A well thought out porch can dramatically improve the curb appeal of most homes and be functional as well. When planning a porch, consider how deep it will be, sunlight exposure, the width and color of porch columns, flooring and railing.
Prior to renovating our Washington DC rambler, we had no porch, just a little portico. It's sole function was a place to get out of the rain or snow before entering the front door.
When we remodeled the house we extended the roof to create a 26.5 foot long by 7.5 foot deep porch that can easily accommodate seating and a nice table. The floor of the porch was concrete and we installed 2 inch thick Pennsylvania Select Blue Flagstone in random rectangular pattern. This matched our Pennsylvania Select Blue Flagstone walkway.
One of the more important visual aspects of a porch are the width of the porch columns. If the columns are too narrow, they'll take away from the house and look flimsy. If they are too massive, they'll weigh down the house. Much depends on the existing house so take your time and choose wisely.
If you are like us, an architectural sketch may give you a general idea of how things look, but there is nothing like seeing the real thing to get a good idea of how things will look. We also took photos of several porches in the neighborhood to narrow down what we were looking for. We quickly ruled out circular and very narrow columns.
Our contractor delivered several different sizes of columns widths 6 inch, 8 inch and 10 inch. Each was inserted in different configurations on our porch. We also placed several of the columns close together and we also took into consideration the large window on the porch. In the latter we tried to place the columns so that the window was framed.
We looked at each from across the street and at curbside to get an idea of how they would look. Based on that, we chose an 8 inch wide column laid out according to the photo below. The based of the colimn was 10.5 inches with the moldingThe columns were straight and not tapered. Many homes are using a tapered column with a broad base.
The height of our porch above the ground was 3.5 feet. So the building code in our area required a railing. Actually we would have preferred none to create a nice open airy look. We chose a Ivy Welding in Arlington, VA and provided them with a drawing of what we wanted. Ivy is very knowledgeable and were able to meet our needs and install the railing.
We could have selected a colored metal roof over the porch. This would have created more interest from the street. However, we felt that the house was small, the porch columns created sufficient interest and besides a metal roof was not in the budget.
The downside of many porches is that they provide too much shade and can make the interior rooms too dark. We were not too concerned about this since the front of the house gets full sun most of the day. If the front of your house gets a lot of shade, you should consider installing skylights on your porch roof. We actually did this in the rear of our house to let in light through a overhang.