Porch Roof Designs

Porch Roofs Provide Protection and Much More

The right porch roof designs can add lots of appeal to your home. Mary and I are often asked what makes a great front porch design. Underneath, most porches are the same: foundation, piers, joists, rafters, beams, etc.

So what does differentiate an ordinary porch from an extraordinary one?




Is it the size? Architecture? Materials? Or is it the intangibles that give it special curb appeal? It may be all of the above.

We think; however, the porch roof really helps to define the space.



custom porch roof by The Porch Company
photo courtesy of The Porch Company
We love porches and our goal is to define for you what exactly makes a great front porch design. Come along with us as we show you in this front porch design series that a well designed front porch can indeed be more impressive than the sum of its parts.


Video: All About Porch Roof Designs



Dave and I explore the world of porch roof designs












Let's begin at the top (the roof) and explore your options.


Porch Roof Designs for Ranch Style Homes

We'll use 3-D renderings and actual photos of roof designs on both a ranch and two-story home to better illustrate various design features.


3-d rendering of ranch style home


Pictured above is a ranch style home on which we will show with three different basic front porch design options.


Ranch Style Home with Flat Porch Roof Designs

Let's add a flat roof which is normally the least expensive to build. Although simple in design it adds lots of appeal. In this example we centered the roof over the front door.

3-d rendering of ranch style home with a flat roof design


Off-setting the roof to the left or right of the door is also an option and would also change the overall appearance.

A flat porch roof structure may not be an option in some geographical areas due to snow or other factors, so check with your local codes department if considering such a design.


beautiful front porch with a flat porch roof
Spacious front porch with a flat porch roof



Ranch Style Home with Shed Type Roof

Now let's add a shed-type roof to our ranch home. The shed roof breaks the expanse of the main roof making it an almost seamless transition.


3d rendering of ranch home with shed roof over front porch


Again, we could locate the roof anywhere along the front of the home to give it a different perspective. Locating the staircase in a different location can also dramatically alter the overall design as well.

Slope is a critical factor when adding a shed roof to a ranch home. Local building codes dictate the minimum slope of your porch roof.

Many times, the slope (or pitch) of the ranch home's roof is such that a shed roof is not workable.

In most cases the porch roof will be the same pitch as your home's roof slope. Just extending your home's roof over the porch area may result in not having sufficient height underneath depending on the depth of your porch.


diagram showing ranch roof slopes
Ranch roof slope affects porch ceiling height
There are roof design solutions to resolve this issue. One, is to build a raised shed roof as shown below.


shed style front porch roof on a ranch home
Shed-style porch roof
A variation of the shed style is to create a gable at the peak of the roof and extend it over your porch as here:


modified shed style roof for front porch on a ranch home
Modified or gable-style raised shed porch roof
A third option is to use a hip style roof for your front porch as illustrated below.



Hip Roofs For Ranch Home Porches

Hip roofs can be an ideal solution for those wanting to add a porch to a ranch home. By design, they offer both width and depth that in many cases, a gable or shed roof cannot.


hip roof on a ranch home design
Nicely designed hip roof on a ranch home



hip roof for front porch on a ranch home design
Hip roofs make for nice front porches



hip roof over front porch on a ranch home
Hip roofs integrate easily on ranch style homes



Ranch Style Home with Gable Type Roof

Here's the affect of adding a gable to a ranch porch roof. The height and slope of your gable will be normally determined by the height of your main roof and width of your porch.


3d rendering of gable roof over front door


Often times, you will need to adjust one or the other to meet your architectural requirements. The specific porch roof location will create a different overall design.

This front porch is a good example of a gable roof on a ranch style home. Note the sunburst pattern at the top of the gable. Gables have the added benefit of giving you options for adding interest and additional appeal to your porch.


stylish gable on ranch style home


The slope on this gable front porch roof is rather steep and has what I call a "heavy" appearance. Although appealing in its own right, I would have opted for a more lean looking structure by opening the front of the gable to expose the ceiling.


steep gable roof over front porch on ranch home


Note how the slope of the gable roof matches that of the home's roof on this more contemporary gable roof design. We really like the rounded entryway which gives it a more open feel. Because of the gable structure you can opt to close in or open the ceiling area - we love options!


gable roof on contemporary home design
Gable roofs give you design options
Here's a unique gable and shed style roof combination - how ingenious! Looks great too!


gable roof with shed roof on ranch home design
This roof design adds lot of appeal



gable roof over small front porch on ranch home
One of our favorite gable front porches



Porch Roof Designs for Two Story Homes

A typical two-story home can also be dramatically changed with the right porch design. Adding a porch roof to a two-story home can be tricky. Unlike adding one to a ranch style home, you must consider not only the slope but more often than naught, the second story windows.


3d rendering of two story home
3-D rendering of two story home

Two Story with Flat Porch Roof Designs

Adding a flat roof immediately adds charm to this home and can make for an expansive style front porch. Flat roofs give can give you added depth as you do not have to be as concerned with the slope of the roof.

However, they are not permissible in all areas of the country so be sure to check with your local building codes department.


two story home with flat roof over front porch
Two story home with a flat roof design

Two Story with Shed Roof Design

A shed-type roof also adds lot of curb appeal. This is perhaps the most popular porch roof style for 2nd story homes; however, the size of your roof (i.e., that is the depth of your porch) may be restricted based on the slope.

In addition, some local building codes may require a minimum distance between the 2nd story windows and the roof.


two story home with shed roof over front porch
Two story home with shed roof design



two story home with shed roof over front porch
Typical two-story home with porch's shed roof design
To add more interest, consider building a gable over your front entrance as shown below.


two story home with shed roof and gable entrance over porch
Two-story home with porch's shed-type roof with gable over front door
Add an arched opening for more appeal:


shed style roof with arch over entance for front porch on a ranch home
Modified or gable-style raised shed porch roof
This farm house has a classic wrap around shed type roof. Note how the side of the porch has been enclosed as a screen porch - that's a neat front porch design idea


farmhouse with wrap around shed roof over front porch
Country farmhouse with a shed roof design over wrap around porch
A shed roof is easy and cost effective to build. Adding exterior trim, like the dentil moldings on the porch roof structure (photo below) adds extra appeal and can be used to break up its straight lines.


shed roof with dentil moldings over front porch


Two Story with Gable Roof Design

The gable roof option on this two story gives it a more sophisticated look. A gable roof also gives you the opportunity for more porch depth; however, the length of your porch may be determined by second story window placement.

If a longer porch is needed consider a combination gable and shed roof as depicted in the next slide.


3d rendering of two story with gable roof
Two story home with gable roof over front porch
Gables also give you other design options as depicted here. This could have been closed in; however, the architect chose to open the gable and use a tongue and groove ceiling to accentuate the overall design.


combination gable and shed roof over front porch
Beautiful home with combination gable and shed roof over porch
Here's a unique front porch design that includes two gable roofs joined by a shed roof.


front porch with two gables joined by shed roof
Front porch with two gables joined by a shed roof
Let me show you an example of how slight modifications to a roof design can change the appearance of the front porch. I've selected two homes with very similar front porch designs in the two photos below.

Note the positions of the gables and how it changes the overall appeal of the porch.


gable placed in middle of front porch roof
Gable positioned over center of front porch



gable placed over front door entrance on porch
Gable positioned over front door



Hip Roofs on Two Stories

Shed and Gable roofs are not the only roofs in town. Hip roofs can be stylish too. Hip roofs have equal angled sides and are most often, but not always, found on cottage style homes.

They are; however, ideal for two story homes as seen below. They give you ample porch depth without having to be concerned with roof pitch.


hip roof style over picturesque front porch
Hip style front porch roof



hip roof style on two story brick home
Hip roof on two story brick home



shingled hip roof style over front porch
Porch hip roof on two story home
Hip roofs, as shown below, are a variation of the hip roof and are also common on porches. They can be ideal for second story homes whose window placements do not allow for a continuous shed or gable roof.


hip roof style over front porch
Hip style front porch roof
hip roof with gable  over front porch
Hip porch roof with gable over entrance

Porch Roof Illustrator

Use our porch illustrator to see how different roof designs affect the appeal of a home.

front porch illustrator





Variations of Porch Roof Designs

Don't rule out variations of roof designs. Here's a shed roof with a slightly rounded hip roof making this a very interesting and appealing front porch design.


combination shed roof and mansard roof designs
Combination shed roof and mansard roof
Here's a bungalow with a typical hip roof and its front porch with a flat roof.


hip roof on bungalow with flat roof over porch
Hip roofed bungalow with flat roof over porch
If you like the slightly rounded look, you might go all the way - these round porch roofs offer a very sophisticated appeal.

round roof on beautiful front porch
Round roof design on picturesque front porch
This is a round roof on a true southern charmer! Southern homes have almost idealistic porch roof designs!


round roof on classic southern porch
Classic grand southern front porch with round roof





Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how the style of your porch roof affects your overall front porch design. Most importantly you want to make sure the design is compatible with the style of your home.


Victorian home with classic roof style
Stunning Victorian home
As you can see, superb porch roof designs do more than just cover your porch and can directly affect your overall porch and home's design.







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