How to Cover a Back Porch

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A back porch can serve as a space to dine, entertain friends and relax. Creating a covered porch will make the space usable on more days. A roof area will provide shelter for pets. It can make some storage space on the porch more feasible, as well. The materials you use to create a roof should harmonize with the overall look of your home. You do not want the covered porch to devalue your home, so plan the design in detail.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper and pencil
  • Measuring tools
  • Salt-treated lumber
  • Tar paper
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Exterior-grade plywood
  • Metal angle iron
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Concrete nails and screws
  • Light fixture and wiring
  • Measure the back porch to see how large to build the roof area. Design support posts at least eight inches by eight inches. Use good quality lumber that is salt-treated. Or, buy pre-made posts. Draw the framework that will attach to the posts and support the eventual roof. Design a porch cover that is as open as possible. Don’t over-design railings and framework. But also don’t skimp on how much wooden support structure you will include. Flimsy framework or too little structure will make the porch look cheap.

  • Bolt the roof support beams to the framework of your house. Use metal nuts and bolts. Don’t just nail or screw the heavy lumber to your house. A strong wind can cause it to collapse. Temporarily use metal adjustable poles if necessary to hold up roofing framework for the porch cover. Enlist at least two additional workers besides yourself to put the framework into place.

  • Install exterior-grade plywood and roofing on the porch roof. Make sure the roofing matches roofing on other parts of the home. Create an overhang with soffiting and guttering that align with what’s already in place along that side of the house. You don’t want the porch cover to look like an afterthought. Make it match all other construction and look as original as possible.

  • Stain or paint the newly installed porch cover. Install exterior crown molding or trim to cover gaps in the wood or add a high-end look. Take photos of each step and invite opinions from friends and expert builders as you complete the project.

  • Add wiring and a light fixtures to the covered area. Run the wiring through a ceiling area that is hidden from the porch sitting area. Make sure all wiring and light fixtures are designed for outdoor exposure to the elements.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add strength to the covered porch by installing a wooden storage area at one end. Use this support wall to store grilling equipment or lawn chairs. Build cabinet doors that are hinged or doors that slide to this support wall. Get a building permit, if your city requires it. Make sure you follow the restrictions and building codes for your area.
  • Avoid adding a metal or plastic cover to a patio area. Strong winds will usually warp these materials or destroy them in a short period of time. If you plan to stay in a home for some time, invest in good building materials to design a porch cover you will be proud of. Redoing any type of construction is expensive. It’s better to design it right the first time.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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