How to Build a Porch

From Foundations to Roofs and More

Knowing how to build a porch can save money whether you are hiring a contractor or doing it yourself. A new or remodeled front porch not only adds value to your home but also plenty of curb appeal.

Porch construction is fairly straight forward; however, it pays to understand how the different components are installed and the many options you have. We'll show you what is involved and offer tips and ideas for every facet of your building project (and some you may not have previously considered too).

Some DIYers with solid carpentry skills can build a front porch, but please understand your limitations, too. Our porch building guides walk you through the process and we even help you assess your skills.

If you purchase an item through affiliate links within our content, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. See our disclosure policy.

how to build a porch picture

Do You Need a Professional to Build Your Porch?

We recommend consulting with - or hiring - a professional experienced contractor for your porch project. Please use our handy form to get free estimates from local contractors.

Please stop by these popular sections on our site:

Watch Our Video: Build a Porch in a Minute

Our son's porch on his former home was torn down and rebuilt. The above video shows you the build a porch process from beginning to end - in just over a minute! We promise it will take you much longer than a minute.

Browse Our Porch Building Topics

build solid porch foundations

Construct Solid Porch Foundations
Porches and decks need solid foundations upon which to build. See construction processes, diagrams, photos, repair methods, and podcasts.

how to build porch flooring

Build Your Porch Floor to Last
See how porch floors are constructed from the beam to joists, bridging, and your selected porch floor material. Learn about an amazing porch floor option too

diagonal porch joist

Porch Flooring Construction Tutorial
We offer a written and audio tutorial for installing your porch flooring: foundation issues to the final touches.

install ledger flashing

Flash It to Protect It
Not all porches need ledger flashing; however, most should and flashing on decks is a must. It can be easy!

decking materials

Porch Decking Material Options
Find the perfect porch flooring material for your porch or deck. You'll be surprised at just how many options you may have.

how to build a deck

How to Build a Porch / Deck
See how a porch or deck foundation and flooring is constructed: from installing the foundation to laying out and cutting stringers for your porch steps.

building a porch roof

How to Build a Porch Roof
Narrative of shed-style and truss-style roof construction, from installing the rafter plate to setting your beam and rafters. Calculate rise and run. Explore porch construction books.

gable porch roof

Porch Roof Construction Ideas
Aspects of roof construction and material selection along with metal roof ideas (popular!). Excellent information for anyone contemplating building a porch roof.

know your porch's electrical options

Know Your Porch Electrical Options
Wire your porch holiday lights, lamps, fans, vacuum and music. Run cable before the joists are covered or the porch ceiling is installed. Plan for receptacles, ceiling lights and fans, wall sconce lights. Run conduit under your porch for yard lighting. 

porch columns

Porch Column Construction Options
Learn porch column placement, design and style options, material selection, trim options, curb appeal ideas, load bearing issues, ventilation, structural and non-structural columns, wraps

porch railing ideas

Porch Railings and Kneewall Options
From railing photo galleries to design options, choose the right style and materials before your build as they may affect your overall porch design.

porch handrails

Porch Hand Rails
We explain building codes and options for outdoor hand rails along with a myriad of design options you should see.

build porch steps

How to Build Porch Steps
See how to build porch steps, how to lay out the stringers, and calculate the number and size of steps.

porch ceiling

Install Your Front Porch Ceiling
How one couple installed bead board paneling on their front porch - good ideas for finishing off your porch.

Beautifully painted porch

Selecting the Right Porch Paint
Incorporate paint into your porch decor. Using the right porch paint helps protect your investment and adds lovely color.

porch skirting in maple leaf pattern

Porch or Deck Skirting Options
Learn more about your porch skirting options and how to install it properly. When you build your porch, consider these ideas.

Vinyl lattice panels used for porch skirting

Custom Vinyl Lattice Panels
Use these no-maintenance vinyl lattice panels for porch skirting. They won't rot or decay like wood often does.

Gorgeous exterior house trim on porch

Add Exterior House Trim
Select and install exterior trim to your porch for added curb appeal and immense character

wheelchair ramp design for a porch

Build a Wheelchair Ramp
Peruse our information for building a wheel chair ramp for your porch or deck

exterior orange front door

Exterior Front Doors
Your exterior front door can make a beautiful statement about your home.

new porch being constructed on house

Don't Forget Your Building Permits
Building permits are important. They protect both your property and your family and friends. Please don't neglect this very important step.

contractors working on porch

Choose the Right Contractor
We asked a professional contractor what you need to know when hiring someone else to do the work. You want a person of integrity who has experience with how to build a porch.

porch construction safety - porch steps

Porch Construction Safety
Make your porch safer for family and friends with our tips.

Important Safety Notes for How to Build a Porch

Because every home and porch are different, it's not possible to cover every situation; however, the processes are much the same. Using ladders and power tools is inherently dangerous and it seems silly that we even need to mention it. But please take all necessary precautions according to manufacturers instructions along with your common sense. The information we provide on this site is for informational purposes only and should not to be used for actual construction. We highly recommend you look at our Safety Section for more information.

Need Porch Parts?

Whether building a porch or deck, you'll need the right parts.

We like to use Simpson Strong Tie Components (our amazon affiliate link) for straighter, stronger joints. 

You can shop Amazon for pretty much all of your porch needs (our amazon affiliate link). From porch lights to tables to chairs to curtains to handsome rugs to whimsical wind chimes to wall art and signs. Especially now, convenience of delivery to your door makes sense.

Need Helpful References?

We've chosen the following books to help you in building your own porch (or deck too). Each of the following is our Amazon affiliate link for which we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.

Project Directory for How to Build a Porch

porch enclosure with screen porch windows

Add Porch Windows
Make a fantastic porch enclosure with screen porch windows.

solve a lawn drainage problem

Solve a Lawn Drainage Problem
Here's one possible solution to a lawn drainage problem you may have.

landscape lighting

Install Landscape Lighting
Create instant curb appeal (and an extra dose of safety) with landscape lighting around your porch and steps.

porch column - renovate a porch on an older home

Renovate a Porch on an Older Home
We walk your through an old home porch renovation project - so you can see how it is done.

an assortment of diy porch projects

DIY Porch Projects
From pillows to furniture to painting rugs, stepping stones and landscaping tips, please stop by our many projects!

tricia's new front porch remodel

Tricia's New Front Porch
We love Tricia's new front porch addition and can't wait for you to see it as well.  Talk about boosting curb appeal!

Please Take Time to Listen to This Porch Podcast

Gregory Tatsch of Vintage Woodworks has been making porch parts and helping thousands of people across the country build wonderful porches. Gregory has been featured on HGTV and in other publications. We are proud to have interviewed him on our podcast show! 

In this podcast, Gregory shares his ideas for designing the perfect porch.

In this podcast, Gregory elaborates on design ideas and learn the relationship between length and depth, where to position your steps and porch columns, and much more.  And here, in this podcast, he speaks about exterior house trim.

If building or remodeling a porch is on your to-do list, we recommend you check out our  podcast list. for tips from building experts.  We also have wonderful ideas for decorating, landscaping and accessing your porch. 

How About This Porch Transformation?

Here you can see some more before and after pictures of our son's porch.

Their "before" porch formerly was 4 feet by 42 feet and is now 9 feet by 42 feet.

That extra 5 feet of depth makes all the difference. It's a fantastic investment in their home and their family. The kids love playing on the porch.

Look at the "Before"

narrow front porch before remodelingBefore: This porch was very narrow

A narrow porch like this has little usable space and barely room for chairs. With chairs, you may even need to walk sideways to get around.  This porch will greatly benefit from more depth.

Look at the "After"

newly remodeled front porchAfter: A much wider and more pleasant front porch

Do you see how much more functional and enjoyable it is to have more depth to your porch? You can do so much more with the extra width.  We can envision a small dining table and chairs on this porch for morning coffee or lunches.

The Stairs Were Previously Centered

stairs centered on this porchOriginally the stairs were centered on this porch

By nature of the stairs being centered, the porch was also divided into halves. It's a matter of preference in a way.  You could have two separate areas on the porch with this configuration. 

Now the Stairs Are More Convenient to the Driveway

beautiful new porch with stairs on the side rather than in the middleNow: The stairs are more convenient to the driveway

The homeowners were able to use the original porch columns, balustrade, and beam on this porch remodeling project.

They painted the new porch floor black and also changed the window shutter color from red to blue. Because they have little ones, they made a swinging gate for both ends of the porch to match the balustrade (railings).

By moving the porch stairs from the center to the driveway side, they make access easier as well as free up valuable porch space in the center for tables and chairs.

What Skills Do You Need for Building a Porch?

Do You Have the Needed Skills?

collapsed deck

Poorly built DIY porch and deck structures are one of the leading causes of construction injury and death.

We cannot over emphasize the importance of constructing your porch (or deck) the right way without taking shortcuts to save money.

If you do not have the right skills and complete confidence in your abilities, hire a licensed contractor.

If You Have Basic Carpentry Skills

If you have built back yard decks (to meet code requirements) you probably have sufficient skills to build a porch foundation and add decking materials. It is very important to have a thorough knowledge of your local building codes and get a permit for the construction.

Building and attaching a roof to your home is a different story. If you have never successfully accomplished this construction we recommend you enlist the help of qualified contractors. It may look easy (and sometimes it is); however, proper roof construction is a must.

Screening your porch is a relatively easy and inexpensive DIY project that can be accomplished by anyone with basic carpentry skills. You'll need to either build or purchase screen frames and screen materials.

In either case, we will walk you through the "how to build a porch" process of selecting the right screening material and building a screened porch.

If You Have Intermediate Carpentry Skills

If you possess intermediate skills, have built decks and storage structures with roofs and have a working knowledge of your local building codes you may be able to successfully build a porch.

Again, if not completely confident, or not completely confident in specific areas, use the services of a licensed contractor.

Many gable and most shed roofs are not difficult to construct if you have the right skills and experience. Hip roofs and wrap around roofs require more advanced skills and probably shouldn't be attempted by a novice.

Converting a porch to a three season porch should be within the range of intermediate skill levels dependent on the quality and style of porch you want.

There are plenty of tricks of the trade you can use to minimize costs yet produce a quality and stylish porch.

Be sure to see our building-a-three-season porch section.

If You Have Professional Level Skills

Converting a porch into an actual room addition or 4-season porch, however, may require professional level skills as there may be structural and electrical issues.

However, if you have the skills and are willing to pull permits with your local building codes department, it can be a rewarding project and it will add space to your home. Knowing how to build a porch is priceless!

Before you go ...

get front porch design ideas

Please stop by our front porch designs section to get some awesome ideas before you build your porch.

Thank you for staying with us.