Decks and Porches Grow in Popularity

Survey data show popular building materials, and where porches and decks are most commonly found

March 6, 2018
Decking with coffee and ivy
Photo: Unsplash

Tracking with the continued popularity of outdoor features, nearly one-quarter of single-family homes started in 2016 had decks, and more than half had porches, according to Census Bureau survey data. NAHB data show that one in four remodelers reported that adding a deck to an existing home was a common project for them in 2016.

While single-family starts declined between 2005 and 2011 (from 1.7 million to 430,000), the share of new homes built with porches rose, from 54.1 percent in 2005 to a high of 65.7 percent in 2011. At 65.1 percent, the share of single-family houses with porches in 2016 was the closest to peak levels since 2011 and marked the biggest year-over-year increase in five years. The share of homes with porches grew 1.2 percent from 2015 to 2016, the largest jump since 2010 to 2011, when the share climbed 2.1 percent.

In 2016, just 4 percent of new homes in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana (West South Central) had decks, yet 53 percent of new homes in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky (East South Central) had them.

Porches on new homes are also the most common in the East South Central U.S., found on 86 percent of new single-family homes there in 2016. The lowest share of new homes with porches was 52 percent in the Mid-Atlantic Division (West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware). More new homes had porches than decks in all nine Census divisions.

According to 2017 survey data, the average size of a deck on a new single-family home is about 230 square feet, and the average size of a front porch on a new home is roughly 90 square feet. Front porches on new homes are more common than side porches, and most are open, rather than enclosed.

The most common materials that builders use for decks are treated wood and composite, while for porches, the materials used most often are concrete and treated wood. Across the Census’ regional divisions, the greatest difference in materials was in the Pacific, where untreated wood, such as cedar or redwood, tended to be used more often on both decks and on porches. In New England, composite was used more frequently.  

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