Depth of Front Porch

kate38July 14, 2010

How deep should a covered front porch be? We have our first set of plans for a custom home which will have to be modified more than once, I'm sure, but the builder has made the front porch 6' deep and about 40' wide. What do you all think about the 6' depth? This porch will get heavy use, I hope. It's not just for looks.

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Heavy use for what? Sitting and looking out at the world, or gathering with people for socialization?

For gathering, double the size to 12' You don't want to cover the whole 12' or you'll lose daylight in the living space of your home, unless the roof is really high. Consider the orientation and sun angle at different times of the year. Have the designer figure out where the sun will shine on the winter and summer solstices and go from there.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 2:34PM
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About 40 percent for gathering and 60 percent for four of us to read, chat, perhaps have a meal together. The porch faces east. Will definitely talk about the solstices. Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:58AM
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Way back when I was planning, I took a couple of chairs, put them against a wall and angled them slightly towards each other. I popped a small table between them. Sat down extended my legs, and added several feet as a travel lane for passersby...then added another foot or so to compensate for the chairs not being next to the wall.

Another porch is deeper, as we usually sit there with four chairs arranged in a sort of conversational semi-circle.

So figure out how large your furniture will be, how you'll arrange it, how traffic will flow, etc, and have at it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 7:03PM
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Thanks, Mongoct. The perfect solution. Now why didn't I think of that??

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 7:45AM
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Our porch is 6'10" from the siding to the 12" box column. 7' to the railing. I wish we had another foot of depth for better furniture placement. When the Builder built another version of our house in the hood, the columns were placed at the edge of the decking instead of recessing 6" adding 6" more of living space than our home. We are friends with these people and I have noticed the additional 6" of living space is a big difference. My recommendation is 8' minimum.

Don't forget the ceiling fans, recessed lighting on a dimmer, multiple outlets for holiday lights, and have it wired for sound and maybe even tv based on your living.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 12:09PM
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Our 1920s front porch is about 8feet deep and I've often wished it was a little deeper. Make sure the footings are poured in the right place (out under edge) Otherwise they will set the support posts back in and although your porch deck may be a certain size, It will be smaller in reality. This happened to a friend of mine, and it sounds like someone in one of the posts above too.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 1:45PM
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Excellent suggestions, and I never would have thought of the position of the columns. I've written them all down to discuss with builder. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 12:16PM
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Our porch is 10' deep and perfect. We have a large seating group, and plenty of room in front of it for traffic. It wraps around to the side of the house (wrap around side is 8' deep), with steps facing the yard so it flows to our back patio. This is great for parties where people are on our porch in front and patio in back, and have a way of traveling between the 2 without walking around. Ceiling fans are a must, as are recessed lighting. We put electrical outlets in the ceiling for holiday lights, and outlets around the perimeter as well.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 11:40AM
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A lot of good advice from others. We added a front porch to our house that is 36 feet long and 8 feet 3 inches wide. One thing that I think people tend to overlook - but what some posters have stated - is how much useable space is taken up by porch posts/columns and railings. Our porch posts are 6 inches square at the bottom, but the effective amount of space they take up is 9 inches once you take into account they are not right on the outer edge of the porch and have a decorative base at the floor. This means our useable porch depth is actually 7-1/2 feet.

We used a porch design book to help us design our porch which recommends a porch width of not less than 8 feet total for a "useful" porch. I would think that a 6 foot wide porch is more decorative in nature.

Of course, it all depends on your house style and the amount of space you have to build a porch. We had to get a variance from the local planning board because we needed to extend our porch into the 25 foot road set back boundary, even though the actual road is more than 50 feet from our front door - the right-of-way for the road is close to 3 times as wide as the actual road.

Good luck with your porch - I think you will really enjoy it.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:39PM
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Thanks again, everyone. Fivefootzero, thanks for sending pix. Your porch is lovely. I'd love to have a stone floor if possible, and will try to work it into the budget.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 10:23AM
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Deeper is better if you want to use it as a gathering place. We built our 10 ft deep to accommodate furniture--several chairs, a glider, and sometimes a dining table for 6.

It never feels crowded. And I can sit out there in all but the hardest rain storms and not get wet.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:51PM
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