From the Forum – Tips on building a roof deck

Photo by PoPville flickr user Doug Duvall

Tips on building a roof deck:

“I’m really interested in building a roof deck on my Trinidad DC rowhouse. I’ve read the related Popville posts (,, but it doesn’t look like there’s been a discussion on this topics in a few years. Does anyone have any advice on good architects, builders, etc.? Any recent cost estimates? Or any other advice or tips? Thanks!”

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13 Comment

  • Bravo, and good luck with the project! Keep some notes and keep us posted with pics etc. This would make a sweet feature on Popville! Would be awesome if you could share how much this ends up costing.

  • A neighbor in Dunbar Shaw/ Truxton recently got an estimate for a rooftop deck. It was close to $30K. Apparently big part of the expense was structural – in order to support the weight of the deck on top of the house, the foundation of the house would need to be reinforced first. So it can be quite expensive.

    • A fair number of Trinidad homes have crawl spaces instead of basements. I wonder if the type of foundation you have would drastically change the degree of reinforcement your foundation needs before it can support a roof deck?

  • We used DBMC Architecture and Design and were happy with the work they did. We paid around $3800 for the drawings and engineering and about $23,000 for construction. We also spent around $900 for a permit expediter to navigate DCRA for us, which was money well spent.

    • The only real surprise we came across was DCRA telling us that due to some “new interpretation of the building codes,” we had to use fire-retardant lumber, as opposed to plain old pressure-treated, which added around $1200 to the cost of materials.

    • It would be great to know more about your experience with the permit expediter. Presumably, they also deal with other types of housing/building permits? Thanks for sharing more info if you can.

      • We used Dennis Consulting, LLC (www dot dcpermitsfast dot com). Basically, you’re paying for your time and not having to endure the hassle of dealing with DCRA. The expediter works with your architect to get all the right paperwork in order and deals directly with DCRA on getting all the needed approvals.

  • If anyone has any very good, and reasonably priced, contractors for a roof deck project, please post. Have design work done, but the quotes I got for actual construction were obscene. Several multiples of what other commenters stated so far for their projects (much of that for access costs rather than the deck itself).

    • We used Skylight Builder, Corp. What we paid included materials for a ~600 sq. ft. deck plus the cost of renting a crane to hoist the lumber onto the roof as well as some plumbing, siding, and electrical work.

  • We got ours done last year from a contractor that Renovated a few row houses for my friend. We first got 4-5 quotes and his was Reasonable, the others were Outrageous. We put X amount for the blueprints by his architect, they submitted paperwork through DC to get permits, and 6 months later it was processed (since this was a nice to have we weren’t in a rush). They completed the job eventually (took time but again we weren’t in a rush) and now we have an amazing 600+ sq. foot deck. Please feel free to contact me and I can provide you info. to my contractor.

  • I wonder what happens to a roof deck when the roof needs to be replaced? Anyone with that experience?

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