inclined enough to drain water, but basically flat). The roof needs a re-do anyway, so I thought, what a great idea to add a deck! I live in the city, and I have converted my "back yard" into a garden, so that would be a great use of otherwise unused space. Here's the problem . . . what kind of deck? (by the way, I know that I am out of my league on this project, so I will be using a contractor, once I figure out what I want)

The options I have considered: pros in black, cons in blue

1) Re-do the roof with standard roofing material and build a deck out of composite material, hoisted up enough to allow for air flow underneath. I think this would look pretty sharp. I like the way that the composite material looks, so clean and neat. The trex material has a pretty bad rap as far as I have researched in on the internet - hot to walk on in the sun, pretty expensive, and some color/fading/mold issues. I'm a little bit leary of investing so much money on the product if I'm going to have problems in a year or two.

2) Re-do the roof with standard roofing material and build a deck out of natural weather resistant wood, like cedar. This means that I would have to commit to what seems like a lot of maitenance. I can't stand the look of a neglected deck.

3) Use a vinyl decking product - I have read (on what little I could find on this type of product) that as long as I get the seams heat sealed, it is virtually waterproof. I like this idea because it seems to be the simplest solution, but it is very, very expensive (I did get a quote on this - about 5 grand, and that doesn't even include the railing) I'm not so crazy about the way it looks, but I could live with it. Also, I am concerned about chairs and people's shoes punching holes and compromising the water tightness on the product.

Has anyone used the vinyl roofing material (the sample looks a little bit like linoleum) for a deck surface?

I am just an enthusiastic do it yourselfer, so could someone who has had a lot of experiences building decks give me some input as to what you would do?

If the roof later develops a leak, which of course will eventually happen one day, I figured I could just unscrew the decking to get to the roof surface. In general, this seems like a huge PITA, and that's why the vinyl seems like a good alternative. On the otherhand, if the vinyl fails (will it also fail eventually?) and I have to get to the roof, would I have to tear it all off? I can't imagine that repairs could look that good on the vinyl product, but I have no experience or basis for that.

Therein lies the problem! No experience with this type of project, so what would a carpenter do? Thanks!

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:21 AM   #2
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Should I use vinyl decking on top of a flat garage?


Is your plan to place the deck above the roof, or to make the waterproof roof surface into a usable deck? The first will add a significant amount of dead load to the structure, along with an uncertain amount of live load (people and furnishings). The second will still add the live load and require a roof surface rated for traffic. In either case, you need to be certain that the existing structure will bear the additional load. Most roof structures are not so over built that they will bear that much additional load.

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