Roof terrace surfacing has developed rapidly over recent years. Here we explore the different surface options available on amenity terraces and rooftop gardens.

There is a lot to consider when specifying surface finishes on a roof terrace. Factors such as cost, appearance and practicality are all important, as are vital safety aspects such as fire regulations, wind uplift and slip resistance.

Here we dig into the most popular roof terrace surfacing options.

Paving – a Roof Terrace favourite

Paving is an obvious and widely used roof terrace surfacing solution. Porcelain tiles are the most popular, although natural stone paving is also used. By elevating it onto a pedestal and joist system, it’s adjustable to suit levels and falls.. These systems are available in non-combustible materials, ensuring compliance with fire regulations. Paving is available in an enormous range of finishes and sizes, making it a highly adaptable roof terrace surfacing option that creates a great visual effect.

The challenge of wind uplift has recently emerged with raised paving systems. There have been several instances where wind has lifted paving from its sub-structure. At height, this poses a dangerous hazard as well as damaging surrounding surfaces and balustrades. Increasing the weight load by installing a thicker tile is an option, albeit an expensive one. Specialists have therefore been innovating to overcome this with hidden fixing systems.

Composite Decking – create a contrast

Composite decking is another a widely utilised roof terrace surfacing option, also with installation onto a pedestal and joist system. Decking is often used as a contrasting surface to paved areas. There are a great many decking profiles available, from the weathered and irregular to the sleek and modern.

There are also fully non-combustible systems on the market, with the deck board constructed from aluminium. Fire regulations and roof terrace surfacing finishes is a whole topic in itself, but aluminium systems are becoming increasingly specified due to this added fire security.

Resin Bound Stone on Roof Terraces

Resin Bound Stone is a very contemporary surface finish. It offers a great contrast when used with other surfacing options and delineates walkways. However, whilst very practical at ground level, it does have its challenges when installed on an elevated system. This is due to movement in the support structure causing the brittle surface to crack, resulting in the need for unsightly repairs. We have created a system that overcomes this issue by using roof trays and a decoupling membrane. An EcoGrid crate is another option in some applications.

Artificial Grass

Artificial Grass is another option for roof terraces. Like Resin Bound Stone, it creates as a contrast surface and is often located around seating areas. It can also be used around play equipment to meet fall height regulations, although it must have an adequate underlay to comply. It is also a great surface finish for play mounds, which seem to be a landscape architect favourite! There are various ways of creating the required sub-structure depending on the application.

Artificial Grass is a plastic material, and whilst there are fire retardant options out there, ultimately it will always be a combustible surface finish.

Rubber Wetpour – enabling rooftop play areas

Similar to Artificial Grass, Wetpour is another roof terrace surfacing solution used around play equipment. It is available in many colours and blends, enabling the inclusion of creative shapes and graphics. Due to its impact absorbing qualities, it creates a safety surface around play equipment with a fall height more than 600mm. It can also be installed on a variety of sub-structures, its flexibility being less susceptible to movement damage.

Natural finishes

All roof terraces should have a proportion of green space. After all, one of their very purposes is to promote wellbeing. Natural finishes such as planting, green roofs or wild meadow areas are always popular. Bark mulch layers on planting beds also create great visual effect, as well as helping moisture retention and weed suppression.

Speak to the Roof Terrace specialists

Valley Provincial have established ourselves as London’s leading creator of elevated landscape spaces. We have a lot of experience working with all the roof terrace surfacing solutions described above, and often work with several of them within the same terrace area.

As an established, reliable, and highly experienced landscaping contractor, we look forward to partnering with you on your next rooftop project.

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