Take time to protect and maintain your porch to ensure that it lasts for many years as an outdoor part of your home. A front porch is a great place to enterain or just enjoy a good book. However, you must also take the time to maintain it and protect from the elements such as the sun, rain, and snow.
Sizes and Styles
Front porches are not just one-size-fits-all. A basic porch may serve as a simple landing for a stairway from the street, while other models are more elaborate.
- Wrap Around Porch - These are grand in both size and impact. They can add dozens of square feet of usable living space, and they look great when finished.
- Screened-In Porch - A simpler style, these are usually a basic square or rectangle. Some parts may be screened while others are exposed.
Stains are available in a countless number of colors. It is a good idea to stain your porch wood—even pressure-treated wood—every few years, at least. The stain will form a protective bond over the decking, rails and other exposed surfaces, preventing water from getting inside.
If not using a stain, cover your outdoor wood with a good paint designed for exterior use. Reapply fresh coats every few years or when you notice chipping or other damage.
Spray Bug Repellent
If left to their own devices, termites and ants will cause a lot of damage to your porch. To combat them, spray bug repellent around the perimeter of your porch at least twice a year, in the spring and the fall. Consider hiring a professional exterminator to preempt pest infestations.
Install an Awning
A retractable awning can add an instant impact to the protection of your porch. Not only will it lower the temperature, making the area more comfortable, but it will also shade portions of your porch. Keep in mind that exposure to the sun can cause dry rot in your porch wood.
Lay Down Floor Covering
New models of outdoor carpeting and rugs are made from weather-resistant materials to protect wood from water, dirt and sun. Available in many colors and styles, they can match any decor. Lay small rugs over high-traffic areas like staircases, before doorways and underneath a porch swing.
Add Lattice Skirting
A porch is typically built above the ground level, leaving an open space underneath. Animals can crawl under the porch and dig holes for homes, which can cause damage to the home as well as the porch. Install some lattice around the perimeter of the porch to keep small animals out. This will also provide a barrier of protection from accumulating elements, like leaves and snow.
Install a Screen
A screen will provide comfort and also protect the porch against several other problems. Birds, bats, and hornets like to build their nests under eaves and in dark, unexposed places. Installing a screening system will keep these animals out.