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What Are the Best Tips for Building a Porch?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

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.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

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.

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Discussion Comments


Does anybody have a cedar or teak porch that they have really enjoyed?

I keep thinking either of these would make a great looking porch and would not require as much maintenance. The cost is the biggest thing holding me back.

We have a wooden porch that looks nice, but every year I have to keep it stained so it continues to look that way. Our porch gets a lot of traffic, so this needs to be done in the spring and the fall.

One year, I didn't get it done, and we had to sandblast it and re-stain it. As long as I keep up with the maintenance it looks OK, but keep thinking I would like something that wasn't so much work.


@LisaLou - It sounds like you have a beautiful front porch. Mine isn't very big but I try to make it appealing by having some attractive flower containers.

I have always admired houses that have big wrap around porches. There is something that is so inviting about them. I picture them with rockers scattered about and lots of places to relax and rest for awhile.

When my parents were growing up, they spent a lot of their evenings on the front porch. This is where they went after their evening meal to talk about their day, their plans and just relax. There are a lot of memories that were made on that old wooden porch.


I think every front porch should be large enough for a couple of chairs. We spend a lot of time on our front porch in the warm months.

My porch is big enough that I can fit four chairs and a few flower pots. This is also a covered porch, so you have protection from the rain, sun and wind.

Our front porch is on the east side of the house, so it gets the early morning sun. This is the perfect place to start my day where it is quiet and sunny.

In the hot summer summers, this porch area is still nice because the hot sun is on the other side of the house.

We have spent many relaxing hours sitting on our front porch, visiting, reading and just watching the world go by. This wouldn't be nearly as appealing if there wasn't any room for some chairs to sit in.

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