Four years ago, we set out to create deck on the “flat” roof outside our office. To meet our needs, we wanted to maximize the available space and create a flat deck surface that was inviting, usable, easy to maintain, of course, cost effective to install.
There are many rooftop deck materials available, everything from wood panels, to concrete, to structural porcelain and stone. While these materials are certainly durable and create very usable surface areas, on sunny days, they can be very bright and can also get extremely hot, particularly in the summer. Reflected light from the roof was also a concern and we wanted to minimize the glare coming into the office windows so we decided that perhaps a “hard” surface might not be the best option for the entire deck area. “Green” roof systems with living plants such as LiveRoof would be one option but while these types of systems would reduce the glare and heat reflected from the roof’s surface, they don’t create particularly usable deck area and can be quite expensive to install. They would also require more maintenance and additional infrastructure, such as the installation of a watering system. Another consideration is the significant loads that these systems can add to a roof structure and can present challenges, particularly in a retrofit situation.
We decided that a promising option would be to incorporate synthetic turf into the design. It would present a “softer”, more inviting surface (especially for our employee’s dogs that frequently come to work) and it would make for a cooler surface with reduced heat and light reflection. We had seen many installations that included synthetic turf but it was installed directly over the underlying roof membrane. This posed several issues that we wanted to avoid and overcome. First, the turf followed the contours and slope of the underlying roof which we didn’t want. We wanted to create a completely level surface. Second, we wanted to ensure that the underlying roofing system remained serviceable and continued to drain properly. Finally, we also wanted to create a system that would be compatible with other deck materials so that we could create a deck with a combination of surfaces in the design.
We ended up utilizing was a raised pedestal and paver type rooftop deck assembly for the “hard” surface deck areas and then developing a system to creating a flat, raised surface where we could apply the synthetic turf. Our concept was based on the traditional pedestal system but to incorporate cost effective exterior rated wood panels as an underlayment for the turf. We chose a product called Medex MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) Panels, a sustainable, moisture resistant, medium density fiberboard. Well, it worked great………….for about four years. While the system and components came together exactly as we had hoped, during the fourth summer, the Medex panels began to show signs of failure. The heat and moisture were obviously beginning to take their toll and the panels began to sag between the pedestals. A new panel system would have to be found. Our solution ended up being one that was cost effective, water resistant, drained well, and would meet the structural requirements of a deck surface – hog flooring! Yep, you read it right, hog flooring!
Here are a few images of the Medex MDF panels being replaced with the new underlayment panels and the final deck. We are going into our first winter with the new deck, and it is performing excellently. If you’d like more information about raised pedestal deck systems, check out some of the links below. If you have any questions about our new hog panel synthetic turf roof deck, feel free to give us a call.
- Bison http://www.bisonip.com/pedestals/level-deck-supports/
- Eterno: http://www.pedestal-eternoivica.com/en/products/c/adjustable-pedestals
CMB Architecture, Colorado, Colorado Master Builders, Pedestal Roof Pavers, Rooftop Deck, Synthetic Turf