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DIY home improvement: How to build your own roof terrace in 8-steps

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Building, woodworking, home improvement—it's never easy, but it is possible!

It’s not breaking news that people have less and less space in their homes these days. Even in the suburbs, people are starting to get more creative with adding more rooms to their homes – and one of these clever ideas is to build a terrace on the roof.

Wouldn’t that be lovely? A spacious terrace with plush seating where you can have a relaxing sit-down and enjoy the fresh air. Since our surroundings are becoming more cluttered, we might as well go up and start using the vertical space, right?

But before you dash off, first know that a roof terrace is not a viable option for just anyone. Along with a decent budget, it is also subject to a range of other factors.

Take your time and read slowly though the steps, and then decide if this is a project for you…

Step 1: Take stock

Before you get lost in design ideas, first ensure that your roof can, indeed, support the weight of a terrace, the additional furniture, plus people moving about. If need be, get a professional contractor or architect to help determine if that terrace of your dreams can come true.

Step 2: Plan the design…

Part of your planning process will be taking into account where shade will fall, or currently falls on your roof/terrace. Is there a tree in the yard that provides shade? Will you be adding structure to provide shade to the terrace, like a pergola, umbrella or tent?

… and take your view into account

Obviously you do not want to go through all the trouble (and spend money) just to end up staring at your neighbour’s house.

Consider where your terrace will get the best view, and focus your design on that area.

Step 3: Decide on fencing options

Safety first! Decide on the type of enclosure you will be adding to that newly built terrace, like a fence, railing, glass balustrades, or some other type of structure.

This is crucial for safety, especially if children will be making use of that terrace.

Step 4: Pick the roof for your new terrace

What did you decide on? A timber pergola? A retractable awning?

Step 5: Focus on flooring material and natural touches

A wooden deck can make a terrace look quite charming and inviting, although you can also opt for a tiled floor or stone surface if it fits better with your design – bear in mind the weight of those materials and what it will do to your house’s foundation. 

Now for the more fun part: bringing in potted plants and fresh flowers to add some beauty to that terrace. Of course you’re not forced to add these in, but we strongly recommend some potted pretties, for they add not only aesthetic quality, but also cleanse the air and provide fresh scents.

Step 6: Choose your furniture

What seating options will look best with your terrace design? Rattan furniture? Plush sofas? Timber stools? 

Similar to furnishing an interior room, both beauty and comfort needs to be taken into consideration here, as well as the fact that those pieces will be more exposed to the elements (depending on your design, of course).

How about a dining area?

Could that new terrace be the perfect spot for an exterior dining area? Imagine having dinner under the stars, or enjoying breakfast while greeting the morning sun…

Step 7: Cleaning up

Yes, we know this is never fun, but giving your newly created terrace a decent sweeping (and mopping and shining) will make it look much better and more inviting. After all, you don’t want to continue to the final step (which is definitely the most fun) with dirty surfaces, do you?

Step 8: Design and decorate

Now you add your personal touches in the form of décor. Scatter cushions, throws, oversized pillows, curtains, coffee tables, etc. Have fun, but be sure to stick with a design that will flow smoothly and complement your terrace and house as a whole. 

Need some help when it comes to décor and furniture? Then: Let’s Cover The Basics Of Interior Design.

What are your plans for a roof terrace?
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