A porch can be a great addition to a house. The cost to build a porch depends on what type of porch you choose, its size, and other features. Local professionals can help you design and execute the best porch for you. Expect a porch to cost an average of $23 to $132 per square foot.
If you want to add some extra outdoor entertainment and lounge space to your home, you may want to consider adding a porch to your home. Not only will it add value to your property, but adding a porch could also provide some much-needed elbow room to your property.
However, taking on a porch project is no joke. The process and cost depend on what kind of porch you are going for and what’s possible for your house. Keep reading to learn what it takes to build a porch.
What does it take to build a porch?
Porches are a great way to invest in your home and add value, but adding one entails more than just building a deck. To do it right, you should follow building codes and hire professionals.
Building a typical porch takes up to four weeks to complete, excluding planning and permitting. From start to finish, here is the general process of building a porch.
1. Design your porch
Decide on the location of your porch, how you want it to look, and what elements you want it to have. Later on, we’ll discuss some of the design elements, types of porches, and add-ons you can choose from.
Remember to design with a general budget in mind. You can always add various elements to your porch space later, but the most important initial step is to design a solid foundation you can build from.
Draft a plan for your porch. Check your local building and safety department for their design and submittal requirements. Hire a licensed professional engineer or registered architect to make sure the plans meet these requirements.
3. Get permits
You will likely need to obtain a building permit to build your porch. Submit your plans to your local municipality for approval. Do your best to ensure that the porch adheres to the building codes and that you submit the required details about the project. Keep in mind the additional weight of snow loads on porch roofs in northern climates.
4. Pour the foundation
Construct a foundation per the requirements of your building department. Some require a slab foundation, while others require deep footings. The three main types are pier blocks (pre-cast concrete blocks), poured piers (reinforce existing support with concrete), and poured concrete footings.
The foundation is one of the most crucial parts of building a safe and legal porch. Work with professionals to make sure that it’s properly designed and executed.
5. Begin construction
Now that you have a solid foundation in place, you can begin constructing your porch. Unless you have construction experience, we highly recommend hiring a professional for this project.
- Attach the ledger board. The ledger board is what will connect the porch to the existing structure of your home. This is the first element of your porch to be attached.
- Build the porch perimeter. Start constructing the porch by installing the outer framework with beams. The perimeter of the porch will guide the rest of the construction.
- Connect joists. Joists make up the majority of your porch’s support system. Secure these in place after setting the perimeter.
- Lay and finish flooring. The flooring is the final major part to complete the porch deck. Treat the wood and finish it so that it is ready and safe to walk on. Paint or stain the flooring based on your aesthetic preferences.
6. Build add-ons
After the porch deck is complete, begin constructing any additional features. Additions can include a roof, railing, screens, lighting, and more. Depending on the add-ons, this can increase the cost and construction timeline of your porch.
What to consider when adding a porch
Building a porch is an exciting project, but there are some logistics you must work out before construction can start. Here are some elements to consider when adding a porch to your home.
Location is probably the first element you thought of when the idea to build a porch came to mind. It’s one of the most important decisions to make. The location of your porch depends on feasibility and preference. Consider the usable space around your house to determine what can fit where.
Consider your porch goals and aspirations. What do you want to use your porch for? How many visitors do you want the porch to accommodate? What other structures, amenities, or furniture do you plan on putting on the porch?
Make sure the porch is large enough to fit your desired elements while also leaving enough walking space. Remember to also consider your budget when determining your project’s size. Unsurprisingly, the size of a porch is a determining factor in its cost.
A porch foundation is necessary for a sturdy and code-compliant porch. Porches typically require either slab-on-grade (SOG) or pier-and-beam support foundations. Sometimes building codes will allow either option, but depending on your location, you may have to choose one or the other. Check to see what your local code says. In some cases, you may need to hire a geotechnical engineer to assess your soil and determine the necessary type of foundation.
Both types of foundations have their advantages. SOG foundations are cheaper because they require less earthwork. Pier-and-beam foundations give a porch that classic raised look. Raised foundations have better protection from flooding and also provide additional storage space. However, they tend to cost more.
This is the fun part for most people. When designing a porch, it’s important to think about both aesthetics and functionality. Both have equal importance to the final product. Design elements include the following:
- Columns or posts
- Paint or stain
- Electrical capacity
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)
We hate to ruin the fun, but keep in mind that every detail adds to the overall cost. Prioritize design elements with the most bang for their buck.
Wood, concrete, and composite material are the most common materials used to build porches. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages. Wood is one of the most popular porch materials. People seek out wood for its authentic and natural look. It tends to be expensive and requires regular maintenance.
Concrete is durable, weather-resistant, and low-cost. However, it’s difficult to modify and often less aesthetically pleasing. Composite materials offer the aesthetic benefits of wood and the weather resistance of concrete. This still requires maintenance over time.
When you think of a porch, you might think of an open deck made for warm weather. You may not have considered that porch enclosures can make these spaces enjoyable during all seasons. Even if you live somewhere where it’s pleasant to be outside at all times of year (we see you California), an enclosed porch can be beautiful and cozy. Enclosing your porch will add cost depending on the type of structure, but it may be worth it.
There are many options when it comes to enclosing a porch. These are a few common ways you can enclose your porch:
- Floor-to-ceiling windows (sometimes called a Florida room or sunroom)
- Structural walls
- Screened-in enclosure
- Roof (gable roof, hip roof, or shed roof)
Type of porch
This may be the most important part of designing your porch. It’s also the decision that will most affect the cost. There are several types of porches, all with individual benefits. Choosing the best type of roof for your porch comes down to your space, building code, design preferences, and budget.
Front porches are named for their location. They attach to the front section of the house, often facing the street. Adding a covered front porch can dramatically change the look of a house and improve its curb appeal. Front porches are subject to stricter code requirements and higher costs.
Back porches are like front porches, but a bit more casual. They attach to the back of a house and tend to be slightly bigger than front porches. While they don’t add to the curb appeal of a house, a great back porch can add value to your home.
A wraparound porch — you guessed it — wraps around all or part of a house. This type of porch tends to be more expensive, but it makes a huge impact. They are common for homes situated on larger plots of land as they tend to make homes look bigger.
A farmer’s porch is probably exactly what you’re imagining. Farmer’s porches can be similar to wraparound porches. They may wrap around the sides of a home, but they don’t have to. They tend to be grander, with wide wooden decks, tall porch columns, and classic railing.
A covered porch is exactly what it sounds like. It has some type of porch roof covering but is usually open unless otherwise enclosed. Porch builders often choose between a shed roof, a hip roof, and a gable roof. Consider roofing material costs when deciding on a covered porch roof.
Screens are a common way to enclose a porch. It’s less expensive than installing walls or windows but offers many protections. A screened porch blocks out some of the elements like wind, rain, and insects, while still allowing you to enjoy being outside.
How much do porches cost?
The cost of a porch largely depends on the porch style, size, and location. Often, the cost of a porch is estimated by the square foot. The general costs of a porch include materials and labor. Keep in mind that costs may vary based on your geographic location.
Costs of adding a porch to a house
The table below includes estimates of the average base costs of building common types of porches. The following estimates are based upon data from HomeAdvisor. Note the square footage assumption for the overall costs.
|Porch Type||Cost per square foot||Overall cost|
|Front porch||$23 – $110||$4,600 – $22,000 (200 SF)|
|Back porch||$23 – $110||$4,600 – $22,000 (200 SF)|
|Wraparound porch||$23 – $100||$9,350 – $39,900 (400 SF)|
|Farmer’s porch||$33 – $217||$7,900 – $52,000 (240 SF)|
|Covered porch||$23 – $110||$4,600 – $22,000 (200 SF)|
|Screened-in porch||Additional $5 – $7||Additional $1,000 – $1,400 (200 SF)|
|Average porch||$28 – $132||$6,100 – $29,200|
Porch add-on costs
There are hundreds of add-ons you can choose for your porch. Some can add significant costs to the project. Here are a few porch add-ons to consider.
- Floor-to-ceiling windows. These are a great way to enclose a porch, making it into a Florida room or sunroom. This can cost an average of $700 to $1,600 per linear foot.
- Electricity. If you want to be able to plug in electronics on your new porch, you may need to hire an electrician. On average, the cost to install an outdoor electrical outlet is $215.
- Outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen can elevate your porch to a whole new level. However, it adds $5,520 to $22,150 to your cost. In addition, consider the cost of increasing the size of your porch to fit the kitchen.
- Lighting and ceiling fans. Porch lighting and fans can cost $60 to $1,200 per fixture to install. You may find they are a necessary addition.
- Painting and staining. These are not always included in original estimates. If that’s the case for you, average costs for professional painting and staining range from $600 to $1,500.
Upgrading an existing porch
Do you already have a porch that could use some repairs and upgrades? These costs depend on the extent of your upgrades. Any additions such as lighting, screening, or more deck space will cost you the same as if building a new porch.
Refinishing a deck costs an average of $3 to $6.80 per square foot. However, the costs of repairing a deck range average from $790 to more than $3,000, depending on the damage.
How to finance a porch project
So, you’ve decided that the enjoyment and potential return on your investment of adding a porch to your home are worth it. Now, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to pay for it.
If you’ve lived on your current property for several years and made timely mortgage payments, you may have built up a decent amount of equity in your home. Fortunately, you can tap into that equity through a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
Though both options offer low interest rates, one may be better for you depending on your project. If you need a lump sum at the start of your project, a home equity loan may be best for you. However, if you aren’t sure how long construction will take, or you think you may add some additional features, a HELOC could be the right choice. Since HELOCs are more similar to credit cards, you can pull as much money as you need to fund your porch construction.
If you don’t have enough equity built up in your home, you can always use a credit card to pay for your porch project. However, be careful when using credit cards; unless you can pay off the entire balance immediately, you may incur hefty interest rates.
That being said, you may be able to skirt around this issue with 0% APR credit cards. As long as you can pay off your outstanding balance before the promotional period ends, you won’t have to make any interest payments on your bill. Take a look at some of your options below to see whether this could be a good financing choice for you.
Let’s say you only recently bought your home, so you can’t turn to your equity for financing. Maybe you also don’t like paying for projects this big with a credit card. What are your other options?
If the above choices aren’t for you, you may want to take out a personal loan. Though personal loans don’t have interest rates as low as home equity loans or HELOCs, these rates are better than those you’ll get from a credit card. Compare your loan terms from the lenders below by adding your credit score to the box below. The current loan terms displayed are for borrowers with a 690 credit score.
Professional vs. DIY porches
Unless you’re well equipped with the proper tools and skills needed to build a porch, we suggest hiring a professional. Professional general contractors may save you time and money in the long run. Depending on the scope of your project, they can help hire subcontractors like electricians, roofers, and others to get the job done.
Do porches add value to homes?
Well-executed porches do add value to homes. A beautiful front porch can add curb appeal, and a back porch will appeal to future potential buyers who love entertaining and being outside.
How much does it cost to buy a porch?
Porch costs range from $4,600 to $52,000 to build a porch. A lot depends on the size of the porch. Expect a porch to cost an average of $23 to $132 per square foot. Unfortunately, buying a porch isn’t as simple as ordering it and having it delivered already constructed. The price factors in materials and labor costs to build a porch onto your property.
- If you want to add a porch to your house, consider its location, size, foundation, design, materials, and possible enclosure of it. These elements will impact the price, final look, and functionality of your porch.
- Common types of porches include a wraparound porch, front porch, back porch, screened-in porch, and farmer’s porch.
- We typically estimate the cost to build a porch in price per square foot. The exact price will vary depending on your location and the elements of your porch, but the average cost is between $23 and $132 per square foot.
- Work with professionals to design a porch that meets local building code requirements, your desires, and your budget.
View Article Sources
- Coping With Construction — Colorado Department of Transportation
- Decks — Loudoun County Government
- How Much Does a Patio Cost? Best Ways to Finance — SuperMoney
- Return on Investment of a Patio Installation — SuperMoney
- How to Tap Into Your Home Equity Without Getting Into Debt — SuperMoney
- How To Get Equity Out Of Your Home — SuperMoney
- The Best Shared Equity Alternatives to a Home Equity Loan | August 2022 — SuperMoney
- How Much Does It Cost to Lease a Solar Power System? — SuperMoney
- Best HELOC Lenders | August 2022 — SuperMoney
- 2021 Mortgage Industry Study — SuperMoney