Up on the Roof

♫  When this old world starts getting me down

Up on the Roof in Berkeley

And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it’s peaceful as can be
And there the world below can’t bother me
Let me tell you now…  ♫

The Drifters sang it, Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote it, and every time I climb up on a roof (I’ve been a general contractor for 25 years), it’s always the best.  Share your pictures of roof top living!

As we design and build Sustainable Urban Villages, one of the great assets we can share is roof top living.  The additional costs can be significant, so sharing the space as a community is an obvious win-win. …

In Santa Fe, there are two bars and two restaurants with roof top dining and drinking.  Great spaces!  Shade structures are build in, and the sunsets are the best.

Santa Fe has lots of flat roofs.  They leak and piss homeowners off. Historically coated with hot tar and gravel, newer membranes include “Brai” torch down rubberized roofing.  By installing a light tan or white membrane, the roof reflects the summer heat, lowers interior temperatures, and of course reduces cooling bills. And this “reinforced rubberizied” roofing is tough, so I feel confident walking directly on it. Since our flat roof slopes just a little, it works.  On a steeper pitch, it’s necessary to rip angled sleepers, and install decking to make the walking surface level.

We have a futon/couch and a table on our roof. This year I added 4 container planters with drip irrigation. I also stood 5 wooden pallets on edge and used some tie wire to tie them in a C shape.  With a power stapler, I covered the 3′ tall pallet wall with some green shade cloth and created a fairly attractive windbreak for the container planters.  I haven’t incorporated shading for the futon, but the big trees to the west make a glass of wine and the evening breeze totally delightful once the sun starts to go down.  The every changing sunset/cloud lightshow can make ♫…on the roof, it’s peaceful as can be..♫

share your ideas and photos of roof top living.  Together we can make sustainable real!

Image courtesy of EcocityBuilders

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