Sometimes you get to the end of the summer and, upon reflection, discover that you spent almost all your time in cramped, indoor spaces.
Why did you do this?
Life is about more than work, more than scrolling through social media at the end of the day. You love spending time with your favorite people, you love the calming beauty of nature…so what happened?
Well, like most people, you have a job, so you can’t exactly go hang out at the lake every day. Your house is cramped and hot in the summertime, but outside in the direct sun it’s even hotter, and you’re tired of getting eaten alive by bugs. And last time you hosted a barbeque, you got rained out!
You’d love to make a change, and you dream of adding a covered porch to your house. But can you afford it? And how would you even get started?
Here at DG Builders, we believe that the process of adding a covered porch to your home does not need to be stressful. This article will provide all the steps you need to consider regarding the project.
Ready to learn everything you need to know about adding a covered porch to your home?
Let’s get started!
Five Reasons to Build a Covered Porch
There are many reasons why you might want to build a covered porch, but here are some of the main advantages:
After a long day of work, there is no better place to relax than a nice covered porch.
Sink into your comfortable porch furniture with a cool drink at your elbow, and feel the breeze on your face as you unwind from your stressful day.
A covered porch allows you to take the comfort of your living room outdoors. You’ll get the best of both worlds: the beauty of nature and the convenience of having your bathroom, kitchen, and bookshelf mere steps away.
Covered porches are an ideal place to host guests in the summer.
Offering shelter from the harshest elements while still letting in light, beauty, and fresh air, your friends will enjoy good food and good company as they sit around on your covered porch and gab.
Protection From the Elements
A covered porch provides shade from harsh sunlight and shelter from sudden rainstorms. Unlike your lawn, the surface of your porch remains sturdy and dry at all times and can be cleaned with ease when necessary.
Some porches, such as screened-in porches, also protect from bugs and debris.
Protect Your Packages
These days, we’re much more likely to get packages delivered directly to our door than to venture out to a brick-and-mortar store to buy what we need.
While this saves time and effort, your package can be damaged if you aren’t at home when it’s delivered.
Furthermore, if you only have a stoop in front of your door, it won’t provide any protection from the prying eyes of would-be package thieves.
A covered porch can help with these problems, protecting your package from sudden rainstorms and giving them a bit of a shield from the curious gazes of people passing by.
Increased Living Space
Adding a porch is a way to increase the living space of your home without having to do any major renovations.
Make it an extension of your kitchen by adding cooking equipment such as a grill, and relegate all large messy cooking projects to your easy-to-clean porch space.
Your porch can become a dining or living room area for hosting friends, and on hot nights you can even sleep on a covered porch, particularly if it’s screened in.
Finally, a porch is a great place to get children out of the house if you need some space, are having a confidential conversation, or are busy cooking and cleaning in preparation for an important event.
Adds Value to the House
One of the reasons to consider adding a covered porch to your home is this: it will add value to your home.
Although there is a cost associated with building a porch, you will likely recoup around 84% of your costs via the resulting increase in home value. If conditions are ideal, you could recoup 100% of the costs, or more!
In fact, one of the top things prospective home buyers are looking for is outdoor living space, such as patios or decks.
Also, let’s be real—a covered porch just makes your whole home look more charming and beautiful in general.
Choosing Your Porch Type:
Covered Deck or Screened-in Porch?
There are two basic types of covered porches: the covered deck and the screened-in porch. Each will offer something different to cater to your unique needs.
First, the most basic type of porch is the covered deck.
Because of the open walls, this option will make you feel like you are more outdoors than in.
This type of covered porch is aesthetically pleasing. It can be constructed on any side of the house, but a covered deck on the front of the house, in particular, will increase a home’s curb appeal.
Although they are more susceptible to dirt, covered decks can be easily hosed down and are ideal for messy projects. They also tend to be cheaper to build than screened-in porches.
On the other hand, screened-in porches offer a more indoors-like feel, free of rain, bugs, debris, and other inconveniences. Still, the fresh wind blows through the screens providing advantages of the outdoors.
Comfort-wise, screened-in porches are the ideal merging of indoor and outdoor spaces.
7 Tips for Choosing a Good Covered Porch Contractor
Once you have a basic idea of what type of porch you want, it’s crucial to get in touch with a good contractor.
That may seem daunting, but don’t worry! We have compiled seven tips for finding the right contractor for you.
Know What You Want
Before you begin looking for a contractor, you should figure out your priorities.
What is your budget? If you’re trying to save money, you may consider taking a gamble on a less experienced contractor. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do a poor job. Even great contractors have to start somewhere, and they will typically charge less than more experienced contractors will.
However, if you are most concerned about the quality of the work, you’ll want to find an established contractor with lots of experience and good referrals. You’ll get the quality of work you want, but you can expect to have higher prices.
It’s also good to have a basic idea of the type of porch you want, so you can make sure to get a contractor who specializes in the type of work you want done.
2. Create a List
Now it’s time to create a list of potential contractors.
Where do you even begin?
A great place to start is by asking your friends and family.
- Have any of them recently added a porch to their home or undertaken a similar construction project?
- Do they know anyone who has?
- Who did they hire?
- Would they recommend the contractor they used? Why or why not?
You can also look online. This will result in many suggestions, so you’ll need to narrow it down somewhat.
The first thing to take note of is how professional their website looks. Of course, you’re hiring a contractor, not a website designer, but you want to hire a company that is professional and pays attention to detail.
Then, note how transparent and knowledgeable they seem on their web page. Do they make it clear what they do and what they specialize in? Do they seem to know what they’re talking about?
Finally, make sure the contractor’s website has clear contact information. If they check all these boxes and specialize in covered porches, add them to the list!
3. Ask the right questions
Now that you have a list, it’s time to call them up and ask them questions.
Are they up to the task? Are they willing to work within your budget? How much time do they estimate the job will take?
Although you’ll have different questions depending on the unique parameters of your project, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions in hand when making these calls.
If you know anyone who has done a similar project, solicit their advice as you make this list. What questions do they wish they would have asked their contractor?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions that might seem like “dumb” questions. A good contractor will take all your questions seriously and respond in a helpful, informative manner. If your contractor brushes off your questions, makes you feel stupid, or gives answers you don’t understand, they probably don’t have the open communication skills you’re looking for.
4. Get a quote and compare prices
As you make your calls, get a quote from each contractor so that you can compare them to each other.
Two things to watch out for:
Be wary of prices that are significantly lower than the competition. This should be a warning sign that their work may be sub-standard.
Also, watch out for contractors who offer a lot of suggestions about ways you could upgrade your project. Some suggestions will be helpful since they likely know much more about the process than you do. However, they may be exploiting your ignorance in order to jack up your bill.
Finally, ask them to visit your home so they can furnish a more accurate estimate. Meeting in person will also help you figure out if they’re easy to work with.
Once you’ve received quotes from each contractor and met with them in person, you can start narrowing your list of potential candidates and move on to the next step.”
5. Ask for references and credentials
It’s always a good idea to read Google reviews of your contractor and talk to anyone you know who has worked with them. But you should also consider asking potential contractors for a list of references.
Call up the references and ask specific questions.
- What project did they hire the contractor for?
- Did the contractor live up to expectations?
- Did the quality of the work match the price?
- What was their communication like?
It’s also a good idea to ask to see your contractor’s credentials. Are they properly licensed? Can they show you proof of insurance?
6. Ask about schedule
By this time, you should have an idea of who you want to hire.
But when making your final choice, it’s important to think about scheduling. Do you have a tight window of time to complete your covered porch project? How open is your contractor’s schedule? Can they complete your project within your preferred timeline?
Of course, the more flexible you are, the more options you will have. It may be worth it to wait a little longer in order to hire the best contractor.
Once you’ve completed this process, you should know who you want to hire. And now, it’s time for the last step:
7. Ask for a contract in writing
Make sure to get an actual written contract, not just a “handshake” agreement. Ask your contractor to put all aspects of the project into writing.
If any tension arises in the process, having a paper contract like this will prove invaluable.
Not sure what your contract should look like? Here is a helpful template.
Congrats, you’ve hired a contractor! You’re one step closer to the charming and relaxing covered porch of your dreams.
Finalizing the Details
Now that you have a contractor in place, it’s time to finalize the details.
Some of these details are things you’ll decide on your own as you brainstorm about your perfect porch, and some are details you’ll want to talk through with your contractor to understand what options you have and what costs are associated with each.
Where should you place your porch?
The placement of your porch matters.
First, you’ll want to think about beauty vs. functionality. A front porch looks lovely, but when it comes to functionality, a different side of your house may be more suited to a covered porch.
When I was young, my parents added a wrap-around porch to our house. Today, we use the south side of the porch constantly, but the east side of the porch rarely gets used.
There are several factors at play.
First, the south-facing porch offers shelter from the north wind. Meanwhile, the east-facing porch is not only windy, but it’s in shadow most of the day. It gets a bit of sun in the mornings, but even that is shaded by the trees on the east lawn. Since even summer days can be a bit chilly where I come from, we always opt to hang out on the south-facing end of the porch.
When choosing the location of your porch, think about how it will make your house look.
But don’t stop there!
Also think about where you’re most likely to want to hang out. This will vary depending on the climate you live in, the direction the wind tends to blow, and which side of your house has the best view.
It’s also essential to think about the existing infrastructure of your house. Maybe you already have a deck, and you just want to cover it. Where are your doors located? If you want to build in a place where you currently have no exterior doors, that could cause more construction than you’re willing to take on.
Choosing the right materials
When it comes to building a porch, you will have many options regarding materials.
Do you want a traditional wooden deck, or do you want to use the more eco-friendly and durable composite wood decking?
Have you considered adding unique touches such as masonry features and stonework?
When choosing materials, do you prioritize cost, low maintenance, or looks?
A good contractor can help you make the best decisions, choosing the options that are right for you.
Deciding on a layout
In figuring out the layout for your covered porch, you’ll want to keep several things in mind:
First, what do you want to use the space for? Relaxing? Hosting? Do you want to use your new covered porch as a cooking space?
Then, think about where everything will fit. If you want to eat on your covered porch, do you have enough space for a table? If a table is set up, will there be enough room for people to squeeze by?
Do you have space for adequate seating in places where conversation can flow naturally? You can move most porch seating around to suit your convenience, but some seating is built-in and needs to be planned ahead of time. Do you want a porch swing, for instance?
You should also think about cooking spaces. Being able to cook outdoors not only gets you out of the hot kitchen but also allows you to socialize with your guests while putting the finishing touches on the meal.
Good news! These days, if you want to cook on your covered porch, you have many beautiful options.
You could go the classic route and equip your porch with a grill. But there’s so much more you can do with your space, including adding a sink, cabinets, and refrigeration.
Congrats! You’ve decided on what you want, and your contractors are building you the porch of your dreams.
While waiting for them to complete the project, you can start thinking about the final touches.
For instance, do you want to increase security by adding a porch camera?
What about plants? What kinds thrive in your climate? What kinds do well on a shaded porch? What kinds do you think are pretty? Now is an excellent time to visit your local plant nurseries and start asking questions.
Also, it’s time to start shopping for furniture. Visit furniture stores in your area to get an idea of what you want. Get some measurements to see what will fit best on your porch space. Sit on it to make sure it’s comfortable. Do you want to go with a specific color scheme on your porch?
What about storage? Are there things such as garden tools, blankets for warmer weather, or grilling supplies that you want to store on your porch?
If so, you have multiple options. You can ask your contractors to create built-in storage space, or you can buy free-standing storage cabinets. Alternatively, you can buy seating that contains storage space beneath the seat.
Can’t you just picture it?
Your new porch, shaded from the sun, cooled with the slightest hint of a breeze.
Your family sprawled in comfortable chairs, reading exciting books from the library. Your uncle, visiting from out of state, gleefully grilling. A tall glass of tea sits at your elbow while your aunt tells you all about your cousin’s new girlfriend.
Ready to get started?
Here at DG Builders, we are experts at building both screened-in and covered porches, and we offer many fantastic outdoor cooking options as well.
We are ready to build you the covered porch of your dreams.
We also offer other home services like:
We can’t wait to hear from you.