Building your own porch is a great way to gain advanced building techniques and practise. It also helps to increase the value of your home. This project requires builders with carpentry experience, and is not suggested for novices. Those with adequate skills and building experience should however, be able to complete the project without difficulty.
- Concrete anchors
- Plastic anchors
- Concrete mix
- 2×4 and 2×2 wood pieces
- Hand saw
- Tape measure
- Pencil and paper
- Draw a sketch of your porch’s structural design, making notes of relevant dimensions. This will act as a reference as you build the physical structure of the porch.
- Acquire a building permit from your local building authorities before attaching a porch to your house; this may only be required in some areas.
- Consult the building code and adhere to specific requirements. Before starting physical construction, ensure you have a detailed set of plans indicating the location of every joist, ledger board and footing within the guidelines of the building code requirements.
- Dig a hole with a 12” diameter, which goes deeper than the frost line. To create the porch support footing, secure a foundation tube into the hole, packing dirt around it to hold it upright.
- Create a concrete mixture that will form the footing. Get assistance to hold the anchors in place while the concrete mixture is poured into the foundation tubes. Repeat the process for all the footings and wait 24 hours for the concrete to harden and cure.
- After the cement is cured, continue by nailing 2”x10” ledger boards to your house sill, about 4” below the door. Run a pair of ledger boards parallel to the house and attach them to the footings for additional support.
- To frame the porch, attach joist hangers to the ledger boards using galvanised screws. Slide the joists into place.
- The decking you choose to cover the porch joists will affect how it is installed so careful readings of the manufacturer’s instructions are advised. Whether wood, composite or metal decking is used, install them with galvanised fasteners perpendicular to the joists.
- Commercially available prefabricated railings are a great option for porch railings. A good kit will include installation instructions and meet code requirements.
- Before adding furniture to your completed porch, paint it or add a stain job. If a glossy finish wood was used, a stain is a more feasible option than paint. Allow the paint or stain enough time to dry by staying away from the porch until it is dried completely.
Tips and warnings
- Even with experience in carpentry, building a porch is a daunting task to undergo without assistance.
- Most porches will need additional finish work–such as the attachment of a roof–to be completed before the porch can be fully integrated with the house.
- If you do not know how to create a detailed drawing of a porch plan, design footing, or complete finish work, enlist the assistance of a professional. Licensed contractors are able to build a porch that meets both code requirements and design expectations.
- It is sometimes necessary and always advised to wear protective gear for eyes, nose, mouth and hands when doing carpentry work and, or painting.