A new porch can be one of the most gratifying additions you can make to a house — a place for greeting guests, enjoying summer evenings and drinking lemonade. The average cost to build a porch really depends on what type of porch you want. Costs can range from a couple hundred dollars for a slab of concrete and a rail, to $30,000 or more for a fully enclosed wrap-around porch. Your choice of materials and whether or not you hire a contractor also affect the price.
A New Porch on a Budget
A do-it-yourselfer on a budget should be able to build a basic 4-by-4-foot porch for under $200. The base can be made from wood, or from a few bags of concrete with the edges reinforced with rebar. To build a larger 10-by-10-foot porch with a concrete base, you might want to consider having a cement truck deliver and pour the concrete for you. The concrete alone for a porch this size will cost between $500 and $1,350, depending on what kind of deal you can get on the concrete. For example, you may be able to get them to deliver yours after a larger job.
Screened-In Porches with Roofs
Building a screened-in porch with a roof is much more of an undertaking than a basic concrete or wood platform with a rail. It is unlikely you can build such a porch without a building permit from your municipal building code office. If you are able to build on an existing concrete slab, this will save you at least $1,000. Again, the size of your porch, the quality of materials and whether you hire a contractor will all affect the price. The materials for a small porch on an existing concrete slab, 6 feet long and 4 feet wide, supported by beams with a shingle roof should be accomplished for less than $1,000. A wrap-around porch with screens and windows can cost up to $30,000.
The price of prefabricated porch depends on the model, size and shipping. A typical prefab porch consists of screened windows and a roof. A medium-sized prefab porch can cost about $10,000 to $20,000. Shipping can cost anywhere between $650 to $1,000, depending on the distance it is being shipped and the weight of the components. In some cases, you can get free shipping when the retailer has a sale. These are usually designed to be assembled by a homeowner, so if you want someone to put it together for you, you'll have to add the cost of a contractor to your budget, too.
DIY vs. Contractors
Before starting any project, it's important to contact your municipal building code office to see if the law requires you to hire a licensed contractor for all or parts of the project. If you are permitted to do the work yourself, this could trim your budget in half. However, an experienced contractor should be able to do the work in less than half the time it would take someone who has never built a porch before.
Getting quotes from three contractors will help ensure you get your money's worth. The local Better Business Bureau can tell you what their reputations are like and the building code office can tell you if they are licensed to work in your city or county. You can also check reviews on sites like Angie's List and Thumbtack to see what previous customers say about their work.
A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.