Framing a roof over an existing porch is a fairly quick job with many benefits. Aside from the fact that you will now be able to sit on the porch while it’s raining, the added protection from the elements will greatly increase the life your porch’s floor and structural pieces.
There are three basic types to choose from when framing a porch roof. The first is an awning style. An awning style roof is attached directly to the house and slopes downward at a slight angle to cover the porch.
An awning style roof is generally supported by a beam that is attached to the structure of the house itself, and the several posts that support the outlying part of the roof. The number of posts depends in large part on the size of the porch being covered.
The second style of roof is a standard peaked roof. Framing a porch roof in this style is a little bit more technically involved than the awning style. If you were to choose a peaked roof, then at the very least you would need to construct rudimentary walls to support the rafters.
As a rule, these rafters are spaced 24 inches apart, but in some parts of the country, local building codes require that they be placed 16 inches apart.
You could also consider a hip roof. Framing a porch roof with this style gives the porch a dynamic look, and fits in well with the architecture of many older homes. However, hip roofs are much more difficult to construct and a licensed architect should draw up the plans for a hip roof. There are too many angles and weight ratios that need to be figured to try to do it on your own.
There are several tools that you will need to have if you are going to complete this project on your own. A circular saw is an absolute must. You will use this to cut all of the lumber for framing a porch roof to the proper length. It will also be used to cut the plywood that you use for the decking material.
You will also need an accurate measuring tool and pencil. A standard measuring tape usually works very well, but some folks prefer to use a folding rule. Along side your measuring tool, you will need to have a good 6’ level. This is crucial to making sure that your roof is sitting level so that the water and snow can flow off in the proper manner.
Finally, you will need a hammer and nails. A 12d nail is the minimum recommended size, while a 16d is the more popular size to use when framing a porch roof. Be sure to use a concrete coated or a galvanized nail to prevent it from rusting out.
photo by Neo Saguaro -CreativeCommons attribution