A porch is a structural piece of your home that not only acts as the entrance to the home, but also adds curb appeal. When deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional for your porch remodel, consider first what type of tasks you will need to complete. One of the main reasons why individuals challenge themselves to DIY a porch remodel is to save money. Some tasks are rather simple in nature that it would be a waste of money to hire a professional for the labor to be done. For many projects, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort by getting your hands dirty, you can save money.
Although DIY projects can be empowering and rewarding experiences that give you a more personal investment in your home, if you believe the project is out of your skill range, it can be beneficial to you as a homeowner in the long run to hire a professional. To help you better understand what kind of porch remodel projects you may be dealing with, here are a couple types that are either DIY or professional.
Common porch types
1. Front/back porch
A front/back porch are similar in concept, but can be different in look and size, as well as on opposing sides of the house. A front porch is most often right off the front door, that offers a small covered, stepped cement area with room for potted flowers or decorations. A back porch can be a wooden deck with tables and seating for a place to gather. Pro tip: If your front porch is a smaller entrance to your home, add flowers and foliage, light fixtures, or a two person bench to add curb appeal in a limited area.
2. Screened porch
A screened-in porch can either be in the front or back of your home. At times some homes have a sunroom in the front entrance, which can act as a mud room or relaxation area between the outside and inside of the house. A screened porch most often is built as a covering for protection from insects and pests while providing the feeling of being outdoors. Pro tip: Add an exterior ceiling fan to keep cool outdoors while adding a touch of ambiance and functionality to your screened porch.
3. Wraparound porch
If your home has the space available, a wraparound porch can be a great feature to add. This type of porch will wrap entirely around your home enabling greater accessibility to the outside. If your home overlooks a view, a wraparound porch can enable you to have many vantage points. Pro tip: Add a swing to the best viewpoint on your wraparound porch to offer a place to sit and enjoy the scenery.
When to DIY
While you might think building a porch is outside of your skill set, some less complex porch remodels can easily be done as DIY projects. If you’re looking to touch up your porch by re-staining the wood or installing new railings, a DIY porch remodel may be just right for you and your home. When choosing to DIY, it’s important to lay out all the materials and equipment you will need. If the costs are minimal and the labor is less extensive, a DIY porch project will save you money. But if you believe your project is outside your skill set and your remodel or addition may require rental equipment or a professional’s expertise, hand over your project to a contractor.
Your DIY porch remodel has more than just financial benefits. Working on a project yourself can be great exercise, both for the mind and the body as your porch remodel can teach you new skills when it comes to remodeling that you can further take on to more projects in the future. Working in your outdoor space is also often a family-friendly activity. For instance, adding a flower box onto your porch is just the kind of project any age can help with. This enables everyone involved to get to learn a little more about the natural world and could also be a memorable experience.
Dramatic alterations to the structure of your home, however, aren’t so approachable, and you’ll need to use your best judgment to determine whether the DIY route is really your wisest choice.
When to hire a professional
The danger of DIY is getting in over your head. Not only could you waste time and money biting off more than you can chew, you might actually be putting yourself or your family in physical danger. Deciding to hire a professional depends on your goals for the project. Ask yourself if your project will involve tasks you can’t or shouldn’t handle on your own. Some of these include the following:
- removal of large trees or stumps
- installation of new wiring, plumbing, or gas lines
- major changes to the structure of your home
- work that requires permits in your area
These are cases where you need to embrace caution and allow professionals who have the appropriate tools and knowledge to complete the job for you. If you’re the adventurous sort and you want to proceed anyway, be sure to educate yourself thoroughly on the possible consequences of your choices before you jump in with both feet. Getting your project wrong, even a porch remodel, can have serious consequences on top of added delays and extra costs due. Remember that protecting your home during your remodel is your top priority. A professional porch remodeler will have experience in the safe use of the tools involved in this kind of project. Precise measurement and reading blueprints are just a few of the skills a professional contractor can bring to your job.
Your porch remodeling project, when completed, must pass a code of standards determined by your local government. Many cities in the US won’t even let a project go forward without required permits. But these standards aren’t there to be an encumbrance. A porch remodel that’s built to code will be safe and durable. Remodeling your porch to code also ensures the resale value of your home. In fact, many mortgage lenders won’t even approve a loan for a property that isn’t up to code. Contractors can handle all the documentation and permits necessary, saving you time and headaches familiarizing yourself with regulations, which the professional should already be very comfortable with.
Before beginning your porch remodel, look into whether your remodel is best fit to DIY or hire a contractor to do the job for you. To start planning your porch remodel, scrapbook your project ideas on Porch.
Top Image Credit: Witt Construction