Roof options over wood porch/deck

katrina_ellenMarch 11, 2011

Hi All,

young-gardener had a post regarding entryways for a SH. I always wanted an entry to do something with - but my door enters directly into my little 15' x 11' living room. Then it came to me that I could do something with the wood deck that is built in the front of my house. Its just a narrow deck that was built up almost flush with the front door and is about half the length of my little 784' house. One big consideration is that the deck is built flush to the front door, it is a hip style roof on a ranch style house. So theres not much headway to have something that is very sloped. We get a lot of snow, rain here so it would be nice to protect the wood deck, also to have some shelter getting into the house to create more of an entry, and I wouldn't feel like I am on display in my living room with the additional shelter. Any suggestions you have tried or know of? I thought of an awning. My house is not fancy but any means so something that is fairly basic, but would add to the curb appeal because it would take away from the shoe box effect of the house. It would need good drainage though and that is where the problem lies because of the narrow head room area. I will have to measure when I get home and see how much headway there is. Are aluminum awnings tacky? My neighbor has one but she is in a pretty old home, my was built in 1958. Any help is much appreciated. I posted on the porches and decks forum but don't know if I will get any responses. Thanks very much!!!

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Kat, I think you have the right idea, but before I can say which way to go, can you get a shot of the territory?
After seeing all those roofs collapse this winter from their snow loads, I understand the issues involved with flat roofs.

When you say the deck is flat with the front door, you mean there is no height difference? Do you have gutters running along that roofline? And how much of a "pitch" does your roof have? Is the roof a simple design which is like two end gables and a flat roof on each side?

And, do you want to do something that covers the entire length of the deck along the front of your house, or would a simple covered entry space be adequate? Also, how old is your current roof? Is it in need of work anyway?

I'll try to find a picture of MoccasinLanding. It was basically a shallow roofline, but they had built a gable across the front which created a narrow cement pad stoop, held up with 4 wrought iron posts. (each end and then in between), so the front door was centered on the peak of the shallow gable. Altogether, the stoop and the gable were about 15 feet wide I suppose.

What I'm thinking is maybe a smaller gable right over the doorway which can be enclosed against all weather and a small bench out there, and then not attached to the house, but mounted on the deck, a covered freestanding pergola or arbor running from the driveway/carport/garage/walkway/whatever, that can have an angled top to encourage rain or snow to fall off the side away from your house (or deck too if it is a narrow one) yet from the street will look like a flat surfaced pergola/walkway up to the front door. You could top this pergola with acrylic or Lexan panels, or even heavy duty canvas/Sunbrella fabric, which would allow light to penetrate, and not cut off the light from the house windows.

If you want to move your front door, I think there is a project that our (absent) buddy Loretta did to HER tiny front porch to make it a really sweet AWAY room just inside the door. Your use would be different, but it would be sort of the same construction of a gable etc.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 2:29PM
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Hi moc,
You are an idea person for sure. My roof is kind of triangular shaped and has a gentle slope. Its a very plain house - just a rectangle box. I really would like to cover the whole deck. I don't have the money to build a wood enclosure or at least I think if I put that much money out I would be better off to re-do the kitchen layout first. I will take a picture - I'll see about borrowing a camera. I think the gable over the doorway would look good, and maybe I will think this thing through and decide just to cover the doorway in the end, but for now I am thinking I would like to cover the deck so I have more usable space. There is the light issue but the house faces west and the light can get really intense in the summer. I think something really simple is going to fit the style of the house best. I would love to take carpentry classes and use some of Sarah Susanka's ideas on my house. I would have a lot of built-ins. Thanks for the ideas!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 3:51PM
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Do you have pictures to post? I'm a very visual person with ideas.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Kat, once you get some good straight-on shots of each side of your house, ....front side, back side, north gable, south gable, the entire exterior surface from each of these angles, including the roofline, you can play around with them on your computer. Keep the ORIGINAL photo untouched. Make copies of them. Then, open up PAINT, which comes with all Windows operating systems. Open up the picture copy of your house front which faces west. I use the Paint tool which lets me draw lines on the photo with my mouse cursor. If you make mistakes, you can "undo" to erase the stuff you put there. When you find something to your liking, you can SAVE that. Then to pursue another option, you can open up another FRESH COPY of your original photo.

A little doghouse gable over your front door can be something simple like the one over our front door. It is not confined with a door, just a covered area with protection from the weather on most days. Our house also faces west, and it can get really hot. If your gable would be right there essentially ON your deck, then it would not hurt to have it left open at this time.....just design it so that IN THE FUTURE, and IF YOU MIGHT consider further enclosing it as a part of an inside foyer.
How close are the windows in the area of the front door? I think that might limit how large you can make the entry gable and not mess with the windows.

Lumber is getting pretty costly these days, and the big timbers especially. A 6x6 post would by itself cost a bunch. But they have ways of beefing up supports to make them look more substantial. In the meantime, just get a couple of big outdoor umbrellas for your deck, and maybe a couple of heat/drought tolerant plants that will grow tall and skinny, to emphasize your entry area and set them in pots on the deck. Any little bit of shade cast on the deck or the windows will look really good.

Have fun this week. Go to sleep dreaming. :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 1:34PM
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I will try to get pictures this weekend. I have to borrow a camera again. I haven't had much time lately because I have the grandkids all day Saturday until about 9:00 at night and it will be this way for a couple months. I work full time also. But I would love to get some input on an entry way. I have been thinking maybe something over just the door would be good. I was looking at it and the space really is pretty cramped there. Not sure what would work. Will post pics next. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:09PM
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