How to Design a Porch Roof

Updated February 21, 2017

A well-crafted porch roof can add a lot of kerbside appeal to a home. A porch gives a finishing touch to almost any structure, and it offers rain and snow protection. The design warrants careful attention to detail, however. The porch must look unified with the building design, not simply added on later. The roof slope and overhangs should blend harmoniously with the house. Special touches, such as columns or high-quality light fixtures, will add a lot to the design as well.

Use a sketch pad to draw porch roof lines. Make sure the angles match the house roof angles. Use a sloping pitch for the porch roof that is identical to the roof slope above it. Create a 30-degree pitch for the porch roof, for example, if the house roof above it angles down at a 30-degree pitch. Measure roof overhangs of the house, so that porch overhangs are the same width.

Define the roof and overhangs on graph paper. Draw the porch size and amenities in detail. Sketch it from several angles to ensure a good outcome. Draw porch columns that are ready-made, for example, or draw brick posts you will construct. Try various options for columns to ensure the design is upscale and complements the house in every respect.

Design the construction of the roof framework. Familiarise yourself with the skeleton framework of a porch roof, so your plan will include every component. Install roof rafters on 16-inch centres, for example. Draw all sheathing, flashing and roof covering in the plans. Use asphalt shingles, metal roofing or cedar shakes as possible options.

Include guttering and downspouts. Draw these in detail, so they can be added at the proper time. Enclose soffit areas, for example, and plan to paint the woodwork before you attach guttering and downspouts. Install downspouts to be as unobtrusive as possible. Include splash blocks to catch the rain, and put them behind bushes, for example, to hide them from curb view.

Research materials and light fixtures that will hold up well. Buy pressure-treated lumber or cedar, for example. Plan to purchase high-quality light fixtures that will look appropriate for many years. Talk with an electrician about routing the electrical wiring to the porch roof through exterior house walls or attic areas. Plan to enclose the underside of all porch-roof rafters to give the porch a finished look from the underside.

Things You'll Need

  • Sketch pad
  • Measuring tape
  • Graph paper
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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.