What to Know about Budgeting a Roof Deck Remodel

Residential-Roof-Deck-Budget

Wondering  How to Budget Your Roof Deck Remodel?

Since our article Roof Decks Done Right, we get a lot of calls asking about cost. The building department treats roof decks the same as adding a new floor: that’s how much stress they put on the existing structure. Together with permitting and design considerations, this creates many variables impacting project scope. Use this quick guide to learn about what goes into building a San Francisco roof deck – and what it means for your budget.

Residential Roof Decks: Permitting Requirements

First and foremost, you will need to hire a structural engineer and architect to help meet planning and building code. Structural drawings will address any steel reinforcement and foundation work that is needed; and architecture plans will inform the layout and any special features. In many cases, roof decks also require Section 311 notification to neighbors (expect 3-4 months, or more with backlog).

Some notable San Francisco residential permitting guidelines to know about:

  • Perimeter railings must bear 250 lbs force / foot
  • All skylights (unless walkable) must have railings
  • Must have effective waterproofing (read our quick guide here)
  • Structure must be seismically sound
  • If larger than 500 feet, must comply with planning parameters and use non-combustible deck surfaces
  • If installing fireplace or fire pit, deck must be made of non-combustible materials

 

Budgeting-Residential-Roof-Deck

 

Budgeting Roof Decks: Consider Structure

There are two main safety features to consider in building a roof deck: first, areas carrying live load must be structurally reinforced to withstand earthquakes and wind. Second, excellent waterproofing must protect the living space below. Other structural variables will impact cost, including:

  • Structure & condition of current roof
  • Structural support for live load including condition of existing foundations
  • Updated fire escape and/or roof egress

 

These are the most common structural challenges that increase budget:

  • Gabled roof
  • New roofing required
  • Interior space (i.e. solarium or staircase)
  • Updates to roof access, exterior staircase and/or fire escape
  • Multiple stories impacted by construction
  • Significant structural upgrades required

 

In general, a flat roof that extends from property line to property line requires less structural change. Gabled roofs, unique access points and foundation reinforcement are more challenging and will increase the scope of work.

 

Roof-Deck-Renovation

 

Variables in Roof Deck Design

Now that you know what’s required in permitting and structure, let’s talk about the fun stuff: what to build! Our portfolio includes everything from simple ipe decking to whole outdoor living spaces including kitchen and dining areas.

Design features with biggest impact on budget:

  • Interior space (i.e. solarium or sun room)
  • Windows, French doors and/or wind screens
  • Stone or concrete tile over pedestals
  • Hard piped fire pit
  • Kitchen and/or entertainment bar
  • Retractable or walkable skylights
  • Catwalk or exterior staircase
  • Dining area and/or custom-built banquette
  • Glass railings

 

Budgeting-Roof-Deck-Remodel

 

Sample Roof Deck Budgets

Each project is unique and requires a professional consultation for accurate pricing. In the meantime, here are some sample budget breakdowns to consider:

Basic Roof Deck Renovation: $75-150k

This budget range is for roofs that are suitable to take on a new live load. Sample criteria may include:

  • Flat roof
  • No structural or permitting issues
  • Straightforward waterproofing
  • Extends from property line to property line
  • No changes to interior floor plan
  • Simple or existing exterior stair access
  • Simple railings
  • Ipe or redwood decking

 

Mid-Range Roof Deck Remodel: $150-275k

A mid-range roof deck may have more complicated structural work and design, such as:

  • Permitting issues
  • Structural concerns
  • Life safety issues
  • Complex waterproofing
  • Stone or concrete tile over pedestals
  • Custom railings
  • New catwalk or exterior staircase
  • Some impact on existing interior spaces
  • Potential interior stair access

 

Deluxe Roof Deck Upgrade: $275 and Up

The most cost-intensive projects may include all the permitting and structural issues of a mid-range deck, plus the following:

  • Gabled roof
  • Significantly more complicated structural work
  • Disruption of finishes throughout home
  • New interior space (i.e. solarium or sun room)
  • Windows, French doors and/or wind screens
  • Stone or concrete tile over pedestals
  • Hard piped fire pit
  • Kitchen and/or entertainment bar
  • Retractable or walkable skylights
  • Catwalk or exterior staircase
  • Dining area and/or custom-built banquette
  • Glass railings

 

How-to-build-roof-deck

We specialize in San Francisco remodeling and all the unique needs that come with it: maximizing every inch of outdoor living space and every city view. Anything is possible when it comes to upgrading a residential roof deck. Consider your must-have design features and existing structure, and talk to your local building professional about the right budget for your project.

See our outdoor living spaces portfolio for more eye candy.

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