Building a Porch? Avoid These Common Issues 

Are you building a new porch to your home?  Do you know the common question to ask yourself if you are in the beginning stages of building a porch?  Or maybe you have heard about common issues that come up from friends and family that have had a bad experience with a contractor.  From simple composite decks to much more complicated porch & hardscape projects and everything in between, Outback Deck has been helping clients around north metro Atlanta in improving their outdoor living space since 2010 – and we know what questions to ask.   Although decks are typically a much simpler process, we have developed a very specific design process when it comes to building porches and other complicated projects.  This thorough process helps our clients avoid issues that are unfortunately all too common in the home improvement industry, which you may have experienced some of these renovation issues in the past yourself.  

‘The customer deserves to have it done right’ 

The main frustrations we hear from homeowners on why previous projects with other contractors weren’t as enjoyable as they could have been, include issues around miscommunication and surprises, unrealized expectations, and unforeseen extra costs, just to name a few.  With this in mind, years of experience has gone into creating a design process that consistently delivers a 5 star experience for our clients.  So how we’ve learned to avoid these issues is by taking more time on the front end to help design a project that ensures our clients know exactly what they’re getting, and the costs associated for the different options, before making a significant deposit in the project.  

“Well it’s just a porch, isn’t it? How complicated can it be?”  

When it comes to any outdoor living space, the number of variables in design options and selections available is nearly endless.  Beyond this, the structural and cosmetic aspects of effectively connecting a porch to the home while considering existing windows, doors, roof, siding etc. is of utmost importance.  Having the porch function as a seamless extension from the house is a key goal, while structural integrity and safety of building the project correctly are critical components of effective design.  

As an example, when it comes to design options, here are four seemingly similar porch patio projects to take a look at…

While all of these porches are similar in concept, each are quite unique based on the client’s taste and specific goals in how they plan to use the space.  While they all may solve the problem of blocking the elements, one may wish to keep the view as open as possible, and others prefer screens to keep out bugs as the priority.  

Ultimately each porch is finished very differently and is customized to each person’s home and goals they have with the space. While these clients were all thrilled with the delivered project, without working through the design process on the front end, the end result could have been much different than expected.   As mentioned earlier, effective design also helps mitigate unrealized expectations and unforeseen extra costs.  With any remodel construction project, there is a chance for hidden unknowns, but proper planning and design certainly helps to avoid these issues when at all possible.  Let’s take the following example…  

In this scenario, the client contracts with ‘Chuck in a Truck’ to add a roof over their existing deck, but fine details weren’t discussed or included in the project scope. The client assumed it would be handled one way, ‘Chuck’ assumed it was to be completed differently…  

The client gives ‘Chuck’ a 50% deposit to get started (another no-no), and once he’s “done”, asks for the remaining balance. The client is standing in their new porch looking up at the picture on the left of an unfinished ceiling and chimney area. The homeowner assumed there finished area would look like the picture on the right, but unfortunately the extra time was not put in on the front end to ensure clarity. Now Chuck is telling the homeowner that ‘if you want it finished like that, it will cost $5k more’.   

It’s not a fun spot to be in, which is why it’s so important to spend the extra time on the front end to avoid these kind of issues. This is your project, and a good design team will work with you to help you with product options and build considerations to ensure the end product that’s built, is exactly what you’ve dreamed.   

 Our trained Solution Specialists, in-house Designer and Project Manager will meet with you to learn about your goals of the space, review the site layout and take detailed measurements to ensure that what you want done can be done (feasibly). From there, we’ll take this information back to the office and design detailed 3D renderings from all angles, allowing you to see exactly what this space will look like once complete.  We’ll then work with you on choosing the design & product selections to help you with budgeting the investment of what makes most sense for your goals.  

Watch: The Hoffman’s share their experience working with ODI’s design build process. 

Whoever you choose to partner with on this type of project, be sure to do your due diligence and don’t rush into a contract.  To help avoid the issues discussed above, use caution with any contractor that may provide a quote without going through a process like the one highlighted above. Other red flags to keep an eye on are if a contractor requests a large deposit before performing any work, isn’t licensed/insured, or one that wants to skip the permitting process (or asks you to pull it), to name a few.  Contractor stiffs homeowner after taking $16k leaving unfinished deck. (Article) 

 If you’re in Cobb, Cherokee, North Fulton or Forsyth counties and are considering a project like this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a visit and we would be glad to help you navigate this process! 

About Outback Deck, Inc.

Outback Deck, Inc. brings inspiration to outdoor living spaces. We believe if you have an outdoor space, you should WANT to spend time in it.  Outback is committed to serving our customers in Cobb, Cherokee and the surrounding areas.  Our commitment to providing the best customer experience and creating outstanding value in your new deck or porch is unmatched in the industry.  For more information, please visit  life happens out back


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