Is A Rooftop Apartment Worth It?

By JohnBarnes

In Seoul, where half of the population of South Korea is gathered, the space on the roof of the building is particularly precious, and it is used in various ways by people, and when looking for Seoul apartments for rent long term, the rooftop apartment is a good product and has an advantage of maximizing space. The popularity of rooftop apartments in Korean dramas, such as “Her Private Life”, “The Prince of the Tower Room”, etc. The protagonists in these dramas have lived in rooftop apartments(옥탑방), which has exposed foreign audiences to this type of housing. Many celebrities in South Korea have lived in tower houses, such as singers, actors, and athletes. So, what does a rooftop apartment look like in South Korea? Come and have a look with Ziptoss’s help.

What is a Rooftop Apartment (옥탑방) 

This is what Koreans call a kind of house on the rooftop. Before this, water tanks were placed on the rooftops of buildings. To prevent the water tank from freezing and cracking in winter, landlords built stairs to build a room for it, and the rooftop was transformed into a “water tank room”. Later on, the water tank was removed, a booster pump was installed, and a house was built based on maintaining the water pressure.

To increase the income, the homeowner wanted to rent an apartment as cheaply as possible. When the two requirements are matched, this special form of living space is born. In the 1980s, this kind of architecture swept the whole country, and it remains one of the cultural landscapes of Korea.

In the 1980s, this kind of architecture was popular in South Korea, and now it has become a different kind of scenery for Korean houses, and it has been frequently used in Korean dramas, telling the stories of joy, sorrow, and reunions of ordinary people.

This simple room slowly evolved, and eventually became an apartment. The water tank, exercise equipment, and cooling bed in the courtyard on the first floor are gradually transferred to the roof along with the rooftop apartment. There was a time when rooftop apartments were popular among young Koreans, and the rooftop apartment became a way of saving money and a place of romantic imagination for young people in their 20s. However, there are many differences between imagination and reality, and the rooftop apartment also has its unique characteristics.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Tower Room 


  1. The price is cheaper 

Nowadays, the structure of many tower houses is similar to the general one room, but the price is low but relatively cheap, which greatly helps young people to save their living expenses.

  1. Romantic space 

On the roof, you can build a simple “vegetable garden” with foam boxes and soil, plant some vegetables on the top, and have a BBQ party with friends. This “courtyard” becomes an observatory at night, allowing guests to enjoy the city’s brilliance.

  1. Daylight

On sunny days, quilts and clothes can be dried on the roof of the building instead of drying your laundry indoors.


  1. Insufficient privacy 

Generally, the roof of a building is set as an evacuation site for fire emergencies, so it is not possible to restrict the entry of others, which may lead to insufficient privacy and protection of personal space, noise, and safety problems when living in a rooftop apartment. 

  1. Cold in winter and hot in summer 

The surroundings and roof of the tower house are exposed to sunlight, wind, and cold air. Rooftop apartments are more susceptible to the influence of cold and hot air than ordinary apartments. The occupants of rooftop apartments said that the temperature can rise up to 40 degrees in summer, and in winter, there is no temperature difference between indoor and outdoor.

  1. Poor building materials

The rooftop apartment was originally built to protect water tanks installed on the roof, and its environment is usually worse than usual residential facilities. If the walls are simple and temporary instead of a normal wall, molds and insects are more likely to invade.


When viewing the house, ask and confirm the public order and safety facilities, including whether outsiders can enter and exit the roof, if there are high-voltage wires around, and if the stairs for entering and exiting are too steep or too narrow. Check the ceiling to see if there are watermarks.

Watermarks may be a sign of water leakage, and the possibility of this house leaking during the rainy season could be high. In summer, use air conditioning and mosquito nets, and an electric mosquito trap. Invest in blackout curtains to prevent insects from gathering. In winter, you can stick insulation on the windows and around to keep you warm indoors.