A cantilevered porch is a structure that extends off the wall of a house or other building.
A cantilevered porch is a structure that extends off the wall of a house or other building. It uses a cantilevered design – that is, the beams that support the porch are fixed at only one end, meaning that the other end that extends out of the structure is unsupported. While this design is aesthetically pleasing and not especially difficult to build, it is not always the strongest option and can lead to problems with the aging of the structure. A cantilever porch should be maintained and inspected quite regularly to ensure it is safe to use.
The clean look of a cantilever porch has made it a favorite with builders for centuries, but structurally the design can cause problems. If the porch extends too far from the building without any additional support, the structure can become unstable, leading to a swaying or flexing sensation. This is especially true if common framing materials like pine are used to build the cantilever porch. Pine is a soft wood, which means it will generally have more flexibility and be more susceptible to cracking and rotting. This can lead to an unsafe porch that can bend or break at any time. Many builders choose to use hardwoods or pressure treated woods to build the cantilever porch.
If the porch is constructed correctly, it can be a pleasant and aesthetically pleasing addition to the home. Supports are not required at the outer edge of the porch, so the space below the porch will not be obstructed by posts or other supports. The porch itself can be a pleasant place to sit or stand, and additional features like a screen or roof can add to the aesthetic and functional appeal. Even if the structure is constructed correctly, regular inspection will be required to ensure that the wood is not cracking, bending or breaking under the weight of the structure.
Builders often follow certain guidelines that determine how far a particular porch can be suspended. If it’s not cantilevered enough, the space may not be functional. If it is too cantilevered, the structure may become unstable or otherwise unsafe for use. The size of the beams will usually dictate this distance, as will the beam materials and spacing between each beam. Stronger materials and thicker, wider beams will allow for a longer cantilever.