Should a front porch have a step down, or be flush?

elizawhyzaMay 9, 2012

We're having a wooden front porch put on the front of our house. It was originally going to be a masonry porch, and from our drawings it looks like there was no step down. Now the platform is there for the wooden porch, and there is a step down from the front door. I just assumed that it would be flush like it would have been with the masonry one. I can't put my hands on the new drawing of the wooden porch to see the spec, but I was wondering if there is anything inherently different about a wood versus a masonry porch that would dictate a step down onto the porch from the house.


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I've heard step down so water can't creep in.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:19PM
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Is it an immediate step down? That doesn't seem as safe to me, but maybe I am misunderstanding. I have several friends who built farmhouses with frontporches that have wood floors, and there is no step down to the porch from the door. There is a threshhold, then the porch floor. We have a masonry front porch, and there is a little, perhaps 4" "step" from the door down to the porch floor, but it doesn't look or function as a step.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:55PM
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I prefer no-step. Better for accessibility. Proper finish grading should take care of drainage concerns but not always possible with existing work.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:06PM
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Google up front porch images and you'll see most entries are elevated above the porch.

If you don't elevate, you had better be prepared for an occasional rush of leaves, snow or whatever when you open the door.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:12PM
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This discussion sounded awfully familiar... sure enough, when I did a search I found a thead on the same question from just a few months ago. LOL! To save everybody some time, here is a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dec 2011:

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 12:26AM
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The relevant issues are climate and overhead protection of the door from the weather. Without that information the discussion is forced to consider all possibilities. If you want good answers to a problem you must first define the problem well.

Private residences are not required to be handicap accessible but it is a good idea to have an easy way to get a wheelchair through at least one exterior door. There are movable aluminum door ramps sold to deal with the typical step down at a porch or stoop. I have one stored in my front door vestibule.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:30AM
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+1 on Renovator8

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:09AM
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discussion sounded awfully familiar

Most are!

And the point of my million pics was that many/most entries are elevated above the adjacent porches, if only the few inches. For example,

Brian's Place

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Thanks for the visual!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:29PM
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I have concrete outside exterior doors, and nothing is elevated (there is no step.) It's all graded so water flows away from the house. The front door has a covered area that protects it from the elements. Once it snowed and the wind blew the snow towards the door, but that would have happened with a step or not.

It is standard here for new builds to be more accessible and not have steps. I live in a dry climate, which might make that easier to accomplish/get away with....

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 2:20PM
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Here's a pic of my front porch when my house was under construction. I chose not to have a step and it was fine because of my deep porch. I would have had to have a step all the way across that French door too. I will do it again this way.

My shallow porch, on the other side of the hose should have had a step. I made a mistake there. The rare big snow that we have looks a little like the picture above.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 12:38PM
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