How to Build a Porch: Steps for Building a Front Porch Deck

A front porch can be a graceful addition to a home, giving you a place to enjoy your neighborhood and surroundings in the fresh air. While it serves a similar purpose as a deck, you may be wondering what is the difference between a porch and a deck when it comes to building. In general, building a porch can be a more involved process compared to building a deck.

Different Types of Porch Roof Designs

The most common porch roof is a gable roof. The gable roof is a triangle-shaped roof that projects along a ridge down the center of the enclosure. The sides are sloped at a particular pitch rise over run to shed snow and water. For instance, a 6/12 roof pitch means the roof elevates 6’ over a 12’ span. Gable roofs usually overhang the walls of the enclosure on the sides thus creating the need for soffits and fascia. Gable roofs are familiar forms and blend in well with many house designs. The peak of a porch gable roof can sometimes create problems if it interferes with house windows. A hip roof is a more complicated roof style where all the roof sides slope downwards to the walls. There are no gables and the slope is generally relatively gentle. A square hip roof is shaped like a pyramid. Hip roofs are more difficult to build than gable style roofs because they require a more complicated set of roof trusses. They have the aesthetic advantage of providing a solid, compact appearance for the structure. A shed style porch roof involves a single sloping roof surface that attaches to the house wall on the high end and support posts on the low end. The shed style roof is common for long and narrow front porches. It doesn’t usually make sense to include a shed style roof over a deep porch because the roof line at the house will be too high and it will look out of place.

Engineered & Premade Porch Roof Trusses

If you are building a porch, you may want to consider using engineered roof trusses. These preassembled trusses can be specially designed and ordered for your porch project. To get a quote, you can contact your local lumber yard. They will usually need a plan for the deck or room the roof will be covering. You need to specify the pitch and if you want scissor trusses for a vaulted ceiling or common trusses, and if you need a gable end truss. Roof trusses are generally designed to be installed 16” on center. The advantage is that you will save time in building the roof and can ensure the roof is properly designed. The disadvantage is that trusses are heavy to lift and more expensive than hand framing the rafters yourself. Roof trusses are heavy, large and awkward to carry especially from the tops of ladders. A professional deck crew can save some time and money by installing engineered trusses, but it is hard work. Keep in mind that many house roof trusses are installed with the help of an overhead crane.

How to Install & Build a Porch Roof

A porch roof is essentially composed of layers of specialized materials that are designed to last for many years of natural exposure.  Above the structural trusses or rafters, your roof will be covered in 3/8” or 1/2” tongue and groove plywood. The plywood for the roof comes in 4’x8’ sheets and will hold the roof members together much like decking secures the deck frame. The next layer will be a minimum #15 roofing felt, which can be stapled in place over the plywood to create a water tight barrier for the shingles to cover. Install drip edge flashing to the lower edge of the roof and step flashing at the house wall. 

How to Screen in a Porch, Patio or Deck

A screened-in porch is an excellent place to relax, read a book, do a crossword puzzle, or chat with your soulmate all while keeping pesky insects on the other side of the stunning enclosure. A DIY screened-in porch allows refreshing breezes to flutter over you and shades you from harsh sunlight. You can get the […]

Options for Adding Electric Fixtures To Your Porch

In many ways a porch can function as an outdoor room. If you are going to be spending a lot of time in this space, you will probably appreciate having access to electricity. Many porches have lights, ceiling fans and electrical outlets. Some porches even have speakers installed surrounding the room. You will need to plan for these features before you start building. A licensed electrician will be required to perform the work, but you will need to have a plan for where to run the electrical lines out of view. Some porches run the electrical conduit down the ridge beam of a hand-framed porch. Others use hollow 6×6 structural posts to run electricity from under the deck to the desired locations.

How To Finish Your Porch

Finishing a porch is the process of decorating the interior and exterior shell for the purpose of appearance. The most basic element is how to cover the ceiling and house wall. Installing tongue and groove cedar bead board is a popular look but can be expensive, especially on a large porch. Railings are usually required on porches just like decks and can be installed to the inside or outside of a screen wall. Some porch builders build knee walls in the place of rails and use siding materials and trim to match the house. A variety of attractive screen doors are available. Soffits and fascia are usually selected to match the house, as well. Operable windows are a nice touch and can make the porch more versatile for colder weather, but they can be very expensive. Trim of all kinds can be installed to the inside and outside of the porch. Individual tastes do vary as to what looks nice and what looks over-decorated. A number of excellent products are available for these purposes.

How To Build A Roof Cricket or Saddle

Save In some situations while building a porch roof, you may need to tie the house roof and porch roof together. This will require cutting the house roof back to the bearing wall. You will need to install a gable wall on top of the house wall to support the weight of the ridge beam. Line […]

How To Build a Gazebo

A gazebo is a freestanding, often octagonal-roofed structure. Gazebos can be installed to the top of a deck or set on a concrete slab. You can purchase gazebo kits of various sizes and styles with preassembled wall and roof panels for easy installation. The only real drawback to purchasing a gazebo kit is that they are very expensive and can be damaged when they are delivered. We recommend using continuous 6×6 posts to support the deck and roof structure. In order to do this, you will need to notch out the posts to accept the deck beam and roof header. This will involve notching an angle to allow the splices in the beams to bear over the post. After the deck floor is framed, you can move on to installing the header beams between the posts to support the roof rafters. We recommend using 2-2×10. The next step is to build a hub out of 2×4 pieces to form the center of the gazebo roof.