How much does a Porch Cost?

“How much does a porch cost?” is a frequently asked question among homeowners. This is primarily due to the fact that adding a porch to a home provides numerous benefits to the homeowner. If the house is sold within one year of the porch’s completion, the homeowner may recover as much as 80-120 percent of the investment, according to real estate experts. However, porches make a good investment even if the homeowner does not plan on selling the house. Porches can also create additional living space, add beauty and increase the home’s overall aesthetic value.

National Average Cost

The cost for adding porches greatly varies among the projects due to numerous factors. Homewyse states the 2013 national average price runs approximately $4.74-$6.83 per square foot, with the materials and hourly labor wages included. This would make the cost for a 200-square foot porch range around $948-$1,366. This total concurs with Redbeacon’s estimate of $1, 280 for a 100-200 square foot porch. According to Redbeacon, the average person spends $1,272 for a porch, with the prices ranging from $382 to $4,230. However, several other experts claim the average price runs between $500 and $2,000 for basic, non-masonry porches. The average cost goes up to around $67-$70 per square foot if the porch design is complex or requires modifying or reinforcing the home’s exterior surfaces. For customized porches, the national average cost range is $10,000-$45,000, with the average person spending $21,000-$21,500.

Cost-affecting Factors

As with most building projects, the porch’s size, as well as the quality and the type of materials used will largely influence the total cost. Home location, local climate conditions, complicity of design and the building’s structure will also affect the price. The expenses will also vary according to the fees for permits/licenses, building inspections, contractors and laborers. Some designs may require the services of an electrician, as well as a general building contractor and roofing expert.

Best Ways to Reduce Costs

The best ways to reduce the costs of adding on a porch are to keep the design as simple as possible and to do comparison-shopping. Careful planning prior to beginning the actual build will help reduce the overall expenses. Getting quotes from several contractors, even if planning to make it a do-it-yourself project, can save money, time and labor. Including handicapped accessible features is another way to increase the value of the porch and home, and reduce the cost of adding these features later. Another way to reduce the price is to have the porch installed during the contractor’s off-season, when business is slow and the contractor is more likely to be willing to negotiate the price.

Numerous websites offer free cost estimators and advice on how to build porches. Many local home improvement stores can also help estimate the cost of materials. Therefore, now that you know how much a porch does cost, you can begin to start budgeting for the project. Whether you choose a basic porch or a complex masterpiece, the enjoyment of outdoor living that a porch provides makes it well worth the investment.

How Much Does a Deck Cost?

Waterfront deck
Waterfront deck

It is that time a year again when homeowners start thinking about making outdoor improvements to their homes. One of the most popular outdoor home improvements is adding a deck in order to better entertain family and friends. Thus, the question of “How much does a deck cost?” frequently arises.

Price Range of Building a Deck

The 2013 price range for building a deck in the United States is approximately $19 -$65 per square foot. This includes the cost of materials and labor, but does not include sales taxes, building permits, or inspections. Nor does it include the cost of removing any existing structures. So anyone planning on building a deck should budget a minimum amount of $7,600-$26,000 for a 400 sq. ft. deck.

Choice of Decking Materials

A person’s choice of building materials has the most effect on the final cost. The current standard choice of materials consists of types of wood, vinyl or composite decking. Each of these materials has their own advantages and disadvantages. Some seem more economical but end up requiring more maintenance than the more costly materials. Thus, despite being immediately more economical they are more costly on a long term basis. Other materials have the advantage of being more durable, while others have the advantage of requiring less maintenance. Some have the advantage of being easier to work with while others offer a wider selection of colors and patterns.

Estimated Cost by Material Choice

Although the prices will vary according to location and supplier, the following list of commonly, used materials will give you a general idea of what to expect. These prices are based on having a contractor purchase and supply the materials at his or her discretion when building a standard deck:

  • Treated pine – cost of materials: $7-$8; cost of labor: $12-$16; total cost: $19-$24 per square foot
  • Cedar or Redwood – cost of materials: $8-$9; cost of labor: $12-$18; total cost: $20-$27 per square foot
  • Vinyl – cost of materials: $11–$19; cost of labor: $14–$22; total cost: $25–$41 per square foot
  • Composite – cost of materials: $15–$27; cost of labor: $18–$28 total cost: $33–$55 per square foot
  • Exotic wood – cost of materials: $17–$33; cost of labor: $18–$32 total cost: $35–$65

The aforementioned pricing is based on the fee per square foot for building a single-level deck with a minimum 120 sq. ft. of deck area on a flat surface up to 5’ above ground level. It does not include stairs, multi-level decks, custom designed decks or decks smaller than 120 square feet. These factors will increase the total cost.

Other Cost Factors

As with most home improvement projects, the size and location factor into the cost of building a deck. Local building codes, sales taxes, permits and licensing requirements, and building inspections may also affect the total expense. Additionally, whether the project is carried out as a DIY or contracted professional labor will factor into the price. Moreover, the complexity of the deck design will highly affect the total cost.

Worthwhile Investment

Although the price may seem steep to those homeowners on a tight budget, building a deck can be a very worthwhile investment. It has been estimated that 75 per cent of the deck building cost is recovered within the first year of its construction. Not only does a deck provide an additional living and recreational space for the family, it also adds value to the home for resale purposes. So now that you know how much a deck costs, you can start working on financing this wonderful addition to your home.

How much Does a Greenhouse Cost?

Adding a greenhouse may be the best home improvement a homeowner ever makes. A greenhouse can help lower the grocery bill while providing many hours of gardening pleasure. When properly maintained, a greenhouse can provide a stable, controlled environment for growing fruits, vegetables and herbs that help to improve the homeowner’s health all year long. It can also be utilized for growing flowers and other types of plants that can be used for home décor and landscaping purposes. Since greenhouses are becoming so popular, adding one to your yard or balcony could also increase the value of the home for resale purposes. However, it is best to plan and budget the greenhouse addition in advance of starting the project.

Average cost

The average price ranges from $30 to $350 for kits that include all the materials required for building small, temporary greenhouses. Larger fabricated greenhouses can range from $3,000 to $9,000 and can be either temporary or more permanent greenhouses. However, the professionally built greenhouses usually require using the services of 2-4 contractors and the price ranges from $5,800 to $31,120. Utilizing professional contractors for the project typically costs $20 – $30 per square foot. Most homeowners reported spending between $14,395 -$20,125, with the average person spending $17,260.

Factors Affecting Price

Numerous factors affect the final price of a greenhouse, such as its shape and size. The materials used for construction also affect the cost. Additionally, the amount of site preparation and the extra features added to the greenhouse, such as electricity and HVAC systems, will influence the total expense. The larger and more complex the greenhouse is, then the more expensive it becomes. It may be necessary to obtain building permits and variances, which will also add to the price. However, the major factor affecting the final expense is who performs the actual labor and how much labor is required.

Planning and Comparison Shopping

Due to the wide range of greenhouse choices, it is wise to carefully plan out the desired greenhouse prior to purchasing a kit or hiring a contractor. Think about the needs of the various types of plants that will be grown. Consider how much space is needed to work with the plants comfortably. Also, think about how much bending and reaching the gardening may entail. Although it may be tempting to save money by purchasing a very small greenhouse kit, it may be better to start with at least a medium sized greenhouse.

Comparison-shopping helps homeowners save lots of money, since the prices vary amongst the various contractors and stores. It is easy to get quotes and detailed information from several contractors, home improvement stores, and gardening supply stores, both online and offline. It is also easy to get more specific cost estimates by visiting several websites that offer cost estimators for building projects. It is also possible to obtain more specific quotes and detailed information by visiting home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot.

More Tips

Although it is more costly, you should consider using professional contractors or fabricated greenhouses when planning to install a large permanent structure. The preparation work and construction work can be quite taxing unless you have lots of prior experience with building construction and creating cement foundations. Nonetheless, be sure to check out the references, licenses and reputations when hiring contractors. Consider using a kit rather than working from scratch if choosing to build it as a DIY project. Using a kit may save you money, time and effort while providing a warranty. Either way, check that there are no recalls on any products or materials that you are considering purchasing. Moreover, ensure that the greenhouse you erect is properly designed to withstand the local climate conditions, such as heavy rains, snow and high winds.

How much does it Cost to Paint a House?

It’s that time of year again when nice weather stimulates the urge to work outdoors and make home improvements. Among the most popular summertime projects that homeowners complete, house painting provides numerous benefits. Painting the exterior of the house provides protection from weather damage while increasing the value and curb appeal of the home.

National Average Cost of Painting a House Exterior

Whatever reason the homeowners have for painting their houses, they will need to know how much it costs to complete the project. According to various home improvement cost estimator websites, the 2013 national average cost ranges from $2,000 to $8,700, if hiring a professional housepainter. The average amount spent is $2,893. The size and height of the home, as well as the type of its building materials, will greatly affect the total price. The amount of prep work, ornate details, trim work, doors and window sashes will also affect the cost. Additionally, using multiple colors will raise the prices.

However, homeowners can save quite a bit of money by investing their own time and doing the labor themselves. This is because 75%-80% of the cost of hiring a professional housepainter is for covering labor. The average homeowner spends around a thousand dollars when doing the exterior house painting as a DIY project. Yet, the homeowner should be aware that some house painting projects might take several weeks to complete. The homeowner must also consider the amount and type of labor the project entails. It may require hours of standing on scaffolding, reaching above one’s head, as well as repetitive motions. It will also entail breathing in paint fumes. The DIY homeowner will also have to have certain skills, tools and supplies. Nonetheless, it may be worth the investment to acquire these tools, skills and equipment since most houses need a new paint job every four to seven years.

Breakdown of Typical Costs for DIYers

DIYers can expect to pay $10-$15 per gallon of primer. They can also expect to pay $20-$50 per gallon for regular exterior paint and $50-$100 per gallon for premium paint. It typically takes one gallon of each to cover a 400-sq.ft area. Thus, the average house will require 6-12 gallons each of primer and paint, unless the paint has primer as one of its components. The majority of homes typically need two coats of latex paint.

The homeowner will also need:

  • Pressure Washer – This is used to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and lose paint. It can be purchased for under $300 or rented by the day for $50-$70.
  • Paint Sprayer – Speeds up the painting process and saves wear and tear on arms and hands. This can be rented for around $70 per day. It’s a good idea to have all the prep work and taping/coverage of non-painted areas done prior to renting the sprayer.
  • Scaffolding – Makes it easier to reach high places and a base set can be rented for $15-$50 per day.

Other equipment and supplies that might be needed include drop cloths, a sander, various sizes of masking tape, and a putty knife. A heat gun, a metal brush, various sizes of paintbrushes, a safety mask, paint thinner and clean up cloths may also be required. It may also be necessary to make some repairs prior to painting the exterior, such as replacing damaged wood. Some special safety precautions may have to be taken if the home’s current coat of paint has been applied prior to 1980, since the old paint could contain lead.

Money-saving Tips

Whether doing the project as a DIYer or hiring a contractor, you can save money by comparison shopping. Get at least three or more estimates from professional housepainters. If using a contractor, make sure to check out all the references and reputations. Also, verify the contractors’ licenses and insurance coverage. If possible, do the house painting projects during the contractors’ off-season, which is usually early spring. This makes the contractors more willing to negotiate prices. Moreover, the tools and supplies are usually being sold or rented at reduced prices.
Another way to save money is to borrow equipment and supplies rather than purchasing or renting them as much as possible. Most of the items, such as paintbrushes, paint scrapers, putty knives, and sanders are commonly found in the garages of friends, neighbors and relatives. Moreover, avail yourself of the expertise of others by visiting home improvement websites and/or your local home improvement stores. Getting expert advice can help you determine exactly what tools and supplies will be needed for your specific project. This knowledge can ensure you do not buy too little, too much, or the wrong type of equipment and supplies.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Garage?


There are many factors determining the cost of a garage forcing choices you will have to make that will determine that cost. For starters, there is excavation and preparation of the site followed by the foundation work. This part of the cost will depend on the sq. ft. (SF) but is also affected by weather, soil, and zoning laws. Framing, roofing, windows, doors, siding, and utilities selected will affect a large portion of your investment, even labor costs. The design choices discussed below represent the main factors determining final cost.

Attached or Detached

First, do you want an attached or detached garage? If you only plan to use the garage for parking of your vehicles, sort of an enclosed carport, an attached garage is probably a good choice. An attached garage will be less expensive because it involves less work with one wall already standing. In addition, the driveway may already be in place. However, do not assume that the cost ($/SF) will somehow drop by 25%.

A detached garage means building the entire structure from scratch. However, you may want or need a large space with a workshop, small office, or extra storage. If so, a detached garage is a more expensive but will provide more options.


The size you choose will be the major factor in overall cost. The minimum size for a single-car garage is about 12′ x 20′ (240 SF). A two-car garage minimum structure is about 20′ x 20′ (400 SF). A 3-car minimum is 32′ x 24′ (768 SF). In all of these cases, assuming that the total space will serve as a garage, there is little room for storage or other activities. In fact, for the one car garage, a large SUV or small truck will be a very tight fit. Go bigger when possible and include additional floor space for bicycles, a lawnmower, garden tools, sporting equipment, or a small workspace at the rear or side. For example, add 4 ft or more to the depth and/or width of the garage for extra floor space.


Incorporating an upper level or attic will increase total cost but will actually decrease $/SF of usable space. Many garage designs incorporate lofts, a workshop, or an apartment. Even a one-car garage can include loft space, but a two-car garage probably provides a better starting point. One plan for a two-car garage provides 24′ x 24′ (576 SF) on the first level and includes a loft with 300 square feet of space accessible with a drop down ladder. Expand to 26′ x 28′ (728 SF) and include full stairs to a 380 SF storage, workshop, or office space. If you have the real estate and wherewithal to build a larger structure, do it and you will not regret it.


Your selection of materials can have a sizable affect on cost. Going beyond functional and upgrading the “quality” of materials can bump the $/SF by as much as 15-20%. Addition of windows, a separate entrance, wood siding, better roofing or roof style, designer wood door(s), and other “frills” will add up quickly.

Actual Costs

What are the numbers you can anticipate? For detached garage, expect quotes in the $40-$50/SF range for no frills construction. This means a 240 SF single car garage will be about $9600-$12000, a 380 SF two-car garage around $15200-$19000, and the 768 SF three-car at $29210-$36400. Upgraded materials can raise this to $50-$65/SF making, for example, the 380 SF two-car garage come in at $19000-$24700.

For an added loft, use “floor” space for your calculation, the $/SF should come in at the lower end or even slightly below those for one level. In the example given above, the 728 SF garage and 380 SF loft totals 1108 SF. With some frills, it should cost $35-$45K/SF or $35000-$45000.


One way to save money is to buy materials, perhaps a kit, and do as much of the labor as you can, contracting out what you cannot do. Excavation and foundation will cost $15-$20/SF, the higher end for northern frosts or poor soil anywhere. In this manner, it is possible to save 15-20% in total cost. In addition, by contracting out the various stages of construction you can pay as you go.