Private outdoor space in New York City is a scarce commodity; the ability to step from your apartment outside onto a terrace that isn’t shared with your neighbors is a luxury.  However, we all know outdoor space means specialized maintenance.

We wanted to know what terrace features are potentially problematic and what pitfalls renters and buyers should be aware of, so we sat down with Stephen Sannicandro, a partner at Cross NY, a construction management firm that specializes in commercial and luxury residential projects. He shared a few tips to help evaluate a terrace from a builder’s perspective.

Things to know when buying or renting an apartment with a terrace:

  • Always make sure the gasket seal and bottom door sill is adequately installed. Should there be heavy rain or gusts of wind, the combination of the two will leave your interior space feeling drafty and wet. A poorly installed door can cause an owner lots of aggravation should there be a need to replace interior finishes. Always check egress functionality and construction.

Terrace parapet walls should be—at an absolute minimum—48″ high. Always make sure the walls are structurally sound, whether made of glass, concrete, or metal. Do not lean against terrace walls.

Your terrace should weep! Not because it’s feeling sad, but because adequate drainage is necessary in order to prevent water from pooling/collecting. The floor surface should be pitched to a low point, which will collect water and drain it off.