2020 Cost to Build a Porch – Detailed Cost Guide

From increasing the value of the property and adding some undeniable curb appeal to simply creating the perfect spot to relax, unwind, and while away those long, hot, summer days, there’s no denying that a new porch can make an attractive, practical addition to any home.

Yet while the benefits can seem limitless, so too can the number of options you have at your disposal. Sure, that may give you a lot of freedom to create something that perfectly suits your space, your tastes, and your lifestyle, but it also presents a serious challenge when it comes to setting a budget for your project.

Speak to any number of contractors and ask them how much does it cost to build a porch, and they’ll likely answer that question with one of their own:

“Exactly what kind of porch do you want?”

Porch 1 Main Image
A front porch can make a beautiful addition to any property, providing an ideal relaxation spot while improving the long-term value of your home.

After all, there’s a significant difference in cost between a simple front-facing porch with railings and a complete wraparound with a front porch roof, walls, and all the extras including labor cost.

If all that is enough to leave your head spinning, don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Today, we not only explore the most common options for building a porch to help you determine the one that best suits you, but we also break down the costs involved so that you can start setting your budget and take one step closer to your dream porch.

What is the Cost of a Porch? A Basic Price Guide

Porch 2 Pricing
Building a wooden porch like this one tends to be more expensive than a brick option, but the stunning aesthetic appeal is worth the cost.

In the United States, the average cost of a standard, 200-square-foot porch is around $17,000 which includes everything from decking, railing, and roof materials to labor costs and even basic front porch furniture.

However, for a bare-bones option with no railings and the most basic of roof types, you could end up paying as little as $5,000 – $10,000 in cost , or as much as $20,000 – $30,000 in cost for more complex designs that have more in common with a full home extension than an actual front porch.

Of course, these costs depend on multiple factors, including size, type, materials, and whether you decide to build something from scratch or use a pre-made kit.

Below, we’ll discuss how each of these factors influences the overall cost of a porch.

Prefab vs. Bespoke

If you use the kind of prefab, self-build kits more commonly used for garages and log cabin projects, then you should be able to pay for far less than you would if you decided to design and build something that’s unique to you and your home.

As a compromise, you could always buy a book of pre-made porch designs and work to the specifications provided. This alleviates much of the extensive planning and meticulous attention to detail needed in a custom design, yet still provides much more freedom and flexibility to choose different finishes and decorative options than you’d get with a prefab.

As a rough guide, self-build porch kits can start from as little as $4,900 average cost for small, 100 square foot options comprised of just the decking and railings, going up to $10,000+ average cost for a 320 square foot kit. The average cost per square foot generally declines slightly as size increases.

By comparison, if you decide to you’d be looking at paying at least $7,000 in cost to build the same kind of smaller porch or $17,000+ in cost for the larger one in your deck, with those prices including design, materials, and contractor labor costs.

Porch Pricing by Material

Porch 3 Materials
Wood, stone, and composite materials are the most common options for building a porch. Which one you choose will likley depend on your budget.

If you do go with a self-build porch kit, you’ll find that 99.9% of them are constructed using wood. If, on the other hand, you decide to design and build your own porch from scratch, then you’ll have a number of material choices to choose from.

Combined with size, it’s these options that will influence the overall cost of your porch than anything else.

Wooden Porches ($7.50 – $30 per sqft.)

There’s a reason why wood is the most popular material for building porches:

It’s easily the most versatile and aesthetically-pleasing of them all.

The best thing about building your porch with wood such as landscaping timber isn’t just that they can be used to create everything from your front porch decking to popular furnishings like outdoor swings. It’s that you can buy them in a wide variety of finishes to ensure your finished projects complements the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space.

They’re also highly durable and, when treated with a good quality wood stain, can withstand the elements and remain looking their best for years to come.

Of course, all these benefits come at a cost, and as excellent a choice as wood might be for your new porch, it’s also among the most expensive.

On average, expect to pay at least $7.50 per square foot for good quality timber. Of course, you may be able to source a better deal for bulk purchases or if you buy a lower quality of wood, but since you’re building what will essentially be the new focal point of your home’s exterior, this latter option isn’t advised.

Composite Porches ($10 – $50 per sqft)

While wood may be the most popular choice, they also require a fair amount of maintenance and regular weatherproofing to keep them in excellent condition.

If all that sounds too much like hard work, then composite materials may prove to be a solid alternative.

Using eco-friendly recycled materials such as timber and plastics, composite porches offer even greater levels of durability than wood, with the timber offering solid structural support while the plastic provides lasting protection from the elements.

The best part is that they require almost no maintenance. Once installed, they’ll continue looking great with almost no effort on your part which is perfect if the only reason you’re building a porch in the first place is to have somewhere to chill out and do nothing.

That said, this option isn’t without its drawbacks.

First, there’s the cost. Composite porches are even more expensive than wood, costing anywhere between $10 and $50 per square foot.

Then there’s the heat retention. Composite porches and decks are notorious for retaining heat, making them incredibly hot during the summer months. If you live in an especially warm climate, this might be one option to avoid unless you invest in a good outdoor cooling system like this 18″ wall-mounted fan from iLiving.

Brick, Stone, and Concrete Porches ($5 – $20 per sqft)

A tight budget doesn’t mean that building a porch is completely out of the question.

A standard brick porch should cost you no more than $10 per square foot average cost at most while using basic concrete could set you back as little as $5 per square foot.

Though that certainly makes them the cheapest option, brick and stone have their own disadvantages to consider.

First of all, there’s the aesthetic qualities. No matter how much work you do to smarten them up, brick or stone porches simply aren’t going to look as attractive as their wood or composite counterparts.

If looks matter (and if you’re planning to up the value of your home, they most definitely do), then you’d be better off upgrading your materials by adding a decorative stone finish, this can add anywhere from $5 to $15 average cost per square foot to the total costs.

There’s also a weight factor to consider. It should come as no surprise that bricks, stones, and concrete are the heaviest materials you could use, and that may make them unsuitable for raised porches.

Porch Furniture and Accessory Costs

Porch 4 Porch Accessories
A porch isn’t complete without at least some furniture. Patio sets and porch swings are popular additions to help you really make the most of your space.

There’s more to all this than simply building the structure itself.

If you’re going to get any amount of enjoyment out of your newly finished porch, then you’ll need at least a few accessories.

As we mentioned earlier, porch swings like this attractive Cedar Stain swing from CAF are a popular addition, while patio furniture, benches, and planters can also help create a friendly, welcoming environment.

Depending on how you plan to spend your time, you may also need to consider outdoor lighting options and perhaps even an outdoor heater to ensure that you can still enjoy some quality downtime even after the night air turns cool.

As a general guide, we recommend setting aside a minimal budget of between $100 – $200 for your porch furnishings and decorations, but really you could spend as much or as little as you choose here.

You could, for example, save money by decorating your porch with plants and flowers from your garden, or by building your own furniture with leftover wood from your porch decking. You could even go the other way and spend hundreds, if not thousands, on stylish features like an outdoor fireplace.

What Are Your Options for Building a Porch?

Porch 5 Porch Options
While most porches are fairly basic, those with the budget for it can build beautiful, elaborate pieces like this one.

We’ve explored the basic material options and their costs, but that’s only half the battle when it comes to deciding exactly how your new porch is going to look and what features it will include.

The truth is, there’s a wide variety of styles and designs to suit just about just about every home.

Below, we’ll look at some of the most popular porch options, with prices based on a typical 2,000 square foot American home.

Screened Porch ($10,000 – $15,000)

While open porches are a more common sight at the front of US homes, screened porches are popular as an addition to the rear of the home, providing shade and shelter for those long summer days when you want to relax and unwind in privacy.

They’re also a popular choice in areas that attract typical summertime bugs and insects, providing adequate pest protection while at the same time offering undisturbed views of your garden.

Screened-In Patio Material Options

The biggest factor determining the cost of your screened-in porch will be the cost of the screens themselves.

Fiberglass and aluminum options often prove to be both the least expensive and the most flexible, meaning they can be manipulated to fit just about any porch design.

However, if you live in an area that is prone to storms or other harsh weather conditions, then be warned that these types of screens don’t hold well against strong winds.

On the flip side, you could always look at steel, which is a naturally tough material that can withstand extreme weather conditions but does look far less attractive than the other options.

If looks are your top priority then you’ll find that even though brass and copper screens are the most expensive, they do add a beautiful finish to your porch that is well worth the cost.

Wraparound Porch ($20,000 – $25,000)

As you might have guessed, ‘Wraparound’ is the name given to the kind of porch that literally wraps around your home.

This might mean that it starts at the front of your property and wraps around the side, that it starts at the side and wraps around to the back, or that it goes all the way around from front to back. Either way, a wraparound porch can make a stylish, spectacular addition to your home.

If you have the budget for it, you could even create a porch that wraps all the way around your property.

As you can imagine, the more sides of your property you add a porch to, the more expensive it’s going to cost.

Veranda ($20,000 – $30,000)

Though some will use the terms’wraparound’ and ‘Verdana’ interchangeably, there is a subtle, but noticeable difference.

Whereas a wraparound can cover three or more sides of the property, a Verdana typically only covers two and has much more in common with a sunroom, featuring a full roof and some level of enclosure.

Florida Room / Sunroom ($30,000 – $60,000)

Porch 6 sun room
A sunroom is an excellent option for those looking to enjoy the beautiful views of their garden while still having the benefit of shade on overly warm days.

Easily the most expensive option available, building a sunroom (sometimes called a ‘Florida Room’) is akin to building a full property extension that is usually fully enclosed by windows.

Though some sunrooms leave the side facing your garden fully open for easy access, most tend to feature doors with built-in windows.

This is a good option if you want to make the most of the beautiful sunshine while still keeping cool on particularly hot days. Thanks to the way that they let in ample amounts of light, sunrooms can also make a perfect home for indoor plants.

Sleeping Porch

Sleeping porches may not be anywhere near as common as they used to be in the days before affordable air conditioning, but they can still prove both useful and beautiful in warmer climates.

Like sunrooms, they generally come fully enclosed with walls, windows and a door for access to the garden. The big difference is that those windows usually come with a fitted screen to keep bugs out and contain a bed or comfortable couch for resting on.

Of course, that does make it a less practical place to spend time if all you want to do is chill out during the day time, but on those sweltering hot night’s, having a sleeping porch to escape to can make all the difference between a sweaty, restless night and perfect, blissful sleep.

Where to Find Professionals

If you need professional help with your porch installation, use this resource to help you find qualified professionals:

Frequently Asked Questions About Building a Porch

Porch 7 FAQ
Even a basic porch like this one will require a permit before you can start construction.

Do I Need a Permit to Build a Porch?

Though the specific rules vary from state to state (and in some cases even from county to county), almost all areas of the United States will require you to contact your local building department to get a permit before you can build your porch.

Some areas are much stricter than others in what they will and won’t allow you to do.

In Staten Island, New York, for example, the Home Improvement Contractors association says that all plans for a new porch must be filed with the New York City Department of Buildings by a licensed architect or engineer. This will add to the labor cost you need to budget.

They also insist that all porches have railings that measure at least 42 inches high and that they’re built withstand a minimum of 40 lbs per square foot.

Elsewhere, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry takes the state’s weather considerations into consideration by making specific requirements for a front porch’s ability to handle snow loads.

Though dealing with the local authority can be a hassle, it actually works out in your favor as when you apply for a permit, a government inspector will pay you a visit to check the work is up to code. This is a great way of verifying that you or your contractor have done a good job and that your new porch is both sturdy and safe.

What’s the Difference Between a Porch, a Patio, and Decking?

Porches, patios, and decks are built to give you a designated space to relax or entertain outdoors, but each one is constructed differently.

A porch is a structure that is attached to your home and is covered with a roof. Open-air porches are generally surrounded by railings while enclosed options are surrounded by either full-length screens or walls with windows. A porch is usually -though not always- elevated at least a few feet above the ground and is accessible via steps from the ground level.

It could be said that a deck is basically a porch without a roof cover. Indeed, most porches are basically large decking areas with structures built around them.

They’re also similar to porches in that at least two of the sides have railings. The big difference is that it usually isn’t covered and doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to the house. Indeed, you could build a decking area right at the opposite end of your garden if you chose to.

The same applies with garden patios. They can be placed anywhere in your garden but they’re different again in that they don’t usually have railings at all, and are typically built from stone whereas decks and porches are generally wooden structures.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Porch?

For a professional contractor working full-time, building a standard screen porch on an average 2,000 square foot home takes around four weeks.

Before that, there’s also the planning stages to consider. Creating the initial plans, choosing and sourcing materials and obtaining those all-important permits can take another four to six weeks.

In other words, you should expect the entire process to take around two to three months from your first discussion with a contractor to the day they finally sweep up and ship out.

This process could take much longer if you have a larger or more complex orch, or if you’re working solo and building your porch as a weekend project.

Final Thought: How to Get the Most Value for Money When Buying a Porch

As we’ve seen throughout this guide, $15,000 – $20,000 will get you a premium quality porch that not only looks the part but that also serves you and your family well for years to come.

That said, a smaller budget doesn’t have to be a barrier to building an attractive porch, it simply means you need to be smart with that budget and think about where you can save and where you’d be better off spending as much as possible.

When it comes to your materials, for example, there’s no point spending all that money on a composite porch if you can get the same stylish finish and similar quality with an all-wood option. You can manage your cost to build a porch accordingly. Try to manage your average cost per square foot as well.

To save even more, you could always cut your material costs by building a brick or stone porch, but if you do take this route, think about what you can spend on making that look as attractive as possible.

Remember, your porch will be a permanent part of your property, so the last thing you want is to spend the next decade staring out of your living room window at an ugly porch that attracts shocked stares from the neighbors and decreases the value of your property. As such, it’s worth spending at least a little extra upgrading the look of a concrete porch with stone, plants, or other decorative features.

Finally, there are the costs of hiring a professional contractor to consider when evaluating the cost to build a porch. To keep everything within your budget, consider starting your porch project in the fall or winter months. Since most contractors tend to have less work around these periods they’re likely to offer lower rates.

Sure, you could save even more money by doing the work yourself, but this is one area where most homeowners tend not to cut corners. As confident as you might be in your own skills, hiring a professional ensures that the work is up to code, that it’s built to last, and most importantly of all, that your new haven of relaxation provides all the added property value and curb appeal you hoped it would.

cost to build a porch