Walkways on Rooftops

  • Roof garden with walkways and sitting walls
  • Roof terrace with wooden decking, plant beds and benches

How to Create Walkways, Pathways and Patios on Rooftops

Flat roofs – especially if they are sufficiently stable and easily accessible – are perfectly suitable for implementing walkways and sitting areas or even playgrounds and sports facilities.

When planning walkways on roofs, the weight of the build-up as well as the build-up height required have to be considered from the very beginning. In
addition, the pressure resistance of the thermal insulation has to be sufficient for the walkway build-up.

During the installation of the different layers the waterproofing has to be protected from damage. So, first of all an appropriate protection layer must be installed. This can be a protection mat, but it is also possible to install a drainage layer which functions as a protection layer as well, such as Elastodrain® EL 202 or Protectodrain® PD 250.

For the installation and compaction of a gravel base layer it has to be considered, that built structures can be susceptible to vibration. The drainage of hard landscapes mostly takes place on the surface. Therefore a sufficient slope towards the roof drains has to be allowed for. Above the drains removable terrace grills ensure that the water gets downwards and also keep the drains accessible for maintenance


Drainage channel As opposed to landscaped rooftops where water is to be held back and run-off is to be delayed, walkways need most of the rainwater to be quickly drained off the surface. Hence, the drainage points should allow for two levels of drainage: at the surface level and at the lower drainage level. The ZinCo product range provides the necessary systems and accessories to cater for this.


Green roof The inclination of the surface layer depends primarily on the surface material. A “stilted surface layer“ does not need any slope since water can drain through the joints and standing water is not to be expected, whereas concrete or paver surfaces require a minimum inclination. Establishing a slope is not a problem, if the waterproofing and the surface have the same slope. If a slope different from the slope of the waterproofing has to be integrated into the surface, a gravel base layer is necessary. When designing a fall the connection heights need to be taken into consideration.

Walkways and terraces on pedestals

Elefeet®Some roofs do not have the load bearing capacity to carry the load of the base layer, bedding material and surface layer. In this instance the ZinCo Elefeet® are able to bear the load, and as a result of its minimal weight, only the weight of the surfcace has to be taken into consideration. Surface water can be drained quickly and easily through the open joints and into the lower cavity; in addition, this open subspace provides good aeration. If higher Elefeet® are used, water pipes, cables, or water hoses can be accomodated and used, for example, to irrigate adjacent intensive green areas.

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Edging and borders

Border between walkway and vegetationA stable edging is almost as important as a durable drainage element. ZinCo stainless steel profiles and concrete kerbs both present visually pleasing detail solutions. Placing the elements on top of the drainage layer does not impair water drainage.

Combination of walkways and green roofs

People walking on a green roofIf the combination of walkways and green roofs is required, not only drainage and compressive strength are important, but also the water retention capacity. Floradrain® FD 40-E as the core piece of the build-up meets all requirements of the roof and ensures durable functionality. Depending on the installation it allows for water retention (diffusion holes facing up) or drainage of water (diffusion holes facing down).

Sporting surfaces

Running track on a roofIt is also possible to install special sport surfaces on ZinCo drainage elements. The base layer and the drainage level underneath are able to drain the porous plastic surfaces. The ZinCo Technical Department is able to provide project specific solutions.

System build-up

Walkways and Driveways on Roofs and Decks

General overview of walkways and driveways on roofs and decks and the technology involved.

Number of pages
32 pages