Solutions to Make Your Roof a Walkable Space (IRE 2020)

02/10/2020 | By Valerie Dennis Craven

Making the roof of your facility accessible can allow more usable space for occupants to take advantage of your roof (and bring in revenue) or allow a safe surface for workers. Before occupants and staff can get on the roof, it needs to be prepared for foot traffic and properly protected.

Manufacturer sofSURFACES featured its roofing tiles at the 2020 International Roofing Expo in Dallas. Director of marketing Chris Chartrand notes from the show floor that there are various solutions based on how your roof will be used, so “you want to make sure you're using the right product for the right application.”

Learn about two different types of products that are easy to install on flat roofs and will help make your roof safe for use.

[On Topic: Roofing Systems]

Single-Ply Textured Vinyl Membrane

Brendan Houle, owner and director of business development, Global Dec-K-Ing Systems​:

Traditionally for people to be able to walk on the roof, there’s a roofing surface and one or more layer on top, so it can be an approved walking surface, explains Brendan Houle, owner and director of business development.

“Because this is single ply, it's done all in one coat,” Houle says. “It’s your walking surface and your roofing surface” on top of the structure underneath, be it plywood or concrete. In addition, the vinyl membrane can be used on a balcony or patio to create a textured surface.

Benefits for the single-ply solution include:

  • Easy care: Wash the mildew- and salt-resistant surface with a hose
  • Traction because of the textured surface
  • Watertight solution: Everything under the product will stay dry; water doesn’t come through
  • UV protection

Rubber Paving Tiles

Watch Chris Chartrand, director of marketing, and Brad Goss, sales and support, both of sofSURFACES:

Depending on how the roof will be used and by whom, two types of duraSTRONG products are available. Both are available in 24-inch-by-24-inch tiles, 2 inches thick.

The application itself will dictate which product is right, explains Brad Goss, sales and support at sofSURFACES.

Walkway pads: Utility surfacing for commercial flat top roofing membrane protection, geared for industrial applications. It protects and extends the life of the membranes from foot traffic, tool drops and flying projectiles. With this product, workers can easily access rooftop appliances, HVAC units and other products, Chartrand explains.

Rubber Paving Tiles: Create a commercial usable space with visual appeal, ballast, mechanical and thermal protection with the duraSTRONG plus solution. “The premium product line is for people and places to have a covering over the rooftop but still have an aesthetically pleasing look,” Goss says.

[Related: Accessories and Coatings]

Walkable Rooftop a Good Use of Space

Creating more usable space on your rooftop is “a good use of space if you have a flat roof situation,” Houle reminds facilities managers and building owners. Having the right products in place to create a safe space for workers and guests is an important first step to making your rooftop a safe space to walk.

More about roofing:


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