How to Make a Roof Over Your Porch


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Having a seating area outside can be a great place to entertain. Having a roof over this space can make it feel more like a room.


porch canopy
My wife, as it seems to me, has to take on some large home makeover before any party at our house. This habit , I have to admit, is becoming a bit hard to take. The projects are fine, and frequently needed, but she gives little time to have them done before the event, which leaves me rushing to complete a task. For Easter, she wanted a roof or canopy over our back porch. I had created a sort of false roof by allowing jasmine to grow on wires over this space, but she wanted a real structure. She liked the jasmine, so she also wanted to keep these vines as part of the roof. We ended up with an open slat system for our porch roof.

    She had informed me that I would not be building this roof, but a family friend who happens to be a contractor. I do not know if my dear wife was planning this fact, but he showed up alone, expecting assistance, so my son and I were also required to help. Porches on older homes have quite a thin slab of concrete compared to your foundation. I have seen planned porches on newer homes that are part of the foundation due to the porch design, but I have also seen porches, which are not part of the foundation with quite a thick slab. Typically, a porch will not be part of the foundation. I mention this because my wife and the contractor felt that we only had to enclose the structure with a wall covering, and we would have an additional room. We would not in part due not having a foundation. An additional room needs a foundation, not a porch, and it is attached to the house differently.
    The first step was setting up the posts which would carry the load of the roof. In our case two posts would be close to the outside corners of the porch, while a nailer was attached to the fascia. Setting a post directly on the porch can be problematic. Water can seep into the base, allowing the wood to rot. A hole was drilled in the cement for a tie down bolt. This held a piece of metal which raises the post from the ground while holding it in place. The post is set into this holder, and then we attached the framing member from the nailer to the post. Using a level, we made sure that the post was straight.The final framing member defining the edge of the roof was attached to the two posts, still using a level to ensure that everything is straight.To firm up this structure, braces were cut to fit into the corners of the post. These are short pieces at a 45 degree angle from post to joist (joists being the pieces running parallel to the ground).
porch roof
    The roof needed a series of joists from the nailer to the framing member opposite of it (the one running between the posts). These joists also help stabilize the structure, but they give support to your roof covering. All of the joists were 2 by 8s. To allow the jasmine over the roof, my wife wanted a more pergola type design, but she did not want the larger boards to be predominate. We went with 2 by 2 boards that would have a two inch gap between them. This slat pattern defines a roof while the jasmine can peak through below. We hope to still be enjoying the sent and flowers when they arrive.
    The last step for the roof was painting. I had ordered extra house paint for our house when we took on the job last fall for my son’s birthday. My son and I painted the upper sections to match the fascia. The posts and braces were painted to match the color that we used for the lower portions of the house. This was a rush job though. After hiding the Easter eggs for my little girls, I was out climbing over the structure to have everything painted in time for the early dinner, while also cooking the dinner. I bought a set of solar powered lights for the font half of the porch. I had a set on the fascia to light my walk way, and they stayed in place. The three new lights helped make the area brighter. These lights work off of one panel, and they give off a light blue glow, which lasts most of the night. When you are sitting on the porch, you have a nice soft light for an evening’s entertainment.
    The wood used on the project was pressure treated, so the paint job was a good idea to make it look better. What I will do soon is to create a trim around the base of the posts to cover up the metal holder. For the party, I hid these with my potted plants. I think that a plastic board will be best. If moisture soaks into the trim board, it could effect the post. The roof can be damaged by the jasmine over time. I hope to reduce the chance of moisture damage by keeping good air flow around the base of the structure. Now I will have to go onto the roof more to keep the vines from growing onto the roof proper. The slat design will allow the rain to fall away, but I am concerned about the nailer on the fascia. I have to caulk it, and I may extend the roof to have water fall over the nailer’s face, instead of on top of it. Another solution is to have a metal channel on the roof to direct water away from the porch.
    The biggest problem I see with porches on my home inspections is moisture in the base of the posts. This weakens the post, causing the roof to fall. The next most common issue would be moisture on the roof. In my roof, the slats allow air flow and moisture control. In a solid roof, you should plan on treating this as you would a roof on a house. You do not want moisture to be collecting in the structure. What ideas would you have for a roof design over your porch?

7 Responses to “How to Make a Roof Over Your Porch”

  • Many thanks with regard to your time and efforts.I enjoy reading well written articles and web sites dealing with living room furniture,living room accessories as well as decorations. Actually I am preparing to do some re-decorating and am definitely pleased to get brand new concepts. Particularly if they can help save us some money and help make my living room look great at the same time.

  • You have made my day a little bit easier to take after reading your article.

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  • Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so! really nice post.

  • Batman Lot says:

    Great information you write it very clean. I’m very lucky to get this details from you.

  • Great topic would like to have some more information on how to better use furniture

  • The truth is most people could do plenty to improve their outdoor area with little money spent. One method is to creatively work with what you already have, and start with less grandiose projects that you actually finish.

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Greetings

This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank

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