Porch Roof Construction and
Porch Roof Designs

Mary and I have experience with porch roof construction. We once built a roof on a shed in the middle of winter for a friend when it was sub-freezing temperatures. In Omaha, Nebraska no less.



We've also roofed a home in New Hampshire. After we finished, a friend looked at us and said, "Never attempt to do this alone or with someone"!

Constructing a porch roof can be a great DIY project if the porch roof design is not too complex and you have some experience.

However, building a roof may require an expert depending on the style, degree of difficulty, and complexity of the design.

We hope our information will allow you to not only become knowledgeable about roof construction, but also help you determine your skill level should you opt to do it yourself.

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Before you begin any project, please see our disclaimer below.

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Before You Begin

Before tackling a porch roof construction project there are several factors you'll want to consider for your overall porch roof plan.
  • Your porch roof pitch should maintain the same pitch (also known as rise and run) as the other roof lines on your home, or as a minimum, the pitch of the roof directly above the porch roof. You run the risk of detracting from the architectural style of your home if you don't do this. See our link to calculating your pitch above.
  • How long is the roof overhang on your home? It's probably 14 to 17 inches; you will want to match that for your porch overhang.
  • What electrical systems need to be included? Now is the time to plan for your ceiling lights, outdoor fans, switches, and yes, even receptacles for your holiday lights! We'll offer some tips on planning for these features. See our electrical teaser below.
  • Plan for porch swings or other heavier objects you may want to hang from your porch ceiling. You may need to "beef up" your rafters in order to carry the extra weight.
  • What roofing material will you use? Going with asphalt shingles or opting for an aluminum or copper roof?
  • Cutting and fitting the rafters, probably the trickiest part of roof framing, can be intimidating until you get the hang of it (no pun intended).
  • Know your local building codes. Check with your local building codes department to see if you need a permit and to determine the specific requirements for your area.

Basic Roof Construction Considerations

Take a few minutes and watch this roof construction video. It outlines some basic considerations you need to know before you begin planning your porch or deck roof.

Determine Your Porch Roof Design

In porch roof construction, the shape of a roof helps to define your home's architectural style while the roof materials define its character. In porch roof construction that's important. Here's a quick guide to the most common porch roof designs.

Craftsmen porch with gable roof Gable Roofs: Have two sloping surfaces from the ridge (usually in the center, joining at the side walls. The pitch of these roofs is usually steep.

These are typically used for Cape Cods and Colonials. Gable roofs are simple and fast to construct and offer more room inside the roof space.

Hipped porch roof Hipped Roofs: are sloped from each wall and do not have the gable ends. To a large extent they are self- bracing with opposite ends pushing inwards, so they are strong in relation to wind forces.

The level eaves make it easy to fit gutters all around the roof. The eaves can be made quite wide and they provide shade can increase thermal efficiency and energy savings can be made.

Mansard Roof Design Gambrel Roofs: Often found in French colonial and Ranch styles, gambrel roofs have two slopes to each side, the lower slope being much steeper.

Shed porch roof Shed Roofs: Shed roofs often appear as a flat roof from the street and often appear to be one half of a gamble roof.

A shed roof has only one slope and is typically the most prevalent porch roof construction design.

It normally sits on a beam that has a different height to give it the required slope. Shed roofs are easy and fast to build, don't need extensive flashings and have no ridges, hips, or valleys to contend with.

Metal Roof Panels Metal Roof Panels: Not exactly a roof design, metal roof panels are very popular, are energy efficient, and last far longer than a typical asphalt shingled roof.

See our links above to discover our entire metal porch roof and porch roof design sections.

Porch Roof Electrical Considerations

Many homeowners neglect to consider their electrical needs when undertaking a porch roof construction project. With a little planning you can avoid having to create work-arounds or in some cases, not being able to have the fixtures you'd like or in the locations that would better suit your needs.

Don't need ceiling lights or outdoor fans? Perhaps, but what will you want in the future? Running wire during the construction phase is a lot less expensive than trying to do it later.
  • Determine what you'd like to have, i.e., ceiling lights, a fan or two, a chandelier over a bistro table, mood lighting, or even motion sensor lighting on the ends or your porch.
  • Next, determine the number of receptacles you might like to have. Sound silly for a roof? What about those holiday lights you put up every year and run extension cords all over the place. How convenient would it be to have exterior receptacles placed strategically to alleviate those cords?
  • Then figure out where you'd like the switches located in order to operate those lights. Put them all in one location? It is less expensive but having to walk across a large porch to turn on specific lights in the dark is inconvenient. Three-way switches allow you to operate the same lights from two different locations.
  • Lastly, locate your sources of electrical power. Can you extend an existing circuit or do you have to run new cable from the circuit breaker box? We highly recommend you contact a local electrical contractor to help you determine your electrical needs and to do the electrical work.
See our porch electrical systems guide for more information regarding your electrical system and its capabilities.

Need Help with Your Porch Project?

Get free estimates from local contractors.

Disclaimer: This is not a "How-To" Web site. The purpose of this site is to give our visitors great "ideas" for their porches. The information contained herein is general in nature, no two projects nor any two porches are the same.

If you chose to follow any of the steps, approaches or methods shown on this site you must follow them at your own risk. Home improvements, repairs, remodeling and construction are inherently risky, even dangerous.

We strive to highlight and expose the risks for our readers, but we cannot anticipate all possibilities. If you are not absolutely sure of your abilities, we recommend you find a licensed or certified professional.

Porch roof construction is dangerous work. You are usually working with heavy lumber with power tools above your head or are working from ladders and scaffolding. Exercise extreme caution.


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