Do you worry about someone stepping on your front porch and falling and seriously injuring themselves? Are you looking to sell your home and realtors are telling you the home lacks curb appeal and getting a sale done might take a while? The reality is the front entrance is critically important in the safety, function, and appearance of your home. Here's 7 tips to give this area of your home a makeover which will make it shine:
Tip 1 - Begin with the end in mind - Have a plan - This is not a project you want to wing it. Since you're altering the architectural look of your home most cities and towns will require a building permit (and in some cases you might need to get approval from a local architectural review board). First develop a plan (a birds eye view) and an elevation drawing of what you're looking to do.
Tip 2 - "If it don't fit you must acquit" - Make sure the design fits the home- The design of the porch, roof, and other components needs to compliment the rest of the home. If you have a small home you'll want a small porch. For a larger home you can have a larger structure (or even a wrap around design). See if there are architectural elements to "connect" your design to the home (for example if you have fluted millwork around the door you may want to use fluted columns).
Tip 3 - Choose low maintenance products- Here's your chance - don't allow your home to be a future money pit (and time eater). Find low maintenance products and use them. Consider using fiberglass columns vs. wood columns. Evaluate a vinyl or composite soffit vs. wood bead board. Research metal shingles vs. asphalt.
Tip 4 - Create a safe universal design - "visitable," accessible and secure- Now is the time to consider the future. If you plan to hire a builder or contractor ask them if the design can be wheelchair accessible. Is it possible to have the distance between the stoop and the door threshold 1/4" or less. Can the sides of the door openings be made more secure with a glass block sidelight?
Tip 5 - Don't create a "porch Mahal" - Keep your budget and surrounding property values in mind - It's not a good idea to design and build a palatial Taj Mahal front porch in a modest neighborhood. Estimate your costs, prices and budget. Keep the market value of the project in mind.
Tip 6 - Add some decorative touches - After the construction work is completed go to a home goods store and look for decorative items for the front entrance. Consider a bench, flower pots, rocking chairs etc. If you're unsure what would look best get feedback from an interior designer.
Tip 7 - Still unsure what to do - hire a professional design/build contractor - Sometimes the smartest thing to do is hire a professional from the start. Choose reputable contractors. Check out their grades with the Better Business Bureau and Angie's List.
Now that you're equipped with these 7 tips you're ready to get going on a front porch design that will add curb appeal and safety to your home.