Your front porch is one of the first things people see when they enter their house. The roofline is a noticeable part of the structure of the front of your home, and as such, it deserves attention. As you fix, modify, or restore the front porch roof, consider some of these front porch ideas. They may provide a starting point for turning the front of your house into a display that hints at beauty within.
1) DIY Gutters
A lot of people don’t use gutters on a porch. After all, it’s not a part of the house roof, so you’re not worried about anything leaking against the house. Unless you have a gable roof with the gable end over the walkway and steps, though, you’ll want gutters. These keep the front walkway and steps from getting soaked every time it rains and keeps people from having to run underneath dripping water as they arrive.
2) Easy Modern Look
If you want a simple and easy way to add a porch roof, you can always look for a porch kit. The big problem with using a kit for a front roof is that you want the front roof to look nice, but a kit probably won’t match the architecture of your house. This kit from The Home Depot creates a clean, modern look. Because it’s white and has clean lines, it won’t interfere with the look of the rest of your house.
3) DIY Curved Roof
Have you ever seen a roof that curled at the ends? This probably seems like an intimidating choice, but if you have a style of house that it’ll look good with, you don’t want to avoid it because you’re not sure how to do it. In this video, Bill Wood and Matt Risinger show you how you can frame a porch to have curls ends. This is great for a French Country home, as they suggest, but if you think it’ll look good, you can build it using this video.
Polycarbonate is a cheap and easy-to-install alternative to a glass roof. It won’t look as nice as a regular porch roof, but it comes with the advantage of being able to see above you when you sit and relax on the front porch. It’s an effective way to keep water off the roof, and if you pick a sleek design like this, it can actually make an attractive modern-looking roof. If your house has a lot of dark colors or a modern design, a roof like this one’ll fit right in.
5) Copper-Plated Rain Chains
Your front porch roof will need gutters to keep the rain off the sidewalk, but let’s face it, gutters aren’t exactly the prettiest thing to put on your house. If you want to make your gutters look a little more decorative, though, try replacing the downspouts with these rain chains. The rain travels down them like downspouts, but instead of a typical, ugly material, you see a copper-plated chain dangling from the roof and reflecting sunlight. These are rust-resistant, so they should keep their shine for a long time, and become a functional part of your decor.
6) Two Styles
Your front porch roof doesn’t have to be restricted to two styles. For example, you can have a flat roof in one section to make a comfortable place to sit and enjoy yourself, and a gable roof in front of the stairs to keep water from running down onto the stairs and making them slippery. A common reason for doing this is to have a gable for the stairway, like in this picture, but you can also do this to separate a screen porch and unscreened porch, or to otherwise create multiple distinct areas of your front porch.
7) Monogram and Initials For Gable End
Your front porch is probably the closest part of the house to the road, and it’s one of the first things people will see as they approach. As such, it should represent you and the residents of the household. Since you probably have a gable somewhere on your front porch, you have a small space on the gable to put decorations, or in this case, letters. Add a family name sign and monogram like this one to your gable end to tell people whose house they’re approaching.
8) Fish Downspout
If you don’t have a gable roof, or if you do have one, but water still runs off onto a walkway or stairs, you’ll need gutters. Since gutters can be unsightly, you can turn them into decorations by adding decorative feet like these fish-shaped ones to the downspouts. While these don’t go on your roof, the decorative downspout ends are an important part of planning your porch roof and gutter structure. If the downspouts are in a visible area with little landscaping, you’ll want to hide them with these.
9) DIY Gable End
Gable roofs are a great idea for front porches. They cause rain to pour off the sides instead of dripping down onto pathways. Unfortunately, every new addition creates the potential for leaks. Whether you’re building a gable roof for the porch or adding a gable over the front porch entryway, you’ll need to design your roof cricket or saddle to keep leaks from appearing. The roof cricket or saddle refers to the place where the gabled roof meets another roof. Check out this how-to article to learn how to build your own, or hire a contractor.
10) Motion Activated Light
Motion-activated lights are a great way to keep your porch secure, and on a front porch, they serve a dual purpose. If you get callers late at night, this porch light will activate and let you know. If you have a gable over your walkway, you can attach this motion-activated light to it. Otherwise, it may have to go on the side of the house instead of the roof. Either way, the fixture is weatherproof and should stand the test of time.
11) Overall Effect on the House
Since your front porch is part of your house’s first impression, you want it to match the look of the rest of the house. We suggest you take it one step further and use the porch to connect different levels of roofs in the house structure like the builder did on the house in this photo. This porch roof is done in the same style as the overhang on the upper window, and it ties into an area with different siding. These elements make the left and right sides of the house blend together more. Does your home need this?
12) Turtle Downspout
If your front porch doesn’t have a gable to let the water run off the sides, you’ll need gutters to keep the rain away from your walkway and stairs. Since gutters can be ugly, you’ll want something to cover the downspouts and make the gutters overall look more decorative. This cute turtle decoration is a great way to hide the downspout, and your guests will be charmed by the three cute turtles standing atop one another to protect your downspout.
13) DIY Drip Edge
Contractors often don’t include drip edge when they roof a porch, either because it wasn’t included in the bid, or for other reasons. If your porch doesn’t have a drip edge, you may have water damage. If you’re redoing the roof, make sure to add drip edge to the roof this time, or make sure your contractor plans to install it. The drip edge keeps water from rolling around the edge of the roof and getting underneath; instead, it causes the water to drip off the roof, and hopefully, into a gutter to keep it off the walkway.
14) Arch Detail on Gable
Gable roofs are great ideas for front porches because they keep water off the walkway and steps. If you have a gable roof, or plan to build one, though, you’ll need some decoration. Instead of waiting until it’s built and adding little trinkets to the gable, try creating a detail like this one into the gable to make it a beautiful attraction that will be visible from the road. The gable design can be open, like this, or you can have a contractor design you an arched detail that fits your house.
15) Padded Underlayment
Contractors often skip underlayment on a porch, since it’s not the main house roof, but it still serves a purpose on the porch roof. Underlayment is an essential part of waterproofing, and should be put under shingles no matter where the roof is. Depending on where your front porch is, you may want padded underlayment like this to absorb sound. This way, if you have a tree over your porch, you might not hear every pine cone that drops onto it. This’ll create a comfortable place to sit and enjoy your front yard or people-watch.
16) Highlight Roof Details
What does your house siding look like? Is it all one color and pattern, or does it have neat designs like this one? If you have unusual details on your house, you’ll want to use the porch roof to highlight them. Think of it as a way of underlining the existing detail. This means that you want the porch roof to be below any other details, so the details are visible to people on the ground. Take these into account if you’re reframing your porch roof or building a new one, and choose a height and pitch that make sense.
17) Gutter Lights
Your front porch roof will need gutters unless you have a gable roof. Take advantage of these to light the front porch area and deter thieves at night. The lights are automatic, so they’ll always be on at night, and since they’re water-resistant and weather-resistant, they shouldn’t be damaged easily by rain and weather conditions. If you don’t want lights to be on all the time on your porch, consider motion-activated lights instead of light-sensitive ones.
18) Waterproof Light
If you have a gable roof, you’ll want some decoration on it. That said, lights are a good choice of decoration. Lights like this one are attractive, but they also keep the area lit when you’re outside. This’ll deter thieves at night and make it easy to see when you get home if you place it on a gable over the walkway. More than anything, it makes a great decoration, with a traditional lantern look, and the dimmable feature means you can lower the intensity when sitting outside late at night.
19) Trim Details
Gables aren’t the only roof designs that you can add details and decorations to. You can add decorative trim like the trim in this photo by denisbin. Think about the effect this’ll have on your house overall, and whether you want a country look, traditional look, or another style. This’ll affect what trim you choose. On a small house like the one on the photo, the trim will have an extreme effect on the way the house looks.
20) Welcome Sign
Your front porch is the first step to entering your house, so you want people to know they’re welcome. Instead of waiting for them to reach the welcome mat, put a sign like this on your gable end. The sign tells people they’re welcome, and the dragonflies and butterflies give it a colorful look. Since butterflies and dragonflies are common yard decorations, you can add similar decorations around the yard to create a comprehensive theme for the house or the front yard.
21) Solar Panels For House
Solar panels are an oft-discussed type of green energy. Many people want to add them to houses, but are stopped by things like cost and appearance. If you have the money, you can get solar panels that look like shingles, of course, but if not, the panels might not look great. They do show that you support the environment, so visible solar panels aren’t always a bad thing. Ultimately, there are many pros and cons you’ll have to consider before deciding if this is the right idea for you.
Did any of these ideas sound like they’d work in your house? Let us know in the comments below!