What Is a Front Door Portico? How to Add This Popular Exterior Upgrade

Pinterest has front-door porticos pegged as a rising home trend this year.

craftsman front porch yellow door mailbox
Photo: Adam Albright

A front door portico is an elegant structure that enhances a home's curb appeal and can increase home value. Porticos also protect you, visitors, and the front door from weather elements. With various designs, shapes, and sizes, a portico can personalize a home. Whether you're retrofitting an entrance or trying to make sense of a historical build, there are lots of reasons to love a front-door portico.

What is a front-door portico?

While a porch and portico are often interchangeable, they are not the same. A porch is typically an enclosed entryway and is often used for entertaining or relaxing. On the other hand, a portico is a structure at the entrance of a house or building that protects it from the elements. Like a porch, it has a roof supported by columns but is open on three sides.

Porticos add architectural detail and define an entryway. Because they are not enclosed, they allow for maximum airflow and decorative appeal. They also add a top cover for anyone fumbling with keys in the rain or snow. Portico styles range from classic to modern, Victorian to Greek to Colonial revival. The number of columns may also vary. Porticos are incredibly versatile and are easily tailored to fit your needs and style.

White house with green front door and dogs on porch
Brie Williams

Portico Design Considerations

Front-door portico designs vary in style, shape, and size. A standard design works well with most property types, but each home has its own quirks: staircases, yard space, and position from the curb may all affect the type of portico that best suits your home. Still, if you want something unique, opt for a completely bespoke design. Keep these considerations in mind:

Style: Porticos can be straight, curved, or octagonal. Column design will also influence the style of your entrance. Smooth plain columns suit any style and property age, while fluted columns give a more traditional aesthetic.

Proportions: The distance that the entrance extends from the building will determine the number of columns it can hold, as well as the portico height and width.

Materials: Common column materials include stone and brick covered in plaster. However, you can also use wood or cast stone. Cast stone is a popular choice of construction material because it is inexpensive, light, and easy to install. It is available in a variety of finishes and colors. For the roof, opt for the same material as the existing roof for uniformity, or opt for a contrast that really stands out.

home exterior front entrance pillars black door
Ed Gohlich

Benefits of a Front-Door Portico

Apart from adding style to any home, the benefits of a portico include the following:

Prevents Damage to Porches: Porticos protect the front door and porch from harsh elements that can cause natural wear and tear. They provide shade to prevent UV rays from damaging the home's interior or doors. Also, porticos can act as outdoor mudrooms, minimizing dirt and grime that enters the home.

Protection from the Elements: If your home is in an area known for rain or snow, porticos keep residents and guests dry and safe before entering the house.

Differentiates a Home's Exterior: Porticos showcase personality. In homes in planned communities or blocks with similar exteriors, a portico can make a house stand out from others.

Installation Cost of a Front-Door Portico

According to Fixr, it may cost as little as $5,000 to install a portico with a metal roof and just one concrete step. The price goes up from there. The final cost will depend on the preferred style, size, and materials used for the columns and the roof.

How long the roof lasts will depend on the material used and the climate in the region. If well-maintained and sealed regularly, the columns can last as long as the roof. Porticos need proper drainage, so be sure to install gutters and run-off systems that match the primary roof.

home exterior portico

Helen Norman

What to Consider Before Adding a Portico to Your Home

A portico makes your front door the center of attention, attracting visitors and potential buyers. It offers a perfect setting for other design details, such as unique lighting, trim, and flooring. A portico is a worthwhile investment in many neighborhoods. However, if you’re considering installing a new portico on an old home, it is best to talk to an experienced installation professional to recommend the best option for your particular property.

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