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When you think of a porch, what comes to mind?
Maybe a creaky front step, a screen door that complains when you open it before snapping shut, or a long afternoon in a comfortable chair, feeling the breeze but not the sun.
Porches are a staple of the classic American home, offering a pleasant way to enjoy your outdoor world without completely leaving your house. They symbolize relaxation, connection with neighbors and friends, and a simpler way to live.
Today’s porch can accomplish all of the above, but evolving trends, designs, and even technological capabilities allow you to love this sacred space in a whole new way.
Let’s start by assuming you don’t have a front porch but are ready for one (if you do have a porch, feel free to scroll down to the tips below). Before we get any further, there’s something essential to remember throughout this whole process:
A porch isn’t an addition to your home, but an extension of your home.
It should reflect your tastes, personality, and decor preferences. There’s no need to have a single chair or two on an otherwise empty surface (unless you’re just really into the spartan look).
With that said, keep these porch building considerations in mind:
Porches are typically elevated structures (if yours isn’t, it’s more likely that it’s really a deck or patio). Because of this, it’s essential that the foundation is up to code and can withstand its burden from above, and also is safely secured below (there are numerous geological factors to consider).
Most often, porches are made from natural wood, ranging from cost-effective fir to more costly, exotic options like Brazilian Ipe. Durable, attractive, synthetic materials also provide a low-maintenance alternative. There are pros and cons to each that you can/should review with your builder.
Stone is a fairly popular alternative, but it adds tremendous weight to the structure which needs to be considered carefully in your construction plan.
Now let’s assume that you have a porch, but maybe it just needs a little TLC to draw out its full potential. Or, maybe a lot of TLC. Either way, here’s a little design inspiration:
Whichever design or construction choices you make, the most important thing is that your porch meets your needs and flows with your home. It’s worth taking the necessary time to ensure that you’re creating a truly functional, beautiful space to enjoy for decades to come.
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