Porch Design

Design Ideas for Your Columbia SC porch


For homeowners ready to add a covered porch or screened porch to their home, there is good news! As your Columbia-area porch designer and builder, we offer a wealth of custom porch design options. Whether you are looking to achieve a rustic vibe or a more formal feel for your porch, we have you covered (no pun intended).


When it comes to planning certain elements of porch design, structural requirements are often a factor. Archadeck of Central SC strives not only to meet all structural requirements for porch design, but to exceed them. Quality, beauty and function are our goals with everything we build, but they are not our only goals. Your safety is our top priority!

Traditional or Formal?

The look and feel of a traditional “rustic” porch is a draw for many homeowners. It takes many of us back to childhoods spent at the family fishing lodge or even summer camp. Rustica, farmhouse or cottage (as this style is often called) has become quite popular in porch design. These design ideas include exposed rafter ceilings, bead board, natural wood accents and wooden railings and floors. An integrated fireplace also adds to the charm of this pastoral design style.


While rustic remains one of our most popular genres of porch design, we also get requests for more formal porch designs. Formality can be defined by elements like flat ceilings or those with closed rafters, Roman-style columns and sleek composite railings. Some homeowners opt to paint the ceiling of their formal porch. Among the favored colors for porch ceilings is “haint blue.”

>Learn more about blue porch ceilings in our feature post, Have you ever wondered why you often see the interior of a porch ceiling painted blue?

— This formal porch design features elaborate columns, a painted ceiling and hardwood flooring.

Porches With or Without Columns?


Columns in a porch design can be decorative, supportive, or both. Supportive columns are those required as structural components of a porch. In essence, most columns used in porch design are there for a structural reason—to help support the weight of the porch roof. As dictated in building codes, “buildings and structures, and all parts thereof, shall be constructed to safely support all loads, including dead loads, live loads, roof loads, flood loads, snow loads, wind loads and seismic loads as prescribed by this code.” These load-bearing requirements are where the porch columns come into play.

Homeowners are free to choose the style of the structural column(s) that best speaks to their personal tastes. According to an article from HGTV, “posts and columns add to the beauty of your porch, but they are also the important vertical support that holds up your porch roof. Careful consideration needs to be given to the location, size and number of posts and columns your porch needs.” The article also gives homeowners some food for thought when choosing columns (and posts) for a new porch:

  • “The size and shaping of your posts and columns should complement the architectural style of your house. For example, thick columns in a masonry base are often used on a Craftsman porch, while a Victorian porch may include tightly spaced, thin and embellished posts.”
  • “Substantial posts are generally considered more pleasing to the eye than spindly ones.”


Porches with Railings or Without?


Many homeowners like the look that a railing provides on a porch or screened porch. Not only does the railing serve as a vertical aesthetic, but railings are often required for safety reasons. In order for a porch, deck, or any other structure to pass inspection without a railing, it has to meet certain criteria. Building code dictates that any structure more than 30" off the ground requires a rail.


Typical exceptions to the requirement for a porch railing occur in what we call low-to-grade porch designs, meaning they are at ground level. At Archadeck of Central SC, our aluminum and vinyl outdoor room additions are often low-to-grade. A porch created by adding a roof over an existing low-to-grade patio will offer the option of a no rail design, too.

The requirement for railings on your porch stairs will ultimately be influenced by your local government’s building regulations. The International Building Code, the International Residential Code and the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 maintain that exterior stairs that are a required point of egress—must have handrails. This applies to any staircase with two or more risers.

Pictures of Porches Without Railings by Archadeck of Central SC




Have you been inspired by these porch design ideas? Are you ready to start planning a custom open or screened porch for your home? Contact us today — we’d love to hear from you! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160 or via email at [email protected]

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