A porch consists of any free-standing structure that is attached to, but exists outside of, the base frame of the building. Some porches consist of merely a deck, or ramp, that is fully exposed to the elements. Others can have a roof, with fenced-in walls containing large windows or screens. The type of porch that you have will determine the kind of flooring materials that you can use.
Outdoor Porch Precautions
If you are going to install porch flooring in an area where it will be rained on, then you have to be sure to slope the level of the surface to provide for proper drainage. Grading the land around the porch can also help to prevent liquids from pooling on its surface, causing potential problems.
Pressure Treated Pine Porch Flooring
This material accounts for 80% of all deck floor surface coverings. Pressure treated pine is durable, weather resistant, inexpensive, and long-lasting. Available in standard 2X planks, and flat sheet board sizes, these materials are often used to construct the base of a porch. Using it as the surface covering then creates a matched and completed piece. Make sure to use better quality grade 1 material for railings and stairs, and grade 2 material for standard floorboards.
After initial installation, the new pine should be allowed to dry out for 3 - 6 months. Then a quality deck sealing agent needs to be applied to protect its surface from water and UV rays. Some materials will come pre-treated from the factory with sealant, a stain coat, or both.
On average, pressure treated pine porch flooring will cost $10 - $16 per square foot, not including the frame of the porch itself. However, this material has the potential to add up to $15 per square foot in value to the home in the first year after it is installed. Pressure treated pine can also last for up to 15 years in most climates, however, over time it will darken and crack from rain and wear.
Redwood Porch Flooring
This is an exotic wood porch flooring choice that features a lovely red tinted hue. Easier to cut than pine, redwood will slice down with clean straight cuts for sharp intersections. Rugged and durable, these porch floors do not degrade from normal weathering, and they are resistant to the ravages of rot, mold, and insects, allowing you to skip the application of a wood sealing agent.
Under normal applications, a redwood porch floor should be able to last 1 - 2 decades or longer, with no preventative maintenance. Unfortunately, they can be quite expensive, at $18 to $22 per square foot, not including the understructure of the porch. Redwood is available in standard 5/4” x 6” boards and all standard 2X sizes. However, you usually have to special order these materials.
Cedarwood Porch Floors
Cedarwood is another attractive, and natural, but expensive porch flooring option. Inherently resistant to weather, mold, rot, and vermin, this wood surface covering also does not require the use of sealant and can last for decades under normal usage. More readily available than redwood, it is just as expensive, averaging $17 to $23 per square foot for just the flooring materials and installation.
Resilient Vinyl Click Together Flooring
Vinyl is resistant to water, stains, vermin, mold, and almost anything the natural environment can throw at it. Low maintenance, easy to clean, and UV treated by the factory, it represents a relatively inexpensive, hassle-free exterior surface solution. With porch flooring, you generally find vinyl in the form of planks and boards, which assemble by clicking together to form an integrated overall structure.
These materials can be as inexpensive at $8 - $10 per square foot, though high-end options can go as high as $20. While installation is easy, the dust from vinyl is not biodegradable and can be toxic, so it has to be collected when these materials are cut to size, and then disposed of properly. Another drawback is that over time exposure to constant sun can cause these floors to fade.
Plastic Wood Composites
These consist of recycled plastic which is mixed with discarded wood fibers to create a composite that has the properties of both. Looking much like natural wood, these materials are extremely durable and resistant to damage, water, stains, mold, UV fading, and they don’t splinter or crack. They can also last for decades with no maintenance, and many retailers will even offer a 10-20 year warranty on plastic wood composites, though you have to carefully read the terms and conditions of those contracts.
Composites are great for interior and exterior porches, but they can be expensive, averaging $18 to $22 per square foot. They tend to last a long time, however, there can be some fading with age, and cheaper products will look more like plastic than wood. The sawdust is also not biodegradable, requiring you to collect it when shaping planks. In some limited cases, local zoning boards won’t allow this material to be used at all for environmental reasons.
Brick Porch Flooring
Brick pavers are warm, friendly, natural, and able to weather the environment of most locations with a graceful charm. Made from clay fired hard into tiles, these materials are quite heavy, and are generally only used in porches made entirely from brick or other stone and concrete solid materials. When installed the floor surface should be treated at least once with a UV shield chemical sealant. After that, you can reapply periodically, or let the bricks shape and wear with the winds and the rains.