Wooden Porches and Decks 101

wood porch chicago

It’s the time of year when the weather is starting to turn warmer and everyone is beginning to get excited about spending more time outside. What better way to spend time outside than with a beautiful porch or deck addition? At Archway, we specialize in building wooden porches and decks for Chicago homeowners who need an outdoor space to enjoy in the warmer months.

Here are some of the most important elements to be aware of when adding a wooden porch or deck to your home.

What’s the difference between porches and decks?

Porches usually have more finished flooring than decks, and unlike decks, they also have a finished roof attached to them. A porch’s supporting posts are both  structural and decorative. These posts can be columns or boxed-in 4 x 4s with bases and capitals fashioned from molding. Balustrades and knee walls are also very common in porch design, and these are typically finished with paint, shingles, or stucco.

Another difference between porches and decks is that you can furnish a porch with pieces that wouldn’t be able to stand up to a beating from the elements. Wooden tables and chairs, real wicker, and upholstered furniture will all fare better on a porch than they would on a deck.

Porch and Deck Location

Porches and decks can be really great additions, as long as they don’t cause problems with the rest of the home. The biggest issue homeowners run into when considering a porch addition is directly correlated to daylight. A back porch may significantly reduce daylight in the kitchen, or a front porch could cut off daylight to the living room.

Wooden decks are typically located at the back of the home for privacy reasons. Since decks don’t often have a roof attached to them, daylight is usually not a big concern. That is unless you are planning to add a pergola to your deck, in which case there may be some daylight concerns that will dictate location.


Wood Porch and Deck Construction

The importance of good construction when building a wooden porch or deck is paramount because of safety reasons. A well-built porch or deck should hold up for many years, while a poorly-built one could collapse or break down quickly. The type of wood you use is also important for construction, because different types of wood behave differently when it comes to both climate and durability.

What kind of wood is used?

There are several different types of wood that work great for building porches and decks. The type of wood you choose is based on the durability you need and the type of climate you live in. It also depends on if you are building a porch or a deck, because there is a difference. Decks almost always require weather treatment, as they do not have a roof above them to protect from the elements.

The different types of wood that are most commonly used for porches and decks are:

Mahogany – mahogany is a tight-grained tropical hardwood that resists pests and rot, also a beautiful-looking wood

Ipé – bug- and rot-resistant, and the wood is so hard, it’s nearly as difficult to burn as concrete

Western Red Cedar – reddish in color, holds up well in rain, sun, heat, and cold

Redwood – a redwood deck will resist rot, but will look more attractive if you use a sealer

Mock Lumber – there are synthetic versions of wood used for decking that are virtually bug-proof and rot proof, but even the most realistic imitation will still just be an imitation and not as beautiful as real wood

Wooden front porch can make can improve your curb appeal.

The best way to make sure your porch or deck is properly constructed is to hire the professionals. Our seasoned porch and deck builders understand the importance of great construction and will build a beautiful and safe wooden porch or deck for your Chicago home.