Converting a Roof into a Rooftop Terrace

For many homeowners, their garden is their pride and joy. But what about those who live in major cities like London, where space is at a premium and homes may have no outdoor living space? Well, the last few years have seen a boom in homeowners adding roof terraces, providing extra monetary value as well as enjoyment to their homes.

Estate agents estimate that adding a roof terrace can increase the value of your home by at least 10%, rising to over 20% in sought-after boroughs like Chelsea and Holland Park. Converting your roof into a roof terrace is not a do-it-yourself job; unless you are a professional, you will need to hire an architect and builder to make your roof terrace a reality. So where do we start?

Starting Point

Firstly, consider whether building a roof terrace is feasible. Can your property’s roof and walls take the weight of the roof terrace itself, its furnishings and fittings and people walking around on it? If major reconstruction is required, you will need planning permission. Although it’s cheaper and more straightforward to build a terrace on a flat roof, sloped roofs can be adjusted by either building up an external wall or cutting into the roof. Building up may be a good option if you want to extend your home and keep hold of your existing top floor or attic space, but you are more likely to need planning permission.


Once you have your basic idea, speak to your neighbours to check they are happy with it. If your roof terrace is going to overlook their property or block out sunlight, they may have grounds to object. If you want your terrace to be a social space, could your neighbours argue that late night parties or raucous barbeques will cause a noise nuisance? Furnishings like opaque glass panels or solid screens can help keep your roof terrace private and your neighbours happy.

Next Step

The next step is to consult your architect to check whether you will need planning permission. Local architects and builders will be familiar with your local council’s processes and preferences. Always take professional advice – if you build without planning permission, you could be ordered to remove your terrace.

Whatever features you decide on, you must consider water drainage. Your construction firm can advise on what steps to take, and they may build the terrace into a gentle slope and modify pipes to ensure that rainwater drains properly. You will be responsible for maintaining the drainage system to avoid damage to your own and adjoining properties.

Terrace Ideas

Your new roof terrace could become a second living room, your private spot in the sun or whatever your imagination desires. Roof gardens can be much lower maintenance than ground-level gardens, and can be a haven for bees and butterflies, many of whose favourite plants are attractive and low maintenance. Use lightweight plant pots and furniture and ensure that any lighting cables etc. are completely waterproof.

Finally, relax and enjoy your new outdoor space!

Written by Morgan Asphalte, the leading providers of roof repairs and renovations in the Wimbledon and wider London area. Our expert team are on hand to carry out work on all roof types, from asphalt to felt; aluminium to slate. Get in touch today to find out more.

Posted on 29 June 2015 in Roofing.

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