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Create New Old-Fashioned Porch

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Porches are larger these days, often spanning the full length of the front of the house. Depending on the style of home, many production builders also are making front porches standard and building them wider than a decade ago — 8 to 10 feet wide instead of 4 to 6 feet. In both remodels and new construction, full lengths are nice for homes facing a street, and so are wider porches to accommodate tables, chairs or the old-fashioned porch swing. The wraparound porches with screened-in portions are popular in rural settings and on farmhouse-style homes. Ensuring continuity with the architectural style of the rest of the home is a key design consideration. A porch should be consistent in detail and character with the rest of the house.

Old-fashioned porch design ideas

Color. Design elements emphasize color. There are a lot of multicolor palettes today. You can have one siding or cladding color, another trim color and an accent color on window sashes.

Bolder columns. Architectural columns often are on a larger scale for design or aesthetic purposes while enclosing a smaller structural column (typically 4×4 or 6×6 posts), as long as the columns are scaled appropriately to the home. Columns can be round, squared or tapered and sit on the deck of the porch or a pier.

Durable materials. A well-designed porch typically will encompass the same exterior material as the rest of the home, such as stucco or brick, or synthetics such as fiber cement siding products.

Flooring. In addition to traditional pine or cedar floors on front porches, an increasingly popular choice is ipe, a Brazilian hardwood that is an incredibly strong wood, resistant to insects, rot and mold. Ipe is moderately priced. Installation can be more expensive than other wood floors, because it’s more time-consuming given the very dense wood, which requires pre-drilling.

Porches should be pitched to drain away from the home. Floor venting to prevent moisture buildup and the many accompanying problems that result is recommended. It depends on the base of the porch, whether it’s on piers or a continuous long low brick wall. In any case, we vent from underneath the porch, at the base or perimeter walls, to the sides or front so you allow air movement to keep the joist space ventilated and dry.

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  1. You should be kind and add one!