A porch is a closed-in outdoor extension of your home, typically with a supported roof, located on the front, side, or rear of your house. If you're looking to add one onto your property, a big question to consider is how long it will take to build. We've done the first step for you and researched to find out!
The average time from start to finish of construction is four weeks. Large and complex porches can take anywhere between four weeks and 10 weeks. Porch slabs already put into place could take one week or less to renovate into a new space. To prepare for your build, estimate four to five weeks' additional time meeting with contractors, making a plan, and requesting permits.
While it seems like a long time, the project will move very quickly, and you'll be on your porch with a glass of lemonade in no time. Not only is there the construction time involved, but the availability of materials, the tools required for it, and whether you'd like to DIY or hire a contractor. Keep reading to learn more about the ins and outs of building a porch!
Several factors go into the creation of a porch. Building one yourself can come with a lot of learning curves, while hiring someone else means you're on their schedule. One of the best things about building something by hand is the satisfaction you'll get every time you look at it.
DIY Vs. Professional contractors
Building a porch on your own absolutely requires some knowledge of carpentry and the operation of power tools. It is also physically difficult to do this on your own; make sure to enlist the help of others who can follow directions. Doing it yourself will save you on labor costs but may cost you more in build time depending on how much time you have.
Professional contractors will work with you to draw up a layout, pick materials, and set up a deadline for completions. Hiring a reputable company takes the stress of getting permits off your shoulders, and you won't need to buy tools you might never use again.
However, with hired help, your availability can affect timely completion. If you aren't home to help make last-minute decisions or let the contractors in to get to the breaker, it'll cause a setback. Experienced contractors can even have the skills to set up electrical wiring too for the addition of fans and lights.
Communication is a huge factor in any build, whether doing it yourself with friends or working with a hired contractor. By aligning schedules and being available to make last-minute changes during business hours can save you a day or two. Also, communication can help prevent work injuries since everyone is on the same page.
As you consider the size of your porch, take a look at your home. Where would you like it to go? Is it going to be a single usage area or a multiusage area with a lot of foot traffic? Reviewing your property line map will give you an idea of which areas to focus on.
A single usage porch can be placed on the front of your home and adorned with comfortable sitting chairs and a small side table. These types of porches are good for smaller homes that don't intend to have a lot of people over at once. Plus, who wouldn't want to sit in the shade and enjoy some quiet downtime?
On the other hand, a multiuse porch will be a big hit for large gatherings and is essentially another living space. In this sort of space, you'll be able to put a dining table, multiple chairs or loveseats, and rugs without worrying about the elements touching them. Porches of this size can be used for dinner gatherings, birthday parties, and holidays.
The complexity of design
The complexity of your porch's design can be anything from size to style. Are you looking for a wrap-around porch? Do you have a historical home and need to stay within particular parameters? Especially important to consider, do you want your porch to be an all-season room. You can screen in a porch and enjoy it during warmer temperatures but might not want to use it during the winter months.
Depending on where you'd like to build the porch, you might have odd ends to work around, leading to more custom-cut pieces of flooring. There is also a style element to consider. You could have a porch built in a gazebo shape or even closed in on the bottom with a deck on top for two-story homes.
Availability of materials and Tools
At the moment, lumber is extremely expensive. The demand is surpassing the supply, and shipping costs are making it harder for wholesale shops to buy them. Brick is the least expensive and readily available for purchase. Roofing costs will depend on how big the porch is, but supplies are readily available.
While tools are easier to find in stores, you'll be needing a large array of them. Below is a general list of the typical tools used in porch construction:
- Tape Measure
- Utility/Tool Belt
- Utility Knife
- Chalk Line
- Personal Safety Eye, Head, and Ear Protection
- Circular Saw
- Miter Saw
- Reciprocating Saw
- Table Saw
- Cordless Drill
- Drill Bit Set
- Masons Line
- Socket Set
- Speed Square
- Tin Snips
It will also help to have a truck and some sort of transportation that can get close to the worksite. You'll quickly wear yourself out walking back and forth carrying supplies.
The one thing no builder can control is the weather. You cannot complete this project whether rain or shine, rather, it depends on clear, dry weather. Either DIY or professionally, construction will have to hold off for the day due to rain, and then one more day to make sure everything has dried.
While windy days may not be ideal, they are still doable. Mild snowy days can lessen the hours spent building, but if the snow gets too thick, you'll have to wait for it to become manageable. Warmer days are going to be the most productive days; remember to stay hydrated!
Is it hard to build a porch?
Without prior building knowledge, it is difficult to construct a porch due to the many steps involved. The measurements will have to be correct and any supporting beams double-checked. Some things look sturdy to the eye but could loosen with too much weight.
Professional contractors that have been in the industry for years will be able to build a porch with no sweat. Hiring a contractor to do the job means hiring their employees, too, giving you multiple sets of hands to finish the project faster. A lot of the time, you can walk with the supervisor on-site to learn more about how it's being built.
Does adding a porch increase home value?
On average, you can expect to receive an 80% to 84% return value for the addition of a porch. Not only that, but you'll be increasing your home's curb appeal, which can factor into the asking price. Porch additions that are screened or glassed-in mean extra square footage in an outdoor setting. Having this element in your home sets it apart from others and can make it more desirable.
How big should a porch be?
The length of the porch tends to run as long as the front of the house, with space allowing. Depth-wise, it is common practice to make a porch at least six to eight feet. This width will give you enough room to fit multiple people and furniture. Of course, you can always build it smaller or larger based on how many people you'd like to fit or how much you can afford.
Does a porch need a roof?
In short, yes, your porch will need a roof; otherwise, it would be considered a deck or patio. Having a roof sets a porch apart from the other two structures and gives you more living space versus an outdoor expansion. A deck is a raised structure, and a patio sits flush against the home. The addition of the porch roof also keeps your furniture and plants safe.
How much does it cost to build a porch?
A popular sized porch is 12x12 feet, measuring similarity to a one-car garage. For this size, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 to $12,000, but the latter price tag can come from material costs alone. A 16x20 foot porch runs all the way up to $20,000.
Factoring in the costs of labor and tools, you'll end up breaking even by hiring a contractor instead of buying all new tools. One last thing for the construction aspect of this journey, clean up. Contractors come with debris clean-up, but you'll need to hire your own if you DIY. Once the porch is done, now the second cost factor comes into play: the finishing touches. This can include lighting, fans, furniture, and rugs.
Plug-in lamps or lights will save you the trouble of having an electrition install them, but you may want to keep one on the backburner for fan installations. Next, you have paint. Are you going to keep the natural look of the lumber, or are you looking to paint them in your unique style? Depending on how big the porch is, it could cost a pretty penny.
Then you have all the furnishings. Chairs and loveseats are just the beginning. You'll also want pillows, cushions, blankets, rugs, and tables. A great option if you'd like to shave off a few dollars is going thrifting! You can find great and gently used porch furniture for a much smaller price.
Building a porch is not for the faint of heart. You'll need some form of carpentry skills if you'd like to DIY or take your time interviewing a contractor you can trust. Porches take anywhere between four and 10 weeks, not including all the planning and decisions necessary before the build. Small porches can cost as little as $6,000 and go up to $20,000 for the extravagance to build.