How to Build a Porch on an Existing Ranch Style Home

Building a porch on an existing ranch-style home is a big project, but it brings big rewards to the ambitious DIYer. Through building and remodeling, your home can become your dream home. Porches create attractive, inviting outdoor spaces and add architectural detail to your home that will increase both value and curb appeal. Build a porch onto your existing home that will match well with the rest of the house, and soon you may wonder how you ever lived without it.

Porches add a homey touch to ranch-style homes.

Step 1

Measure the area where you will build the porch. To make the job easier, plan to build a square or rectangular porch.

Step 2

Determine how much lumber you need based on your measurements. The thickness of frame, in inches, should equal the number of feet in the porch's overall length. For example, if your porch is 10 feet long you should build your porch frame using 2-by-10s.

Step 3

Remove the trim and siding from the part of the house where you will attach the porch, if necessary, using a power drill and crowbar.

Step 4

Cover the exposed wall with self-adhering waterproof membrane. Cut away the excess with a knife.

Step 5

Mark the spot with a chalk line where the top of the deck will meet the wall.

Step 6

Divide the length of the wall by 2 after rounding up to the next whole foot. Cut this many 1 1/2 inch thick wood spacers, 2 inches long, and attach them every two feet below the chalk line using 6d nails.

Step 7

Cut 2 2-by-6 pieces of wood to the length of the porch. Nail them together evenly and attach them to the chalk line wall, aligning them with the tops of the spacers and nailing them into the spacers with the nails. The long, thick piece of wood is your ledger board, and a source of support for the porch.

Step 8

Drill 3 1/2 inch holes into the ledger board at every spacer using the power drill.

Step 9

Insert 1/2 inch lag screws and washers into each hole.

Step 10

Cut another piece of the waterproof membrane to the length of the ledger, 6 inches wide.

Step 11

Fold the length of membrane lengthwise to form a right angle and attach it to the top of the ledger board with nails.

Step 12

Place roof flashing over the membrane and any gap that remains between the finished house wall and the ledger board, and nail into place with roofing nails.

Step 13

Mark the two corners opposite the ledger board by sticking wooden stakes into the ground at each spot. Place a stake between these two markers every 8 feet along the line that will be the front edge of the porch.

Step 14

Dig a hole, approximately 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep, at each stake with a shovel.

Step 15

Place cardboard forms, shaped as cylinders, into each hole. The top of the forms should be level with the bottom of the ledger board.

Step 16

Fill each form with cement and allow it to stand for at least 24 hours.

Step 17

Drill 1-inch holes into the center of each concrete footer once the cement has set.

Step 18

Place anchor bolts inside each hole in the footers.

Step 19

Build the frame of the deck using 2-by-10 pieces of wood (or another width based on your own measurements) that you nail together. The frame will serve as the outside edges of the porch. Attach the front edge of the frame to the anchor bolts on the footers. The end of each side rail should bolt into the ledger board. The ledger board will serve as the back edge of the porch frame.

Step 20

Nail double-joist hangers to the inside of each side rail, spaced every 2 feet. Nail hangers along the front board and the ledger board, one directly in the center and additional hangers every 8 feet. Each hanger should be perfectly in line with the one directly opposite.

Step 21

Place 2-by-10 pieces of wood into the joist hangers along the front and back boards and nail into place using the existing joist hanger holes. Nail joist hangers into these joists, on either side, to match the positioning of the hangers placed along the side rails.

Step 22

Place 2-by-10s, cut to size, into the remaining joists. When you are finished you will have a crosswork of wooden beams, joists, that create the entire support frame for your porch.

Step 23

Attach deck boards, spaced 1/2 inch apart, across the entire length and width of the porch, using deck screws.

Step 24

Paint or stain the wood as desired.


  • Wear eye protection when using power tools.
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