Now that Summer has officially arrived, things are beginning to heat up. This is the time of year when Archadeck of Central SC receives a lot of questions about porches. For homeowners wanting to enjoy the outdoors while staying cool and dry, a porch is a natural choice. With this in mind, we decided to post some of the most frequently asked porch questions, along with our answers. We are also providing photos of some of our completed porch projects to help guide you along the way.
What is the best size porch to build?
When it comes to outdoor living, size does matter. A good all-around size porch when used as a singular structure is either 12’ x 14’ or 14’ x 16’. If you intend to use the space for multiple functions, such as living and dining areas, for example, you may want to consider a larger space. The additional square footage will easily allow you to use the space for dual (or multiple) purposes. Archadeck recommends measuring your home’s living room or family room to help you envision spatial dimensions for the porch you want. Make sure to take into account space for traffic flow between furnishings when chairs are pulled out. Think about how much room you will need around a dining table when everyone is seated. Generally, after enjoying a large meal, guests will push their chairs back from the table to relax and talk. You want to have an area large enough for spreading out while still allowing room to walk around the table.
A porch that is built too small will feel cramped, and in turn you are less likely to enjoy the space to its full potential. On the other hand, a porch that is too big may dominate your back yard and feel less intimate and cozy. Archadeck of Central SC can help you gauge the amount of space you need for your porch according to its intended use. Having a porch a little big is much better than having one that is too small.
What is the best flooring choice for a porch?
This is a great question! There are many different materials to choose from when planning the flooring details of your new porch addition. These include tongue-and-groove porch flooring, low-maintenance decking and traditional wood. Also, let’s not forget hardscape materials if you’re are considering a covered patio. In general, the type of flooring you select is a personal preference. Since the floor will be protected from most of the harsh elements under the cover of a roof, pressure-treated wood is a great choice. If the porch will be part of a deck and porch combination, you may consider carrying the decking material into the adjoining porch for continuity. We also have clients request tongue-and-groove porch flooring specifically for its beauty and profile. AZEK by TimberTech has a line of low-maintenance porch boards that are just beautiful.
Porch with a low-maintenance synthetic floor.
Does rain enter into most porches easily?
A traditional covered porch is open on three sides, so it is only natural that some degree of rain will blow into the porch. Heavier rains may cause more intrusion into the porch and vice versa. The degree of overhang your porch has will also dictate how much rain enters, as will the use of gutters. Your porch roof should be large enough to provide a good buffer zone of protection. A properly designed overhang is the best defense against vertical rain, too.
If rain impeding into your porch space is a major concern, you may consider adding a convertible porch system instead. These systems include screens and window panels to provide more of a barrier against outside elements. This will afford you more control and protection during times of inclement weather.
How is the best way to keep a porch clean?
The elevation of your porch will greatly influence the amount of dirt coming into the porch. A porch that is higher off the ground will stay cleaner than one that is one on a lower elevation. A certain amount of dust and dirt is expected within any covered porch setting. This is especially the case during pollen season here in the South. Some good advice for keeping the area clean is to stay on top of sweeping or blowing dirt and dust out with a leaf blower. Yes, many of our porch customers use leaf blowers to keep their porch interiors tidy. This is a super convenient solution that is quick and effective, taking as little as 15-20 minutes.
For the most part, dirt and dust are the main sources of porch soiling. Mold and mildew are generally not an issue with a professionally designed and built porch addition. Our porches are well ventilated and built in a way to divert water away from the structure.
What amenities would offer the most benefit on a covered porch?
Archadeck of Central SC offers many amenities for covered porches. These include ceiling fans, electrical outlets, custom railing, lighting and custom ceiling finishes, among others. The benefits of adding amenities range from aesthetic value to making your space more comfortable. For example, a ceiling fan helps cool down the area and promotes air circulation. Having the porch wired for electricity gives you a place to listen to music and even hang a TV – the benefits are endless!
What is the best ceiling to use on a covered porch?
The style of ceiling finish you choose for your porch addition is purely a matter of personal taste. If you want a more rustic look, then we suggest an exposed (or open) rafter ceiling. You can actually see into the rafters of the porch with this ceiling style. The exposed rafter style is popular among homeowners seeking the farmhouse or cottage look that is so hot right now. An open rafter design may also cost less than a ceiling with a more finished style. Ceilings that offer a finished look include painted beadboard ceilings, stained wood and low-maintenance synthetics such as PVC.
Porch depicting exposed rafter ceiling.
Have more questions?
These resources may help answer any additional questions you have about covered porches:
- Are there any concerns when adding a roofed structure to my home?
Learn more in our article, Roofed Structures: Pergolas, Porches, Patios, 3-Season Rooms, and Sunrooms
- Can I convert my deck to a porch?
Get the answers here: Upgrading Your Deck or Patio to a Covered or Screened Porch or Sunroom
- Is there a way to enjoy my porch into the colder months?
Yes! And we have ideas for you in our blog post,Enjoy Your Porch Well Into the Winter Thanks to Clever Ideas from Archadeck of Central SC!
Ready to get started on your new porch?
If you’re thinking about adding a porch to your home, or looking for a porch builder, we are here to answer all your questions. Contact us today to get started. We are the Columbia area’s local porch design and build experts and we look forward to hearing from you!
The Archadeck of Central SC team (left to right), Tucker, Mike and Marshall Reu.