Working Together To Improve The Community

No Yard? Could A Rooftop Pool Be An Option?

by April Carlson

If you live in a neighborhood where most homes (including your own) are of the zero-lot-line variety, leaving you and your neighbors so close you can nearly touch each other by reaching out the window, you may assume that any swimming pool larger than an inflatable one is out of reach. However, lazy summer days spent lounging in your own full-sized pool may be no further away than your own roof. Read on to learn more about the unique factors you'll need to take into account when constructing a rooftop pool and what you'll need to consider to decide whether this is a good option for your home.

What special considerations accompany the construction of rooftop swimming pools?

In many respects, pools constructed on a building's roof are no different from those installed in-ground or above-ground. You'll be able to choose from a number of sizes, shapes, and materials. However, there are a few key differences to keep in mind when considering the construction of a rooftop pool.

The first is water pressure. All pools have pumps and filters that help circulate water into the pool and remove waste and debris. However, when a pool is located on the roof, you'll need some extra hydraulic pressure to force this water upward from the indoor plumbing. This can take the form of a heavy-duty pump installed inside your home or in the attic space between your living area and the roof. Ensuring that your pool's pump has enough pressure to keep the water flowing can prevent your water from backflowing into your pipes and causing a leak.

The second factor to be taken into consideration is weight. For in-ground and above-ground pools, the weight of the water (and the pool itself) is rarely an issue unless the pool is constructed on unstable or loose ground. However, because water weighs more than 60 pounds per cubic foot, even a small rooftop pool can be exceptionally heavy. This usually means utilizing a stainless steel or fiberglass pool rather than much heavier concrete to prevent putting too much of a load on your home's roof.

Is this type of pool a good idea for your home?

If you're seriously considering the construction of a rooftop pool, you'll want to research a few issues before you call a contractor for a quote. 

The first is your home's framing. In order for a pool to be constructed over a residence, there must be sufficient framing in place so that the pool's weight is transferred to the load-bearing walls, and these walls must be strong enough to support not only the home, but the extra weight of the pool when filled to capacity. For large pools, you'll also want to consider the potential number and weight of guests -- even if your friends are slender, adding an extra dozen bodies to your roof could increase the pressure on your framing by more than a ton. 

While a peaked roof can be removed and modified to permit the construction of a rooftop pool, adding enough reinforcing beams to support a pool that weighs tens of thousands of pounds can be a more difficult prospect. If your home is in a subdivision with other houses built during the same era, you may be able to get copies of blueprints or other planning documents from your county's auditor or even the developer to get an idea of the size of beams framing your home and whether reinforcement will be necessary.

You'll also want to make sure your pool is able to be installed over a surface that can contain a leak. If your liner is breached or a pipe bursts, the last thing you'll want is to have chlorinated water leaking through your bedroom or kitchen ceiling. Having space to install some type of waterproof buffer (such as solid rubber insulation) between your ceiling and support beams and the bottom of your pool can go a long way toward preventing any potential problems for many summers to come.  Contact a pool construction company for more information.