Porticos are decorative entryway elements that typically have pillars as well as a peaked roof; they are commonly seen in early colonial-style architecture, reflecting the heavy influence of European design. The basic design can be expanded upon to create custom porticos, but the same principles remain, in that it needs to cover the entryway to the house while also providing decorative appeal.
The deck is the foundation layer of any entryway, portico or otherwise. Choose from wood decking or a concrete pad as the initial layer. Concrete provides a more stable base and can be finished with a range of materials, such as flagstone, brick or tile. lt can also be left as is, stamped or etched. If you opt for wood, a structural engineer must be consulted to ensure that your joist spacing, size and underlying support are strong enough to handle the load of the pillars and the roof above the portico. Cover wood decks in natural wood, or opt for contemporary composite materials that look like wood.
Columns and Railings
The columns are support as well as decoration. They hold up the roof above while at the same time working into the overall design of the deck to provide aesthetic appeal. The railing, on the other hand, is not for support, is purely for decoration, and ties into the columns. Columns are another component which need to be selected via the guidance of a structural engineer who understands the weight of the roof and your chosen materials to ensure safety. Build them out of block, brick, stone, wood or concrete. Columns can be situated just at the corners or periodically spaced across the length and depth of the portico, depending on structural requirements and design desires.
The front part of the portico is always exposed, from the peak of the roof down the front to the ceiling of the entryway. This area, typically a triangle, may have the beams within exposed, such as with a log cabin style. However, some styles opt for the closed-in look, in which case the front part needs to be covered with siding to protect the structure as well as provide aesthetic appeal. Included in the range of sidings available to choose from are vinyl, aluminum or wood planks. This is also the perfect area to add any additional detail work, such as hanging a plaque or sign with the name of the family or a logo that is centered above the entry.
Tie the roofing material into the existing home’s roof, or install roofing of an entirely different type to set the portico apart from the rest of the home. The type of roofing material you choose affects the weight of the roof, which is why a structural engineer is needed to design the supports and deck which hold up the roof. Asphalt shingles are one option, but if you want a more old-fashioned look, go with clay tiles, wood shingles or natural stone such as slate.
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