A porch is a structure that extends from the front of a building, unlike a deck, which protrudes from the back of a building. The process of building a porch can be difficult or fairly easy, depending on the complexity of the structure and the design of the house. Before any materials are purchased, it is important for the builder to have a plan in mind for building the porch. Drawing up a detailed plan with a list of necessary materials will help prevent setbacks when building a porch, and it will give the homeowner an idea of what the finished structure will look like.
Some porches are very small and simple, while others can extend across the entire front of the home; wraparound porches go even further, turning a corner and running the length of the side or sides of the house. The specific design will need to be decided upon before building a porch, as this will have an impact on the size, usefulness, cost, and necessary labor for installing the structure. Different homes will call for different porch structures, and the best ones fit the overall aesthetic and functionality of the home and yard. The builder will need to figure out the property boundaries as well, as structures cannot be built within a certain distance from these boundaries.
One of the most important considerations when building a porch is the materials to be used for the project. A porch can be made of wood, brick, stone, or even concrete, and the best material will depend on the desired aesthetic, the climate, the price the homeowner is willing to pay for the structure, and the desired functionality of the porch. Wood is very commonly used when building a porch because it is easy to work with and can be generally inexpensive, but it will require more maintenance than other materials such as brick.
Hardware such as screws or nails should be made from galvanized steel or other metals that are strong but also resistant to rusting and water damage. The porch will only be as good as its hardware, since the porch can fail if the screws or nails fail. Hinges, brackets, and fixtures should also be made from materials that are designed to withstand constant exposure to the elements, and woods should be pressure treated. Some wood do not need pressure treatment, however; cedar and teak, for example, are naturally resistant to water damage, but these woods can be somewhat expensive.