Your front porch is the first impression of your home, whether it's when you're welcoming in guests or people driving by. It's a place you can spend relaxing evenings in a rocking chair or spending time with your family. If you want to add a front porch to your home or update your existing porch, you've probably wondered how much it would cost to build. We've done the work for you, so you can have a good idea of how much building the front porch of your dreams will cost.
Building a front porch from scratch can cost anywhere from $3,500 up to well over $20,000 for a 200 square foot porch, with prices per square foot ranging between $20 and $100 per square foot. The large price difference is mainly determined by what materials you choose to build your porch from, the cost of labor, and any aesthetic design choices you choose to add. Of course, the size of the porch you want has a massive impact on overall costs, with simple and small porches costing much less than a full wraparound porch.
Not only can a porch be a great place for you to spend your time, but it can add value to your home and make it more pleasing if you ever decide to sell. We encourage you to continue reading as we go into a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with building a porch. We'll also answer some common questions you may have, and by the end of the article, you should be able to figure out a solid budget for your front porch project.
Building a Front Porch
Depending on the project, building a front porch can be as simple as pouring a concrete slab or as ornate as adding stone columns and fireplaces. Your design choices have a huge impact on the time it takes to complete and the overall costs of building a porch. It may seem like a simple project, but there is more that goes into building a porch than one may expect.
What goes into building a porch?
Even a simple porch has multiple parts that go into it. While you could do a simple slab foundation and call it a day, that isn't where most people stop. Porches have multiple sections that each have their own costs associated with them, namely, the foundation, floor, roof, walls, and accessories.
There are typically two kinds of foundations used for porches, a pier-style, and a slab. The pier style uses columns to hold up the weight of the porch, much like the columns on a pier. The slab style is a concrete slab that the flooring is then put on top of. Pier-style foundations will usually run between $5 and $8 per square foot, while a slab foundation will typically be between $3 and $5 per square foot.
The floor of your porch is built directly on top of your foundation. Here you choose the material you want the floor to be made out of to fit your design choices.
Wood is a popular choice, as are stone and brick. With each of these, the price per square foot depends on the quality and style of your choices. You should expect wood planks to start around $7 per square foot, while bricks will start around $6 per square foot. Going with higher-quality woods, river rocks, or patterns will increase the cost dramatically as you go up in quality.
For more information on materials for your porch floor, check out our article "What Is The Best Material For A Porch Floor? [A Complete Guide]."
Covering your porch in a roof is great if you want a space to sit away from the rain. You typically want to match the roof to your house's architecture, with gable roofs being a good general style choice. You should expect a roof to cost between $14 and $22 per square foot before including any complicated roof designs you may choose.
Most porches will include railings as both a safety feature and a design choice to make the porch look prettier. Material choice for these makes the biggest difference in cost, with any decorative elements such as ornate carvings or metalworking increasing the price. Costs for railing can vary based on the previously described choices but expect to pay between $100 and $700 to add railing to a 200 square foot porch.
You may also consider adding screens or walls onto your porch instead of railings. Screens can keep bugs out of your porch and make it more enjoyable to sit on. PVC screen materials cost around $7.50 per square foot and can help reduce glare as well. If you decide to build a fully enclosed sunroom or Florida room as your porch though, the average cost for the entire space to be completed exceeds $30,000.
Ceilings are optional for most porches, as the roof is ample coverage for rain. If you do want to add a ceiling like inside your home or because it is an enclosed porch, then you'll need to allocate funds for insulation and drywall, as well as anything you want to add like a popcorn ceiling. A simple drywall ceiling can cost as little as $1 to $3 per square foot.
If you have a raised porch, you're going to need steps to get onto it. The height of the steps and the material you choose will have the biggest impact on the cost, with them ranging anywhere from under $100 up to well over $1,500. A simple set of wood steps will be the cheapest option, while stone or concrete will cost more. Adding on railings and any design elements can further increase the cost of your stairs.
Extra design elements you might want to include would be ceiling fans, air conditioning, lighting, or painting. Adding a simple porch swing can run over $200. Each of these increases the cost of building your porch.
In general, an experienced contractor will cost somewhere between $20 and $40 per hour. A good rule of thumb for labor on a porch is to expect to pay around $65 per square foot. While you could do most of the project yourself on simpler builds, it saves you a lot of time and stress to pay someone with experience. If you don't have the experience, it is also a lot safer to do this, especially when electric accessories are involved.
Material choices can make up the bulk of your overall porch cost. Wood can be relatively inexpensive, with pressure-treated planks being cheap, but hardwoods like oak or redwood escalate the cost. Composite materials for decking are a bit more expensive than cheap woods but require less maintenance and don't rot. Remember, higher quality materials being included like river rocks, hardwoods, or carvings will increase your project's overall cost.
Best Way to Break it Down
The best way to figure out a budget for your porch is to break down the project into sections, as we've listed. You can figure out the cost of individual sections and their cost per square foot easier than doing it all at once and get a much clearer idea for your budget. It also allows you to plan better and include the design elements you want the most. Once you have each section figured out, you can add them together for the project's total cost.
Does adding a front porch add value to your home?
A front porch definitely adds value to your home. Not only does it increase the curb appeal of your house, but it also improves the look of the exterior of your home. The added value it can bring to your home in a good market can pay for itself if you decide to sell. You can advertise a good porch as an outdoor living space and can make your home sell quicker as well.
How long does it take to build a porch?
You can expect your porch to take anywhere from three to 16 weeks to build. A lot of factors affect how long it will take to accomplish. Inclement weather, work crew availability, and even your own availability can all influence the length of the project.
The size, style, and design choices for your porch also control the construction time period. A screened-in porch will take longer than a slab porch, and a wood deck can be completed much quicker than a roofed porch with columns just because of the work that goes into it.
Do you need foundations for a porch?
All porches need some kind of foundation. The two most common types are pier-style and slab foundations. Depending on the type of porch you want to build determines your porch's best kind of foundation. We've gone over the costs of each but expect to pay $5 to $8 per square foot for pier-style foundations and $3 to $5 per square foot for a slab foundation.
For a great breakdown on why porches need foundations, check out our article "Does A Porch Need A Foundation?"
Does a porch have to have a roof?
Porches don't have to have roofs. You can absolutely build a porch without a roof, but it will be more exposed to the weather. If you want to be able to sit outside regardless of weather, you'll need a roof and possibly even walls or screens. If you do decide not to include a roof, try to use more durable materials such as pressure-treated wood or composite materials that won't rot due to rain.
What is a good size porch?
A decent-sized front porch will be around 200 square feet. This gives you a 10 by 20 space to go out and sit on. You can build a porch smaller than this, but it will feel cramped if you ever want to spend time outside on it. An average sitting porch is about 12-foot by 12-foot, so 144 square feet.
Are wrap-around porches expensive?
Wrap-around porches are expensive when compared to other porches simply due to their size. A porch like this usually starts at around $20,000, going up to $60,000 and beyond. They follow basically the same cost per square foot prices as any other porch, but the sheer size and increase in square footage make their cost start much higher. Remember, just like any other porch, you can minimize costs with your design decisions or skyrocket the cost with more expensive choices.
How much does it cost to screen in a porch?
It usually costs around $7.50 per square foot for PVC screening material. The actual dimensions of your porch determine the cost to screen it in. Screening three sides of a 12 by 12 porch that's eight feet high would roughly cost $2,160 in screening materials to cover the 288 square feet.
To figure out the cost for yourself, find the length of each side you plan on screening in. Then measure the height of the space you're screening. Multiply the length by the height to find the square footage for each side and add them together. Then multiply that by the cost per square foot of your screening material.
Is a screened-in porch worth the money?
A screened-in porch can easily be worth the money if you plan on spending time out there. It cuts glare to make it easier on your eyes and keeps pesky flying bugs out of your living space. The screening also increases the value of the porch when it comes to home evaluations and can pay for itself if and when you decide to sell your home.
Building a front porch largely depends on the size, style, and materials you choose for the porch. You can expect to need to budget between $3,500 and $20,000, depending on your project. After reading through this article, you should have a good idea of the costs and how to plan for and break down what building front porch costs and involves.