Center City, Decks, Philadelphia

Roof Deck for a Weary Traveler

I had been discussing a roof deck project with a Center City homeowner for nearly a year. Scheduling was prohibitive, as his job requires travel for months at a clip. Then in early August I got his email (from somewhere in Europe): “OK Dave, I’ll be home from Labor Day to the end of September. Can you get drawings, permits, material and a finished deck on my roof by the time I leave again?” It’s never easy.

His house had an existing deck off the second floor bedroom, which we totally removed and rebuilt. Although the framing wasn’t in awful shape, we had to provide sufficient support for the (very heavy) new staircase, and the existing layout interfered with the stair reinforcement. The client liked the privacy of high railings on the lower deck, so we used a “shadow-box” approach for the new ones.

Construction of the new main deck was pretty straightforward. We used a MoistureShield composite decking and railing system with aluminum balusters.

My favorite moment of the project was when his next-door neighbor climbed up near the end of the project. I braced myself for a noise or dust complaint. Instead: “I want the exact same thing. How much to build me one, too?”

We finished, final city inspection and all, with two days to spare. The homeowner is looking forward to enjoying his new roof deck in the spring – when his travel ends for the season.