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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 much curb appeal as well.

Porch construction is fairly straight forward but it can also be quite complex. 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. Our porch building guides walk you through the process and we even help you assess your skills.

installing rafters on new front porch construction

How to Build a Porch - Do You Need a Professional?

We recommend consulting with - or hiring - a professional contractor for your porch project.

If you are actively wanting to hire a contractor to assist you, then visit here to help you find a local professional.

Video: A Porch Built in a Minute

Our son's porch on his former home was torn down and rebuilt. Here's a video that Dave put together showing you the process from beginning to end - in just over a minute!

Watch our popular video

Browse Our Porch Building Topics

Our "How to Build a Porch" guides below will show you the basic steps and give you important factors to consider when building along with tips and ideas to make it easier.

We've grouped them in the order of a typical porch construction project. Of course, these may vary based on your specific building requirements.

Very 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 mention it. But please take all necessary precautions according to manufacturers instructions along with a good dose of common sense.

Because each construction project is different, the information provided on our 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.

Porch Building Guides from Foundations to Porch Roofing

pouring concrete piers for front porch foundation
Construct Solid Porch Foundations

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

installing front porch flooring boards
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!

porch joist and framing for remodeling
Porch Flooring Construction Tutorial

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

installing ledger flashing under siding
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!

tiled decking materials on front porch
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.

installing rim boards on 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.

construction workers installing rafters on new front porch
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 front porch roof on home
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.

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It is easier to run cable before the joists are covered or the porch ceiling is installed. Plan for receptacles, ceiling lights and fans, wall sconce lights, and even running conduit under your porch for yard lighting.

hanging light over bistro table on front porch
Know Your Porch Electrical Options

Wire your porch to make it not only inviting, but also functional for electrical needs you will have: holiday lights, lamps, vacuum, music ...

triple porch columns columns on front porch
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

chippendale front porch railings on front porch
Porch Railings and Kneewall Options

From railing photo galleries to design options, select the right style and material before your build as it may affect your overall porch design.

decorative porch stair hand rails
Porch Hand Rails

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

framer building deck steps
How to Build Porch Steps

See how porch steps are constructed, how to lay out the stringers, and calculate the number of...

front porch ceiling with bead board panels
Install Your Front Porch Ceiling

How one couple installed bead board paneling on their front porch - good ideas for finishing off your porch.

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colorful Victorian front porch
Select the Right Porch Paint

Using the right porch paint helps protect your investment and adds lovely color ...

custom designed front porch skirting with maple leaf design
Get Skirting Options for Your Porch or Deck

Learn more about your porch skirting options, how to install it properly ...

black vinyl front porch skirting
Custom Vinyl Lattice Panels

Use these no-maintenance vinyl lattice panels for porch skirting. They won't rot or decay like...

front porch with colorful exterior house trim
Add Exterior House Trim

Select and install exterior trim to your porch for added curb appeal and...

farmhouse with wheelchair ramp
Build a Wheelchair Ramp

Find information for building wheel chair ramps for your porch or deck...

orange front door on front porch
Explore Exterior Front Doors

Find styles and options for your porch's front door....

framers building a front porch
Don't Forget Your Building Permits

Building permits protect both your property and your friends and family. Don't neglect this important step.

building contractors constructing porch
Choose the Right Contractor

We ask a professional contractor what you need to know when hiring someone else to do the work. Protect yourself...

building contractors constructing front porch
Ensure Porch Safety

Learn what you need to do to make your porch safe for family and friends....

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Get the Materials You Need

Simpson Strong Tie Adjustable Post Base - Amazon affiliate
We like Simpson Strong Tie components for straighter, stronger joints.

You can shop Amazon for many of your porch needs (our 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.

How to Build a Porch - Project Directory

screen porch windows on new back porch
Add Porch Windows

Check out how easy it is to build a screen porch enclosure.

lawn drainage problem near porch with downspout
Solve a Lawn Drainage Problem

Here's a possible solution to a lawn drainage problem...

landscape lights along walkway to porch
Install Landscape Lighting

Create curb appeal with landscape lighting around your porch and steps.

rotting porch column
Renovate a Porch on an Older Home

We walk your through an old home renovation project - see how it is done.

Try these DIY projects for your porch
DIY Porch Projects

From pillows to furniture to painting rugs, stepping stones and landscaping tips

country style open front porch
Tricia's New Front Porch

See Tricia's new front porch addition and the curb appeal it produced!

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new front porch construction with porch railings installed

Why Not Order a Helpful Book Right Now...

If you purchase an item through affiliate links within our content, we will earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. See our disclosure policy.

We've chosen the following books to help you in building your own porch (or deck too).

Ultimate Guide: Porches by Steve Cory - (Amazon affiliate link for which we may receive a commission)

The JLC Guide to Decks and Porches: Best Practices for Outdoor Spaces - (Amazon affiliate link for which we may receive a commission)

Porches and Sunrooms: Planning and Remodeling Ideas - (Amazon affiliate link for which we may receive a commission)

Please Take Some Time to Listen to This Porch Podcast

If building or remodeling a porch is on your to-do list, we recommend you listen to our audio program and get tips from building experts.

Vintage Woodworks logo 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 and in Part I, Gregory shares his tips and ideas for designing and building the perfect porch.

In Part II, Gregory elaborates on design ideas and learn the relationship between length and depth, where to position your steps and porch columns, and much more.

Take a look at our entire podcast directory where you'll find lots of ideas for designing, decorating, building, landscaping, and accessing your porch.

How About This Front 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 porch before new porch remodeling project
Before: This porch was extremely narrow
Hardly room for chairs, a narrow porch like this has little useable space. This porch will greatly benefit from more depth.

Look at the After

Newly remodeled front porch
Now look: 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?

The Stairs Were Previously Centered

front view of narrow front porch
Before: The stairs were centered on their front porch
And by nature of the stairs being centered, the porch was also divided into halves. There's plenty of room for a table and chairs or anything else the homeowners would enjoy.

Now the Stairs Are More Convenient to the Driveway

side view of remodeled front porch
Now Look: The stairs were moved to the driveway side for much easier access
Homeowners were able to use the original porch columns, balustrade, and beam on this porch remodeling project.

They painted the 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.
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So What Skills Do You Need for Building a Porch?

Do You Have the Needed Skills?

collapsed deck from poor construction 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.

No matter your skill level, if you plan to do any of the work yourself, please be sure you're in compliance with your local building codes and ensure the proper permits are pulled. Do it right every time.

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.

front porch as screened enclosure 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 thoroughly familiar with local building codes, it can be a rewarding project and it will add space to your home. Knowing how to build a porch is priceless!
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Consider These Factors When Building a Porch

When thinking about how to build your porch, we want you to be aware there may be challenges. Porch projects vary greatly in size and scope, yet no matter the size, keep in mind these important factors:
  • Keep the water away from your porch. We can't stress this point enough. Porches that are subject to water damage, meaning not properly waterproofed, can incur structural damage over time.
  • Take plenty of time up front to design your porch well: the design, orientation, size and placement. Consider how you will use it now and in the future. A great porch will not only boost your home's curb appeal but also meet your lifestyle needs.
  • Like any room in your house, realize that a porch needs to be maintained. That means not only cleaning but may also involve painting (if applicable) or repairing components as they age. Our porch faces the west, so the hot sun and bright light takes its toll. Think about the materials on your porch: wood, concrete, brick, metals. Each has its own cost and effort associated with maintenance.
  • Footings are basic to your porch's safety and security. Depending on where you live, the weather and the soil conditions, you may need to go deeper into the ground for stable soil. Where we live, rocks are a major drawback when it comes to digging.
  • Like most projects, building your porch may take longer than originally expected. During the course of a project, things may come up that delay or surprise you. So be flexible as best as you can.
  • Along with delays or surprises, costs may add up more quickly than anticipated. In order to keep within your budget, you may need to adjust your plans.
  • Know your zoning regulations, setback requirements and local building codes. Realize that they vary greatly from place to place. Not being compliant can result in fines, adjustments you need to make or tearing down and starting over.
We want you to have a great experience during your porch build, whether you hire a contractor or do it yourself, so be aware of these factors before you start.

Get Our Front Porch Ideas Generator eBook

Ebook on Front Porch Ideas

Are you planning to build or remodel your front porch this year?

Before you get too far, please check out our 140-page eBook of before and after porch design ideas.

Dave and I don't want you to say "Oh, I wish I would have known that" --- after your porch is built. No fun.

Our eBook is instantly downloadable and features 10 homes that undergo amazing face lifts with a new porch.

Before you spend a lot, invest just $9.97 risk free in our picture-rich eBook and get some wonderful ideas for how to build your porch - before you break ground.

We hope you got plenty of essential tips for how to build a porch. Please stop by the following sections below, too.

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We make no guarantees of accuracy or completeness of information on our site or any links to other websites contained here.

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