Q: I have a ranch-style home with a front porch that is not deep enough — certainly not deep enough for these old bones to enjoy a rocking chair from which to spy on my neighbors. It also has a concrete walkway from the street leading to very narrow and steep concrete steps. All of this has been painted an ugly shade of rust. So it’s time for an upgrade.

I’m wondering if the porch’s depth can be increased. If not, could a wooden porch be built over it to the correct depth? If none of these is viable, I could hire someone to demo the stairs and rebuild them, depending on the cost. Finally, can brick veneer or some sort of tiled stone be laid over the concrete porch, steps and pathway to improve the appearance?

The porch is approximately 10 feet long and 4 feet deep. I’m willing to have someone do the stonework, if it doesn’t cost me my 401(k).

I suppose if worse comes to worse, I could paint the whole thing and put my rocker on the back patio.

A: You don’t have to be relegated to the backyard. A porch extension is definitely doable.

The best way to increase the depth of your porch is by adding a concrete extension. Secure the extension to the existing structure by connecting it to the old porch with steel rebar set into the old slab and protruding into the new. Holes are drilled into the side of the existing concrete porch, and pieces of rebar are cemented in place with fast-drying Portland cement. The extension will be supported by a concrete retaining wall with a footing set into the ground on the outside edges.

This is a big job that requires a building permit. Make a trip to your local building department to see what they require. Expect to submit a plan and possibly blueprints.

You could also cover the porch with a wooden deck. This would probably be the least expensive alternative. The only stumbling block we can see is that you may not have enough clearance at the threshold of the front door for the decking to rest below the threshold. We would shy away from this solution. Our thought is that it would look like what it is — a wood deck tacked onto an older house. We think it would make your house the ugly stepsister in the neighborhood.

Doing a total demolition and rebuild in either wood or concrete is the most expensive option. It’s also the most straightforward. Essentially you would be removing the old and starting with a clean slate.

Covering the existing porch, steps and walkway with a brick or stone veneer is certainly doable, but that doesn’t solve the depth problem. To view stone and brick options, a masonry supplier is the place to go. Avoid the big box stores.

Our best suggestion is to pour a concrete extension and face the old and new with stone or brick veneer. The stone will cover the seam of the extension and rebuilding the stairway will allow an entry that is less steep.

Make sure not to short yourself on the width of the porch. You need to have plenty of room for your rocker so you can survey the goings-on in the neighborhood.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription