An outdoor balcony doesn't have to mean a major remodeling of your house. If your attached garage is in need of a new roof, why not take advantage of a flat roof design. You get the new roof you need and some new outdoor living space you can enjoy.

Step 1: Choose Your Options

Replacing a pitched roof with a flat roof will require some structural changes in the garage. The amount of changes and the scope of the project depends in part on the engineering of your current garage and your plans for the roof space. A few usage options:

  • A balcony patio for relaxing or entertaining.

  • A rooftop garden.

  • A green "living roof" design.

  • A hobby deck – for painting, stargazing, sunbathing, or other outdoor pursuits.

Step 2: Check the Structure

Safety, for both you and the structure, is the primary concern. This isn't usually a job for the do-it-yourselfer. A professional roof technician will need to inspect your garage and determine how much weight the supporting beams and walls can hold. In addition to this, he will also determine the best way to alter or replace the current rooftop supports.

Your roofer will need to estimate the amount of weight you plan on putting on the roof so he can create a plan to provide sufficient support. For example, soil can weigh 120 pounds a cubic foot so a green roof places a lot of weight stress on the structure, so you may need to shore up the supports before installing the roof. Permits and inspections will be necessary, but your roofing contractor can help you navigate the process.

Step 3: Pick a Roof

You have several options in roofing materials when you go flat, but not all are suitable for walking on. A standard tar and gravel roof can hold a lot of weight, but your garage supports will likely need shoring up to support it.

Installing a deck over the flat roof lets the support framework of your home support some of the weight of the balcony area so it doesn't all rest on the garage roof. Your roofer—such as one found through—can help you make the best decision based on your budget and structural concerns.

Step 4: Fill in the Details

Once the roof is in place, it's time to have fun with the details. You will need to install a railing of some sort for safety. Wood and metal railings are the simplest to install and maintain, but glass railings are another option if you don't want anything to block the view.

Decorate your new balcony with attractive furniture and potted plants, or begin putting in your garden beds. This space is all your own, so you can make it fit your needs.