The owners of this duplex would like to build a larger porch without changing the façade of their house. Can this be done?

Essentially, the architectural style of the house must be preserved. This house is of Arts and Crafts movement inspiration: simple forms, low-incline, double-slope roof, visible rafter ends. The idea is to integrate these elements to the new porch for a balanced look.
The owners of this duplex would like to build a larger porch without changing the façade of their house. Can this be done?

Essentially, the architectural style of the house must be preserved. This house is of Arts and Crafts movement inspiration: simple forms, low-incline, double-slope roof, visible rafter ends. The idea is to integrate these elements to the new porch for a balanced look.

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Colour photo of the house before the project

The house before the integration of a new covered porch.

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


1- Design a porch model that reproduces as closely as possible the details of the original porch.

The width of the new porch must be measured considering the width of the house, the position of the openings, and the owners' needs:
The shape of the existing roof is reproduced to cover the new porch. The style of the risers is reproduced. The porch is set at a distance from the corner of the house to set it apart from the main structure. 2- The symmetry of the façade must be considered

The owners must never forget the main characteristic of a duplex: façade symmetry. The components on each side of the "A" axis should be identical in order to preserve the architectural style of the building.

The concern for maintaining a balanced look also includes other elements:
The porches must have identical forms, dimensions, and positions. The roof of the building and those of the porches are of the same material and slope angle. Read More
1- Design a porch model that reproduces as closely as possible the details of the original porch.

The width of the new porch must be measured considering the width of the house, the position of the openings, and the owners' needs:
  1. The shape of the existing roof is reproduced to cover the new porch.
  2. The style of the risers is reproduced.
  3. The porch is set at a distance from the corner of the house to set it apart from the main structure.
2- The symmetry of the façade must be considered

The owners must never forget the main characteristic of a duplex: façade symmetry. The components on each side of the "A" axis should be identical in order to preserve the architectural style of the building.

The concern for maintaining a balanced look also includes other elements:
  1. The porches must have identical forms, dimensions, and positions.
  2. The roof of the building and those of the porches are of the same material and slope angle.
  3. The architectural details of the porches are identical: posts, railings, lattice work, etc.
  4. The ends of the rafters, visible on the main roof, are also visible on the porch roof.
3- Use wood

Wood and brick combine well. As the doors and windows are made of wood, it is appropriate to use it for the new porch. Wood is a resistant material for posts, railings, and floors.

4- Pay attention to details

To ensure the durability of certain elements of the porch, special attention must be paid to certain details during construction:
  • The direction of the floorboard grain: In order to build a porch floor that will last a long time, it is important to know that, when drying, boards tend to curve in the opposite direction of the grain. It is therefore necessary to place them in the right direction. This way, the water will run off and the floor will last a lot longer.
  • An elegant roof: For a nicer style than the standard metal soffit, a choice was made to use "V" boards. Visible rafter ends would also have been harmonious.
  • A water runoff to ensure drainage: A water runoff is a lengthwise groove underneath the banister which breaks up the course of water drops, forcing them to run along and drop off the banister rather than accumulate and eventually rot the wood. Making a groove with a saw is a simple way to prolong the life of your banisters!
Final Result

The new porch is nicely integrated to the architectural style of the house, adding utility and elegance - a durable, long-term addition!

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Colour photo of the porch before and a sketch of the proposed porch

Current porch model and Proposed porch model

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch of the façade of the house indicating its symmetry

Symmetry of the façade

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


Colour photos of the parts of a wooden porch

Six components of a porch

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


Sketch of the wood grain in the floor boards

Direction of the grain of the floorboards

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


Colour photos of the ceiling of a porch

Ceiling views of a porch

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


Colour photo of a water run-off and a sketch of a close-up view

Photo and close-up view of a water run-off

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


Colour photo of the porch after the project

Close-up of newly-integrated porch

Société d'Histoire du Lac-Saint-Jean

© Société d'histoire du Lac St-Jean, 2004. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • describe the evolution of homes in Canada and the architectural influences that have marked them;
  • compare house styles and materials used in the past with those used today, then identify similarities and differences between them;
  • assess the impact of some materials on the environment and the manufacturing (and architectural style) of houses;
  • explain the influence of history (for example: the Conquest, the Confederation) on the architectural style and its evolution.

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