How to design a house porch

Updated February 21, 2017

A porch should enhance the architectural design of a house, but it should also provide room for sitting or entertaining. Review homes in your neighbourhood to see what types of porches other homeowners are installing. Invest in upscale railing materials and a roof design that harmonises perfectly with the rest of your home. Design a porch that does not look added on. It should look as if it's always been part of the house.

Sketch your house with all windows, doors and overhangs. Design a porch roof line that will fit above one or more windows or a door area. Keep the porch roof pitch in harmony with the house roof. Sketch a hip roof, simple roof sloping downward, or a roof line forming an A-shape that extends outward from the house facade toward the yard area. Draw overhangs on the porch that blend with the house.

Review design books and magazines to see what works well for your type of house. Don't design a porch that overpowers the front or side of your home. Keep the floor space of the porch in porportion with the rest of the house. Decide on railings and porch posts that define the home's architecture. Include large columns, for example, if your home is a Southern colonial design. Sketch porch railings that complement simple straight posts for a ranch-type house.

Plan to build an oversized porch on the back of your house. Add extra square footage in this area, since it will not detract from curb appeal. Sketch the porch to serve as a deck covering or large entertainment space that is partially enclosed, if you desire. Do make sure the roof is pitched sufficiently to shed water. Don't create a porch roof so flat that it tends to hold snow or rain. Design the roof with no less than a 30-degree pitch on every sloping angle.

Invest time in creating a porch floor that can serve as an enclosed area one day. Design the flooring so you could add tile or indoor-outdoor carpet at some time. Envision a possible future enclosure for a sun room or screened area. Plan to use concrete or brick flooring if the porch is not a deck-type wooden porch. Design a wooden floor with pressure-treated lumber that will last for years, if you plan to build a wooden floor.

Plan to install the same type of roofing materials on the porch covering that is installed on your home. Use asphalt shingles in your design, if your house has these shingles. Design a roof, if you like, with cedar shakes or metal roofing if your house is a cottage-type house. Use alternate roofing material in some cases that will add artistic flair to your home. Stay with matching porch and house roofing in most cases, however. Don't create a porch that looks like an afterthought or add-on or it may detract from your home's value.

Things You'll Need

  • Sketch pad and pencil
  • Drawings of house windows, doors, overhangs
  • Design books
  • Remodelling magazines
  • Square footage of home and porch
  • Sketches of posts and railings
  • Flooring materials design
  • Matching shingles or roof materials
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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.