Designing and Building a Covered Back Porch
LESLIE: Ken in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KEN: So I’ve got a house that I want to put a back porch on but I want to have a covered back porch on it.
KEN: And I’m looking at a back porch that’s going to be about 40-foot long and about 12-foot deep. And basically, the deck part of it, I don’t have a problem with that but I don’t feel comfortable doing the roof part and tying that into the rest of my roof.
KEN: And I guess my questions kind of revolve around – if I go ahead and build the deck myself, do I need to go ahead and put in 4×4 or 6×6 beams that are going to support the roof? Or can I just build the deck and when the guy comes to do the roof, will he just put beams on top of the porch and build it on the existing structure? Or what’s the best way to go about doing that, I guess?
TOM: The best way to do this is to have a design that incorporates both the deck and the porch-roof structure above it, because what you would do is you would have columns that basically went from grade up, supported the deck and all the way up and supported the girder that will hold the roof.
TOM: So I would invest some time into getting a design complete that is going to address this whole thing. Alright? Then you frame the whole thing first …
KEN: OK. So really just go do that ahead of time.
TOM: Yeah, I know what you’re saying, because you’re comfortable doing the deck; you feel like you have the skill set to do that. You’re asking, “Can you do it in steps?” You can. That’s what most people do because they decide to put the roof on as an afterthought. But if you do have this vision of doing it all, I would definitely build it all at the same time. It’s going to come out a lot better and it’s going to look like it was always supposed to be that way, as opposed to something that was an afterthought.
KEN: OK, OK. And then let me just follow up on that. What is your take – if I’m building a deck of that size, is it really worth it to go with a composite material?
TOM: Well, it depends. I mean how do you feel about maintenance? You know, the composite material is going to give you a lot of longevity and it’s come a long way and there’s a lot of options. And I think it’s definitely something to consider.
KEN: In general, it’s about twice the price, right?
TOM: Yeah, it’s more expensive but there’s no staining, there’s no sealing, there’s no cracked boards. It looks – 10 years down the line, it looks just as good as the day you put it down.
KEN: OK, OK. Alright. Well, I think that’s the answer to what I was looking for, then.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Ken. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.