Freeman Exteriors

How to Build a Porch Roof

how to build a porch roof

Do you have a lovely porch that you would absolutely love to sit on- if only it weren’t out in the sun all day? Have you been thinking of getting a little shade on there, but you just don’t know how to build a porch roof?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll explain to you how to build a new roof for your front porch, one feature at a time. We’ll even explain some maintenance tips to keep in mind once your porch roof has been completed. All you need to do is keep reading.

How to Build a Porch Roof

The home construction process, no matter how small the addition, is never just a one-step process. Starting a home improvement project takes a lot of supplies. It also takes plenty of thought and planning to make it work.

If you are planning on building a new roof for your porch, then you need to take it one step at a time.

First, think about the information you’ll need to have. Read this article thoroughly before beginning; don’t try to use it as a follow-along guide. You should also look at a handful of other articles – the more information you have, the better your project will turn out.

Come up with a careful plan for how to tackle this project and gather all the materials you’ll need before you begin. 

Being careful about your home improvement now will make sure you build a lasting porch roof. It will also cause you less energy and effort during the process of building.

Considerations Before Building

Before you ever start building a porch roof, you need to come up with a solid plan for how to handle the project. 

First, you should know the rise and run of your home’s roof so you can determine where to place the rise and run of your porch roof. This will allow you to decide how tall of a ceiling you need. If you need more options, consider raising your porch roof or lowering the ceiling.

Next, determine how much of an electricity requirement you have. Do you need more porch lights or a fan over your porch? You could even think about putting in a receptacle so you don’t have to worry about extension cords.

Finally, make sure to decide what roofing materials you want to use. The type of roof covering material you use is limited by the unit rise number of your house. 

If your unit rise is three, you are limited to only asphalt in many areas. If it’s four or more, however, you are free to use whatever you like.

Know What You’ll Need

You will need a lot of materials depending on what type of roof you’re building- even if you are building a simple roof

At the very least, you’ll need a few different types of wood in various sizes. We recommend at least four-by-fours, two-by-fours, and two-by-eights. The length of these sections of wood is dependent on what kind of porch roof you are planning on building.

In addition, you’ll need screws, heavy-duty bolts, and roofing tacks. You may also need plywood and roofing felt to cover the plywood.

Remember: the materials listed above are just the materials needed to build the simplest roof possible. If you are wanting to build a more complex roof, then the list of supplies will be longer. This is why we recommend looking at multiple sources so you can get an idea of exactly what materials you need to get your home improvements done. 

Always Remember Safety

Building a porch roof takes a lot of heavy-duty materials and power tools, as well as tools that are just risky to use, such as a ladder. Before you ever start building your roof, make sure that you know how to use the tools you will need.

Your safety is the most essential part of any home improvement project. Doing your research thoroughly and receiving training will help cut down on the potential injuries you could receive.

Always make sure to only work at your best. If you feel subpar, it could lead to making an error in judgment. Or it could lead to slower reaction times that could make you fail to avoid being injured.

Finally, never work when the weather is risky. Rain or snow will make it hard to climb onto a ladder and can damage your visibility. Even extremely windy days carry their own dangers.

Don’t forsake safety to speed up finishing a project. Injuries will delay you more than waiting for a better day to work will.

Start With the Ledger Board

The ledger board is also known as the header board. You need to install these first. This is because the header board determines the level that your porch roof will be at – it is a guideline for everything else.

Since the ledger board is a guideline for the entire roof, it’s absolutely crucial that this board is placed accurately. Make sure to double or even triple-check that it’s at the height you want it to be. You also need to make sure this board is placed level.

The ledger board holds up a lot of material, as it holds your entire porch roof. Make sure you use heavy-duty screws or bolts so that the ledger board is securely fastened to the wall.

As you do this, keep your personal safety in mind – make sure you’re working in such a way that avoids you being injured.


Once you have finished making sure the header board is secure, then you are ready to move on to the rafters. This needs to be the second step, as the two often go hand-in-hand. 

Properly installing rafters takes a bit more work than installing the ledger board. You need to make right-angled cuts in the wood known as bird mouths. These cuts allow the underside of the rafters to lie flat along the wood.

You should add the rafters to the ledger board by starting on both sides and eventually meeting in the center, making sure they are all positioned straight. Later on, these rafters will be used to lay beams down.

When affixing the rafters to the ledger board, you need to use some items known as joist hangers. These are meant to go beneath the rafter and add support to the wood.

Support Posts

Support posts are one of the most vital parts of building a porch roof. While about half of the weight of the roof is supported by the ledger board, support posts will be responsible for the other half. 

As a result, it is important that the support posts are built to be sturdy. We recommend using at least four-by-fours if the roof you’re building is simple. If you’re building a more complex roof, you may want to go with six-by-six wood with concrete footers.

You should have a support post at least every eight feet. 

Once all your support posts are fixed in place, then you are in the right position to lay the header beam down. This beam is held in place by the support posts. It should be a little higher than the ledger board, but parallel to its position.

Setting the Roof

Once all of the support posts are in place, it is time to set the roof. You lay the beams down, fastening them to the rafters on one side and the support posts on the other. 

When the beams are all in place, they should make a frame. You can put something known as a fascia board in this position. Fascia boards are long, straight boards that run along the lower edge of a roof.

By now, you’re almost done completing your new roof! You can insulate your roof with plywood. The plywood is supposed to be fastened down to the roof between the roofing material and the fascia board.

Finally, if you are planning on installing lighting, do so according to the plan that you have crafted. Then, all that is left is the roofing material.


The shingles are meant to be the finishing touch on your roof. They should match the rest of your house as closely as possible so that the work on your porch roof blends in. 

This is partially why you want to be so careful with the rise and run of your roof. As stated previously, how high your rise unit is determines what kind of material you can use for your shingles.

If the rest of your house has wooden shingles and you can only use asphalt shingles, your porch roof will look out of place. Make sure your math checks out so that you can have your choice of materials.

In addition, research what materials there are so you can decide which fits best with your roof! Each material has its own costs, strengths, and weaknesses. Find out what works for you.

What if I Don’t Want to Do the Work?

If you don’t want to do the work of building a porch roof, then you can always look for someone to contract the work out to. If you’re hiring contractors to do the work, however, then you need to know how to find the right one.

The first thing that you need to do when looking for a contractor is to make sure they are licensed and insured. Any contractor should be able to provide proof of both. This will help you to make sure that they’re properly qualified.

The next thing that you can do is to check the customer reviews and get recommendations from people you know. Make sure to get a wide range of opinions so that your knowledge of the company is varied, not biased one way or another.

Reading the customer reviews also lets you know how each contractor does their work. This means you can find a contractor you truly click with.

Finally, make sure you get several quotes. This gives you an average price range to go by, as well as making sure you aren’t being overcharged for average service.

Keeping Porch Roof in Good Condition

Once you’re done building your porch roof, you need to know the right ways to maintain your roof. You want to keep your porch roof and the roof over the rest of your house in the best conditions possible.

One of the biggest things that you can do to maintain your roof is to get leaks fixed as soon as possible. Leaks are very small problems that, if left unfixed, can cause all kinds of water damage inside your house. Make checking and repairing leaks part of your regular routine.

Another thing you should do regularly is clean your gutters and drainage pipes. Not cleaning these allows damage to pile up and adds weight onto your roof, making it less structurally sound.

Once a year, you should schedule a roof inspection. This will allow professionals to point out and repair minor problems before they lead to needing an entire roof replacement. Choose a professional who knows to check for signs of mold or rot.

Finally, you should make sure to clean your roof regularly. This will make it last longer and need less repairs. In addition, cleaning your roof also keeps heating and A/C costs down, as mold and algae on roofs absorb heat.

Get an Estimate Today

Now that you know how to build a porch roof, you’re prepared to get started building the perfect one for your house. In the meantime, if there are any services you need that we can provide, feel free to reach out to us.

We offer services such as roof repair and replacement, siding, gutter guards, and windows. If any of these catches your eye, you can get an estimate from us.

Save yourself some work and reach out to us for an estimate! Let us help you out today.

Jake Freeman

Jake Freeman

Freeman Exteriors is a family owned and operated general contracting company. We specialize in roofing and commercial renovations. We serve Champaign County, Vermilion County, including Champaign, Danville, Paris, IL and Crawfordsville, Covington, West Lafayette, IN and surrounding areas. Our goal is to be the general contractor of choice through our pledge to maintain the highest quality of standards and workmanship. Give us a call today to begin your next project!

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