Roofing Issues 2020

Chicago Roof Deck

Rooftop decks have a ton of benefits in Chicago, like impressing your friends, your date, or simply enjoying your own private view away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. There’s no comparison between a rooftop deck and one on the ground floor. Both are nice to have, but one is a status symbol in Chicago where even bit if square footage matters. Entertaining guests on the top of your building in the heart of Chicago proves you’ve achieved something others only dream about.

A rooftop deck provides incredible views of the neighborhood and perhaps allows for a better view of the city skyline, Lake Michigan, or even a cheap seat for a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Face it, in this city square footage helps you develop a social footprint. It adds to your Chicago story and opens doors for owners they didn’t even know existed prior to having access to rooftop living. Rooftop decks would seem to be a huge selling point for new homebuyers in Chicagoland, right?

It depends. If built right and maintained correctly, they’re an asset to any property. If built or maintained poorly, you’re in for a world of problems – none of which come cheap.

What Is A Roof Deck?

For any of you out there trying to picture a roof deck, it’s simply a flat rooftop used as a patio. The most popular material for this purpose used to be tar and felt paper. Most people who built rooftop decks atop this material used simple 2×4 wood pieces laid on their edges. Some would add another piece dubbed a “sleeper” for support. All this was built over the existing tar and paper roof, making any repairs or replacement of the roofing difficult at best.

Today, many roof decks are built atop rubber roofs or modified bitumen roofing membranes. These roofs are constructed using sheets of rubber torched together to form a multi-layered surface. The top surface is then painted with a shiny outdoor primer to protect the life of the membrane. This can stand up to far more wear and tear than tar and paper roofing, but still requires attention to stay in peak condition – something made more difficult by the construction of any roof deck atop it.

If you are looking to rent or purchase a property with a rooftop deck, make sure to gain a good understanding of the material used during its construction. Then, do even more research to identify any known maintenance issues with the material that, if not kept up with, could lead to serious roof damage – even disaster. You might be buying an accident waiting to happen.

What to Know About A Home’s Roof Deck?

As a prospective home buyer, if during your visits with a seller you heard them say the “sleeper” strategy was used to build the roof deck then you’re going to want to get a second look at the roof before you move forward with the purchase. As described above, the “sleepers” are set right on the roofing material and can move from condensation, humidity, or other changes in weather. They cause deterioration where in contact with the roof due to added weight from people or snow accumulation. This deterioration can lead to cracks, leaks and, eventually, water damage.

Many potential home-buyers believe that because the roof is warrantied, they’re in the clear. Sadly, that’s often not the case. Read over the warranty again. You’ll see that any roof deck built atop the roof voids the warranty. This is due to the difficulties roofers have in repairing them with a deck in place, so you need to know what you’re getting into prior to purchase.

What Else to Check Roof Decks For?

Drainage. The weather in Chicago can turn on a dime; snowing to sunshine in a few days’ time. That kind of dramatic change, and the big Lake next door, mean we get a great deal of rain and snow each year. This gives flat roofing fits. It needs help from gravity, drainage poles and gutters to shed all that water. When the system gets compromised, water collects and seeps into where the sleepers were set, or in between the layers of rubber material. Yes, changes in temperature can sometimes cause the rubber layers to separate. This inevitably causes leaks which will have to be repaired.

Properly built roof decks use a drain-off system made from high-density foam material shaped to guide water directly to the gutter run-off points. This is a vital step in quality roof deck construction and should be functioning properly. Remember, if the system has issues then the roof will, and that can be bad for you as a potential homebuyer – especially after purchase. Triple check the drainage system on the home before entering into an agreement.

What’s the Best Roof Deck Material?

The best available material for building a long-lasting, non-damaging roof deck is water-resistant tile. These tiles are made from wood and square-positioned, almost like parquet floors. The tiles have rubber on the underside to spread weight out over a larger area, eliminating the pressure points common to “sleepers”. The locking aspect of the tiles is ideal for preventing slippage, which keeps roof corrosion to a minimum, and the raised rubber bottoms help channel water to drains. It’s the best option out there and it’s far from the most expensive.

Another alternative, cheaper than water-resistant tile, would be the sponge rubber mats that are used in children’s playgrounds. These mats can be used to create a temporary roof deck that’s safe and affordable – not to mention easy to maintain. While not a permanent fix, this is a great option for those uninterested in a permanent roof deck. They even come in colors, so you can add some pop to your festivities!

Is A Roof Deck Worth It?

Yes, a roof deck is worth it, if it was built and maintained properly. It can be a fantastic selling point for a Chicago property. But you have to do your research as a potential homebuyer, or you run the risk of getting burned by something you thought was a luxury. Do your due diligence to learn the details of the materials used so that you can make an informed decision when moving forward with a new place, especially if you’re thinking of buying the property.

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Chicago’s Roofing Company

When you need roofing of any kind, or any other roof-related services, call on the good people at Roofing by Hernandez to ensure you get just what your roof needs, nothing more and nothing less. With upfront pricing, complete licensing and insurance, and a lifetime’s experience working in the great city of Chicago, there’s no better solution to your roofing problems than a call to (312) 439-0556.

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