Porch Photos, Ideas, and Remodels Porch

Porch Photos, Ideas, and Remodels Porch

NeMo, Beige Asian Exterior in Winter Park, FL by Phil Kean Designs

History of the porch

The word «porch» comes from the Latin porta, meaning «passage.» Porches have been used as architectural forms since ancient times. Temples and churches have used porches to signify the front entrance and provide a place to protect worshipers from the rain as they entered the ceremonial structure. Church porches would often be the place where ceremonies and religious processionals began.

More than any other outside element of the home, the front porch holds a huge cultural and social importance. In some neighborhoods, the front porch is the place where neighbors share information, swap gossip, or pass time. Like the front stoop, the front porch carries a significance that extends beyond the individual home. In neighborhoods where many of the homes have a front porch, neighbors take note of varying decoration styles and porch personalities. In fact, the concept of New Urbanism proposes that the presence of a front porch helps create a greater sense of community and, possibly, responsibility within a neighborhood.

Porch styles

Porch styles differ from home to home. The porch is designed to amplify the home’s architectural style. Some homes have large porches that extend the length of the home (and may actually have a second story) and others have a very minimal, and small, porch. In Ranch-style homes, where the main entrance is at ground level, the porch may simply be a covered patio. For homes in which the main entrance is several steps above ground level, the front porch becomes an architectural feature designed to add balance and symmetry to the home.

Plantation homes in the south are known for their large front porches, sometimes called verandas. The veranda often extends the entire faade of the home and sometimes wraps around the sides of the house. In some parts of the country it is common to see screened-in porches. This is usually seen in warm climates that are prone to bugs or mosquitoes. In these instances, porches usually have half-walls around the perimeter of the porch, and screen windows complete the rest of the wall. For homes without air-conditioning, these screened-in porches can become sleeping porches perfect for sleeping through hot summer nights in a protected, bug-free room. In winter months, these screens may be covered completely with glass windows so homeowners can continue to use the space despite the cold temperatures.

What we find on a typical porch

The porch is usually large enough to hold several people while they enter the home and some porches are large enough to hold sofas, rocking chairs or other seating. There are classic pieces of furniture like the porch swing or porch chair as well as containers and potted plants. Functional items like a mailbox, house numbers, porch lights, ceiling fans, umbrella stand, welcome mat and shoe stand might also be present.

Tips for maintaining the porch

Maintaining the porch structure is an important part of home ownership. For many homes, the front porch is the main entrance to the home, so ensuring that stairs, handrails and other elements are safe is very important. Elevated porches can offer the ideal location for animals to make their homes under and wood porches are often subject to termite damage. Railings and banisters should also be checked for sturdiness year after year. For significant work, be sure to hire a professional who understands building construction and safety.

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