Having a porch added to your home can be very satisfying. It's nice to know you'll have a place to relax outdoors and maybe even enjoy dinner some nights. However, porches do come in many different shapes, sizes, and options. As such, it is important to have some conversations with your porch builder before they begin work on your home. Here are some key options to discuss at this stage.
You might assume a porch would be made from wood, and many porches are. However, there are other materials that can be used, too. Composite boards, which are made from a mixture of wood fibers and concrete, are becoming quite common. You may like that they are impervious to rot and don't attract bugs, like termites. Vinyl porches are also available. While vinyl has a modern look that not everyone likes, it is very low-maintenance and lasts a long time. Of course, you could still go with traditional wood, which is often the most aesthetic choice for rustic and country homes. Today's stains and paints are pretty high-quality and will give your porch years of protection so you don't need to perform maintenance as often.
In many areas, railings on porches are required by local building codes. But even if they are not required, you probably want them in place for safety reasons. You can decide whether you want wood railings to match your porch, or whether you want separate metal railings attached after the fact. You also need to decide on their height and their placement. Your porch builder can generally show you some different railing designs and options so you can choose one and get it ordered in advance.
Porches don't need a poured foundation, but they do need some sort of foundation support under the feet of the posts. This foundation can be stone, or it can be concrete. Stone is often sufficient for smaller porches in mild climates. But if you live in a more variable climate and are installing a heavier porch, you will want concrete foundations around the posts. Talk to your porch builder about these two options and see what they recommend for the porch you desire.
If you have some conversations with your porch builder before they start working, you are more likely to end up with a porch you enjoy. There's certainly no shortage of options these days.