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Adding a front porch to an existing house

The front porch of our home needed a makeover. And something that has always bugged me was that the roof did not cover the whole concrete porch. It only covered maybe 2 feet and to me, it looked funny, I did not consider it a front porch. It was decided that we wanted to add a roof gable to our front porch. And this is our process of adding a front porch to an existing house.

porch makeover before and after

Now I want you to know that some parts of this makeover involve things that I would suggest you hire a professional and I will share that when we get there. But here are the materials we used for this project.

ADDING A FRONT PORCH TO AN EXISTING HOUSE

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FRAMING SUPPLIES:

TOOLS:

  • framing nail gun
  • rotary hammer drill
  • hammer
  • air compressor
  • level
  • square
  • ladder
  • Sawzall
  • circular saw

Find the list of tools we use.

SIDE NOTE: We are completing this project now because we are also replacing our roof. Make sure to check your local building codes before beginning!

FRAMING THE PORCH: building a gable on a front porch

This is the part of the project I would suggest you use a professional. The reason why is because the new porch needs to be attached to the existing home and the weight of the new porch needs to be braced correctly. But I am still going to share the process for us.

And because I suggest you need a professional, we had a professional contractor helping us. He built the whole porch but we were right there helping and learning. This is why I can explain some of the processes but please remember your house will be slightly different.

First, we had to find out where we could attach the new porch to the house. If you did not notice our home is made of brick so the place where we would tie into would be above the brick wall. But we also needed to work with the houses trusts.

The easiest way to see what we were working with was opening up the roof (see an image before for example).

Once the roof was open, we knew where everything could be placed. So we installed the 4″x4″ post base (attaches the post to concrete) using our rotary hammer drill and the red-head bolts.

adding post to existing house

Next was attaching the 4″x4″ post base to the 4×4 post plus the 4×4 post cap to the other end (these hold the 2″x6″ that connect to the house).

building new porch

It was at this point that a Sawzall was used to cut the old porch away from the house.

removing old porch

To decide on the slope of this new gable, we did consider the same slope as our roof (this is very standard). But it was not the look that I wanted. To give us an idea of different slopes, we held two 2×4’s board at a triangle to give us the look of more slopes, which helped us decide on the perfect slope. We decided on an 8/12 slope for this roof with our main roof being a 6/12.

At this part, I stepped away to go finish installing some more shingles but here is what the frame of the porch looked like at the point of framing the gable.

creating new porch

And here is what the porch framing looked like completed.

building new porch on home

Sorry, I don’t have more details on the actual build but I do feel that you should have a professional. Now for the part that I did, finishing the porch by wrapping the columns and everything else.

FINISHING THE PORCH BY ADDING TRIM

I first want to show you the finished porch so you have an idea of what I will be talking about.

updated homes curb appeal

Something I wished I would have taken the time to do was adding a dangling light but that would have taken a while so I decided not to do it. Plus birds were trying to create a nest in all the openings.

Here are the supplies I used for this part of the project.

FINISHING SUPPLIES:

TOOLS:

  • framing nail gun
  • air compressor
  • level
  • square
  • clamps
  • ladder
  • Kreg Jig K5
  • Sawzall
  • circular saw
  • jigsaw
  • miter saw
  • Kreg rip-cut
  • finishing nails
  • hammer

Find the list of tools we use.

new porch on existing home

First thing I had to do was add some bracing, this way I had a place to nail into. To do this, I used 2×4’s cut to the size I needed then I used the Kreg Jig K5 to create pockets to secure the boards to the porch with a 2-1/2″ exterior screw. Here’s an example.

bracing porch for trim

Next was cutting the 3/8″ LP Smartside Siding panel to fit the space. I decided on this panel because we wanted to look of shiplap. I used a jigsaw to cut the piece to fit plus we used a chalk line so we would know where the 2×4 boards where to nail into.

adding trim

After the piece fit correctly we nailed into place using the 2-3/8″ ring shank nails (these are for exterior use).

exterior nails for trim

We also cut a piece to cover the other opening. Here are both of those pieces into place.

adding trim panels to porch

Next was adding the soffit to the roof overhang, just the sides. Rather than buying the actual soffit, I cut strips of the LP Smartside soffit panel using a circular saw attached to the Kreg Rip-Cut (not sure what that is, see this post on how to use a Kreg Rip-Cut).

cutting sheet of plywood with saw

Then I cut it to the size I needed. I took the soffit to were it would be in line with the 2×6 that braced the front of the gable. Check the fit and nail into place. See more images below for more examples.

apply trim to columns

Now was adding trim to the 2×6’s (the design in the front). I did this again by using the circular saw attached to the Kreg Rip-Cut to cut the 3/8″ soffit panel into strips.

The first strips I cut was for the inside of the design and all along the bottom of the 2″x6″ board. These strips were 1-1/2″.

SIDE NOTE: I wish I would have doubled up the 2×6’s design. In other words, added more 2x6s right against the ones already installed. If I would have done this the strip would have been 3″.

After I cut the strips to the length I needed and installed using the 2-3/8″ nails. TIP: Use a clamp to help you hold them in place.

porch makeover

After those were installed, I added the trim to the front and back of the 2×6’s. I again used the circular saw with the Kreg Rip-Cut and cut the strips to the size I needed. To get the size, measure the distance (it will be close to 6-1/4″ and 5-7/8″, there will be two different sizes).

creating new porch

The first strip to add is the bottom one, the longest 2″x6″ board. On our porch, the 8ft panel was slightly small so I needed two strips. I cut the piece to fit the space. Then I used clamps to hold them in place.

adding trim to porch

TIP: The strips will be flush with the smaller strips already installed.

Now before using nails to secure the trim into place, think about the width of the boards. If you did not double the 2″x6″s, your width will be about 2″ once all strips are installed. And the nails are 2-3/8″ so you will NOT want to use them. Use the 1-1/4″ exterior screws instead.

TIP: If you are not sure what angle the trim pieces should be cut at, use a scrap board to test or purchase a T-bevel to give you the correct angle.

I also added trim (strips of 3/8″ soffit panel) to the other 2×6’s and 2×4’s framing around the porch. I install the same way but used 2-3/8″ nails.

Now it’s time to wrap the porch columns.

WRAP THE PORCH POST WITH TRIM

If you haven’t noticed this tutorial is getting long, so I decided to create a whole different tutorial for how to wrap porch columns. So jump over to that tutorial to learn how to wrap the post then come back.

front porch makeover

FINISHING THE TRIM

At this point, I finished installing the rest of the soffit.

finishing porch
adding trim to front porch

But also added trim boards to the inside, 6″ for the bottom and 4″ everywhere else, like this.

updated porch
adding trim to porch design

SIDE NOTE: Some of the 6″ trim was where the brick was so I could not nail into place in some areas. What I did was create pockets (using my Kreg Jig K5) to attach the 6″ board to the 4″ side trim then applied liquid nails to the 6″ board and nailed the 4″ trim into place.

kreg jig pockets

At this point, almost all the trim was added (only the ceiling trim was not but that needed to wait until after the cedar boards were installed). So it was time to prep for paint. In other words, caulk was applied to all seams and nail holes. Plus I taped off against the brick and concrete to protect it from getting painted or caulk all over it.

caulking trim on porch
sealing seams on porch

Next was painting all the trim white. You will want to use an exterior paint that has paint and primer in one. Here’s after one coat of paint.

painting porch

Because I was painting the trim a bright white it did take 3 coats to get the coverage I wanted.

porch with white paint and red brick

ADDING CEDAR PLANKING TO PORCH

First, you will want the planking to sit opened for 48 hours to adjust to your climate. Here’s the cedar planking I used.

cedar planking for porch

Next, put a waterproofing finish on the cedar, I used my favorite wood finish Tung Oil. I always like to apply at least two coats.

tung oil on cedar panels

Once the boards dried, I measured the ceiling of the porch. You do not want the boards to be completely flush (give them a 1/8″ gap on each side), so subtract 1/4″ from the measurement.

adding cedar panels to porch

TIP: Do not cut all the boards at once, work in sections (about 4 boards installed). Then remeasure because it could change.

Starting at the bottom of the ceiling place the first board, you will want the groove side of the panel down. Nailing into place using the 1-1/4″ finishing nails.

TIP: You will want the first board straight, measure from the top of the ceiling down to give you the straight line.

Install the next cedar panel by inserting the grooves together.

cedar panels on porch

And again nail into place. Keep installing the panels on that one side until the last piece. Cut the piece if needed to fit into the space (I used a jigsaw to do this). Then complete the same process on the other side but do not add the last piece.

The last piece will need to be cut at an angle to fit flush against the other side. So measure the distance and cut at a 30-degree angle depending on your roof pitch. Then install the same way.

Now its time to install the last trim pieces. I decided I wanted less trim showing so I used 2″ trim (I cut the 3″ in half). I cut the pieces to fit then painted them. After they dried, I installed them using the 2-3/8″ nails.

create cedar porch ceiling

Next was caulking the seams and filling in the nail holes. I used white caulk wherever there was paint on paint. But if it was paint against cedar or cedar against cedar, I used clear caulk. I also filled in any holes the cedar had (knot holes) using the clear caulk.

SIDE NOTE: Clear caulk goes on white but it dries clear, so don’t be alarmed.

Once the caulk dried, I touched up the nail holes and white caulk with white paint.

add cedar to porch

And that is how I updated our front porch by adding a porch to an existing house and wrapping the posts with trim. I hope this project gives you some ideas to update your front porch. Because the before and after can be amazing!

updated front porch on red brick home

PS. The cost for all materials for this project was less than $700.

adding a porch to an existing house

2 Comments

  1. Love the porch, but why didn’t you paint the cinder blocks? (the base of porch)

    1. Thanks, Mattie! The reason why I did not paint the porch cinder blocks is that I need to patch the seams first (it’s called parget) then I would paint that. I plan on completing this project this year!!

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