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What Are the Best Tips for DIY Porches?

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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Do-it-yourself projects, or DIY projects, are popular for amateur builders who desire a challenge or simply wish to save on labor, and many individuals choose this approach to make a porch. Location, location, location is a common mantra, so determining the ideal spot for the porch is crucial. An abundance of porch DIY designs and templates are available online, and the individual can choose a guidebook that best matches his or her design preferences. Environmental factors may influence decisions like possible enclosures and living space features. In addition, establishing the proper base and proper stair design is also important.

A porch plan can serve as a step-by-step instruction manual. It will give ideas for properly measuring or cutting and sawing the materials. Advice on the materials themselves may also be included. Many computer software programs are available specifically for DIY porches and similar building tasks. Before any construction can begin on DIY porches, however, the builder may need to obtain a building permit from a regional municipality.

Construction materials need to be sturdy and somewhat weatherproof, as DIY porches will likely be outdoors. A slab of concrete will serve as the most durable foundation. If wood is used in the actual porch or the steps, pressure treated wood would be a suitable option. Damage from the elements can also be prevented by ensuring a proper drainage setup to keep excessive water away from the porch.

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A preexisting deck may work as an ideal porch base. The underside of the flooring will need extra support to account for any furniture, walls, or individuals that will provide weight on the porch. Individuals should also place a covering over the deck in order to combat invading insects.

For porches that can be occupied in any weather or for protection from environmental elements like insects, builders should consider a porch enclosure. Such enclosures will typically include a roof and perhaps a screen. Mesh screens and vinyl screens are two possibilities for an adequate level of protection. Posts and railings may also be important factors in enclosed porches, and posts should be carefully placed at equal intervals.

Stairs are another essential element for many DIY porches. If the porch is low, individuals may opt for an open staircase with no railings or risers. The supportive base of stairs, called stringers, can conveniently be bought pre-cut from lumberyards. Most stairs will require at least two stringers, with wider steps necessitating more. As for the horizontal boards of the stairs, called treads, they typically must not be any less narrow than about 9 inches (about 23 centimeters), and they must be of equal width and length.

In many cases, DIY porches are a true extension of the home. Therefore, home owners should purchase materials that will complement the exterior of the home. If the porch is intended as an outdoor living area, it will need all of the necessary electrical setups to implement features like outdoor cooking areas. Of course, DIY builders should also decide whether the porch will serve as a main introductory feature of the home's front or whether a more laid-back and less fanciful backyard porch is preferred.

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Ocelot60
Post 3

It's a good idea to plan to install an electrical outlet on your DIY porch. This is a convenient feature, especially when it comes to entertaining on your porch or using power tools outside.

You may have to get some help from an electrician for this part of your DIY porch project, but when it is finished and you need access to electricity, you will be glad you did.

Heavanet
Post 2

Building a porch can be a rewarding experience, but you will have better and faster results if you have some help. Going it alone could become frustrating, especially when you run into parts of the job that requires a helping hand.

Talentryto
Post 1

If you are an amateur builder and are planning to take on this project, make sure you plan for enough time to complete it. Building a DIY porch takes more time than you may think, especially if you don't have entire days to devote to the work. You also need to figure in enough time to allow for any problems that may occur, such as a delay in building supply orders or hidden structural issues.

It is also important to choose the best time of year to begin building your porch. In the spring after the threat of snow and frost is over is best time to begin, because you will have plenty of warm months ahead of you to get your project completed. If you start building a porch in late summer or in the fall, you may risk running into bad weather if you don't get the job done in the time frame you had planned.

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