Most porch roofs are simply a roof system attached to a deck frame. A deck is an open-air landing while a porch incorporates a roof. Porches may or may not have windows or screens, depending on the style. Choose a roof style that complements the existing style of your home. The front porch should set the tone for the rest of the home's aesthetic.
A gable roof is a common style for homes as well as porches. Gable roofs form a triangular shape with the point typically running down the centre. Two sides will then slope down from the top of the roof pitch to the edges of the porch running along the centre ridge. Typically, gable roofs overhang the sides of the walls and provide a bit of additional coverage from sun and precipitation. Gable roofs work well for deep porch styles.
For homeowners looking for more visual interest in their porch roof design, a hip roof makes an attractive choice. The hip roof incorporates four sloped sides into its design rather than the more traditional two of the gable roof. Hip roofs exhibit a pyramid shape and for an added design element may be flattened to form a level top with the sides extending down from there. Generally, hip roofs are more complicated to build than gable roofs because the formation of the trusses is more complex.
The shed style is another traditional porch roof. Wrap-around or farmers' porches often follow this simple design, which consists of a single side that slopes down from the house to the front of the porch. Typically, the shed-style roof is slanted although it could also be almost flat. Sloped shed-style roofs work best on narrow porches.
Seek out roof plans online or in books and building magazines, which you can acquire at a hardware store or lumber yard or from the public library. Consider whether you will use a hand-framed roof or engineered porch roof trusses, as these will dictate which plan you implement. The former will require less heavy lifting because you will be working with single pieces of lumber at a time, but it will be more time-consuming. Engineered porch-roof trusses are large and awkward to move but will ensure an accurately designed roof and solid construction. Choose an approach based on your experience and expertise.