How to Build a Porch

How to Build a Porch

The sight of a porch may bring to mind lazy summer afternoons spent catching up with loved ones or making new memories with friends. Or, it could put you in the mood for some quiet time to yourself, complete with a porch swing, a cup of coffee, and a good book. A porch is a transitional zone that serves as an additional living space that can also be used for ornamental purposes. It has one foot on the inside and the other foot on the outside.

Adding or building a porch for your house is not only a good investment financially, but it also improves its street appearance. These blueprints will walk you through the process of constructing a fundamental open porch at ground level for the front or back of your house. Guardrails are not required, but they do add a beautiful finishing touch. If you give yourself plenty of time to finish the job and have a friend or family member who can assist you occasionally, constructing this porch will not be too difficult for you.

Obtain a Building Permit

Before building a porch, you may need to get a building permit. In many building codes, a porch is called a deck if it is an outside structure with a floor that is attached to the house. Check with your local department of permits and be ready to give details about the project you want to do. The department that gives out permits can tell you how deep foundation footers need to be in your area. Since you will be digging, you should also call your local utility company to find out where important electrical, gas, and water lines are so you don’t hit them.

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Choose a Porch Style

The best porch style is the one that matches the style of your house. This porch design is simple and leaves room for later additions that make the porch match the style of the house. For example, a Queen Anne-style home can have a porch with ornamental details and bright colours that are typical of the Queen Anne style.

If you decide to add a roof to the porch later, you can do so in a few different ways. You can put up a short roof over the porch that doesn’t need any vertical supports. You could also choose to cover the whole porch. If so, you will need to put in new vertical posts to hold up the end of the roof.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Rented electric auger or manual post hole digger
  • Laser and bubble level
  • Chalk snap line
  • Ratchet set
  • Circular saw
  • Electric mitre saw (optional)
  • Cordless drill with bits and drivers
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Eye and hearing protection
  • Pocket jig tool (optional)

Materials

  • 2 bags Gravel
  • Ready mix concrete
  • Concrete form tubes
  • 3 6-inch by 6-inch Metal column bases
  • 4-inch long 1/2-inch galvanized lag screws
  • 4 Double joist hangers for 2-by-10 boards
  • 18 Single joist hangers for 2-by-10 boards
  • 11 12-feet long Pressure-treated 2-by-10 boards
  • 1 8-foot long Pressure-treated 6-by-6 boards
  • 11 12-foot long Pressure-treated 2-by-6 wood decking boards
  • 6d stainless steel galvanized nails
  • Exterior acrylic-latex paint (optional)
  • Sealant or oil (optional)
  • Paint tray/liner (optional)
  • Paint roller frame and cover (optional)
  • Roller extension pole (optional)
  • Railing

Instructions

Pour the Concrete Footers:

  1. Based on the information you got from the department that gives out permits about the footer depth, dig three holes at that depth.
  2. All of the holes must be at least 6 feet from the house.
  3. The space between the two end holes should be 12 feet.
  4. The third hole should be put in the exact middle.
  5. Spread the gravel from the two bags between the holes to make a base that is about 6 inches deep.
  6. Fill the holes with the form tubes.
  7. Mix the concrete, and then pour it.
  8. Put the metal column bases in each form tube at the top.

Attach Posts to Footers:

  1. Mark off three parts on the 6-by-6-inch piece of wood that are the same height as the porch you want to build. The porch joists will rest on these pieces, which will be attached to the column bases.
  2. Subtract 9 1/4 inches from each section to account for the actual height of the 2-by-10 pieces of wood that will make up the porch joist base, plus 1 1/2 inches to account for the porch floor.
  3. Lastly, you should think about the drop from the door threshold to the porch surface, which is between 1 1/2 and 3 inches.
  4. Join the three post pieces to the bases of the footers.

Attach the Ledger Board:

  1. The ledger board goes across the porch and connects it to the house.
  2. If you need to, use a utility knife to help you take off the siding in this section.
  3. Use the laser level to make a straight line.
  4. Using the ratchet wrench and the 1/2-inch lag screws, screw the ledger board to the wall at the height you want.
  5. At each end of the ledger board, put two double joist hangers.

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Create the Porch Outer Perimeter:

  1. To make the rim joist, double up and attach two 12-foot-long pieces of 2-by-10 lumber to the metal footer bases.
  2. Attach the last two double joist hangers to the rim joist at each end.
  3. Cut in half two 2-by-10-inch boards.
  4. Run the four 6-foot boards, which are now doubled up, from the double joist hangers on the ledger board to the double hangers on the rim joist next to them.

Attach the Porch Joists:

  1. Attach the single joist hangers to the ledger board and the parallel 2-by-10 board every 16 inches.
  2. Six of the 2-by-10 boards should be cut to be 6 feet long.
  3. Put them in the hangers for the single joists.
  4. Fasteners are drilled into the holes.

Install the Porch Flooring:

  1. Because this porch is 12 feet wide, you can use pressure-treated boards that are 12 feet long and look good for the flooring. You can lay them all the way across the width without stopping.
  2. Face-nail the boards to the joists with a hammer.
  3. If you use a rare hardwood like ipe for the porch floor, these boards are held together from the bottom with special clips.
  4. Leave a space of 1/8 inch between each board.

Finish the Porch Flooring:
Even though the porch isn’t done yet, it’s easier to finish the floor at this point because there aren’t any railings in the way.

If you use pressure-treated 2-by-6 boards for your floor, you should use exterior acrylic-latex paint in a solid color. For natural-looking woods like redwood, cedar, ipe, and others, you might want to use a clear or lightly tinted deck sealant or penetrating oil.

Add the Railing (Optional):
The code doesn’t always require a railing. For example, it depends on how high your porch is. A railing is needed if your porch is 30 inches above the ground. Keep in mind that balusters are the vertical posts and balustrades are the horizontal rail pieces.

  1. Prime your railing based on what it is made of.
  2. Put up the railings (posts).
  3. They must be firmly attached to the support structure below the floorboards, not to the floorboards themselves.
  4. For a porch with a concrete base, this means drilling a hole for the post in the concrete before securing it.
  5. How far apart are the balustrades? (horizontal pieces).
  6. Screws or brackets are used to hold the balustrades to the posts or columns.
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