Our neighborhood trees now block our view of the mountains in our Albuquerque, New Mexico, home. Would building decks on the flat, rubberized coated roofs of the dining and living rooms create a roof-maintenance nightmare?
Manuel W. ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hi Manuel, I know it must be very tempting to look at those flat roofs and imagine some decks with lounge chairs there, but I don't think it would be a very good idea unless an architect can come up with an innovative design. Rubber membrane roofing can be torn very easily and wouldn't mix very well with decking boards on top of it.
My grandparents had a home many years ago that had a flat roof over a small portion of it. The roof was easily accessible from the ground and when they were out of town for the fall and winter we would often get on that portion of the roof and play on the rubber membrane. Being very young we didn't know any better, but I can remember my grandfather wondering why he had so many leaks on that portion of the roof.
If you could have a local architect or even a decking contractor come up with a design for a deck that was over the flat roofs, but not supported by the roof deck or resting down on the roof decking, then that might work. There would need to be enough room between the bottom of the new decks and the roofs so that roofers could get in and patch or replace the roof decking and rubber membrane as needed. Another option might be to install the new decking and deck joists in 4 foot by 4 foot sections that could be removed as needed to work on the roof deck below.
I think there are a lot of possible options to look at, but I would definitely not use the roof surface as your deck. Find an architect or contractor with some imagination and have them come out to take a look at what you have and see what they can come up with. I read a lot of good things about the architecture in Albuquerque, New Mexico so I'm sure there should be someone who can come up with great ideas on how you can regain your mountain views.