How to Build a Covered Porch


A covered porch provides an elegant passage to the outdoors. When Mother Nature soaks you with her blessed rain on a hot summer day, you can make haste and seek the refuge of the covered porch without fretting over mud-streaked floors. This article shows you how to construct a covered porch, where you will spend more than one pleasurable evening sipping lemonade and watching the sun set peacefully beyond the horizon. Most importantly, this functional project is not very difficult. While gathering the tools and materials may pose a chore, the end result of an unwinding evening watching the world drift by is hard to beat.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure-treated lumber 4---4-foot post stock
  • Decking board
  • Cement
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Footing clamps
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Foundation tubes
  • Tar paper
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Exterior-grade plywood
  • Salt-treated lumber
  • Metal angle iron
  • Electric screwdriver
  • Concrete nails and screws
  • Light fixture and wiring
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill with bits
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk line
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Gloves
  • Stakes
  • Pencil/paper
  • Consider the location where you will add your covered porch. Begin by putting in stakes to mark the corners of the porch. Likely, the porch attaches to your home. Therefore, you should inquire about the proper building permits. Check with your local municipal building department.

  • Find the ledger board on the door that serves as entry into the home. The ledger board will function as the primary point of reference for the covered porch. Locate a point three inches beneath the door's tread and add an inch for lumber. Mark this point with a pencil. Nail a 2---10-inch board to the sill of the doorway.

  • Dig a footing to anchor the porch. Dig footing holes about a foot wide and approximately 44 inches deep. Combine your cement and sand, at a rate of three to one, then pour in water while mixing, until firm. Place the foundation tubes approximately 3 feet into the holes you dug, and then use the shovel to transfer the cement into the foundation tubes. Then situate the post anchors in the footing, making sure they line with the ledger board.

  • Begin arranging your decking and joists. You should do this section by section, in particular if you are constructing a large covered porch. Set out the exterior porch boards, then 16 inches from the center, attach the joist hangers. Slide the joists into place and nail them into the ground, while working section by section.

  • Install the decking by cutting and laying decking first. Insert a nail between the boards to ascertain spacing. When it comes to the railing, you should consult with your building inspector as codes vary by locality. You can also check with home improvement stores for ready-made railings. In any case, you will begin by nailing down railing support posts to the deck and then install the railings.

  • Take a measurement of the covered porch to ascertain the size of roof required. Cut your support posts, sized eight by eight inches. You will want to use salt-treated lumber or purchase premade posts from a home improvement store.

  • Sketch with a pencil and paper the framework that will affix to the posts and support the roof.

  • Bolt the support beams for the roof onto the home's framework. Nuts and bolts are essential, as nails and screws will not stand up to punishment from Mother Nature. You will also need assistance from a few more people to put up the support beams and put the framework into position in the next step.

  • Lay the framework for the covered porch into place, making sure you bolt it down to the support beams and to the frame of the home.

  • Nail down exterior-grade plywood; lay your tar paper and then your shingles for the roofing. The roofing on your porch should match precisely the roofing for the rest of your home. Use soffit and gutters for the overhang that match the rest of the home.

  • Run your wiring and install porch lights where you want them. It is best to install the wiring through the ceiling, keeping it out of sight. Ensure the wiring and lights are suitable for outdoors and can withstand the elements.

  • Paint or stain your new covered porch to match the rest of your home.

Tips & Warnings

  • DIY does not always equate to a smaller budget. Shop around, check with other contractors and find out their rates, time frame to completion and what you will get in return for your money. Worst-case scenario, you will learn some new ideas you might not have thought of.
  • If you are unsure about creating a detailed drawing of a covered porch plan, or any of the steps required to build a covered porch, seek the assistance of a licensed contractor. They can help you build a covered porch that stands up to code requirements and Mother Nature.
  • You should always wear protective equipment such as safety glasses, a mask to cover your nose and mouth, and gloves when doing any type of construction work, painting or staining.

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  • Photo Credit front porch image by Steve Lovegrove from
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