What is the average lifespan of a porch?

The modern porch doesn’t have much in common with its ancestors from last century, or even the models still common a few decades ago. The advances in terms of materials, energy and environmental regulations, but also lifestyles have caused a substantial evolution of the porch, to the point where they have become true house expansions, more often than not equipped with flat rooftops, sometimes with large windows.
But what is the average lifespan of a porch? Several aspects should be taken into account in order to answer this question. In most cases, these aspects are linked to the choice of the base material.

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The choice of materials

On paper, any well-maintained porch seems able to travel through the decades without any problem. But in real life, some materials require such heavy and costly maintenance that it is sometimes neglected, causing an early ageing of the structure. The choice of base materials is therefore essential to define a porch’s lifespan, along with its performances throughout time. Indeed, some materials provide better insulation than others, or maintain optimal performances on a longer period.

Wood: a firmly classic touch which requires heavy maintenance

Wood offers a classic style and a natural fusion with the garden by which several families actually remain enticed for building of their porch. However, wood is still particularly sensitive to outside damages, such as humidity, frost, along with different insect pests or invasive climbing plants. It is indeed a living material and requires as such regular maintenance and treatment.

Even when their minimum maintenance is well performed, wooden porches tend to lose their excellent insulating properties as the years go by. Furthermore, the wood’s appearance will vary with the slip of time.

Thus, even though a wooden porch may stay functional for two or three decades, it might be necessary to replace part of the structure. More often than not, wood is selected for porch projects which may seem quite classical, and are intended more as garden interfaces than expansions of the house.

Steel and forged iron: especially delicate to maintain

Just like wood, forged iron and steel are very often found in customised porch projects adjoining ancient houses with a very specific style, including for renovation sites. But then again, they require very high maintenance throughout the decades. Even when treated against oxidisation, they end up by rusting. They are also subject to temperature deformations which compromise their insulation.

The lifespan of these structures is thus relatively similar to that of wooden porches.

PVC, an inconvenient fragility

PVC is an affordable and high-performance material which requires little daily maintenance. It is therefore found in many ready to install porches, including small-sized. It is a lot less used for larger areas, such as those we come across with house expansions or bioclimatic porches, which favour aluminium.

Even though it requires little maintenance, it remains susceptible to damage and cracks. Susceptible to fire, its level of security is lower than aluminium’s. Whatsmore, it tends to run visually out of fashion these days. If, in theory, PVC porches may last several decades, the renewal of these carpentries after only 20 years isn’t unusual.

Aluminium: the long-lasting king without compromise on its performances

Both thin, light and solid, aluminium can be integrated to all porch projects, including the most challenging large-dimension projects. Aesthetically, aluminium is the most adaptable solution. Available in an infinity of styles, colours, textures and shapes, it can remain very discreet without compromise on solidity, thus adapting itself to each house. It is found in ancient house expansions as well as in modern villas’ porches and carpentry.

This perfect aesthetic match reduces the needs for maintenance with time. No need to repaint it or replace it: aluminium travels the decades without flinching. For its daily maintenance, just wipe it with a sponge. It doesn’t turn yellow, neither does it distorts and is resistant to fire.

In case of breakage of glazed elements, of accidents regarding the bay window’s profiles or closure systems, the modular design of the aluminium porch allows you to replace only the damaged element. More information about the aluminium systems designed by Installux.

In theory, the lifespan of an aluminium porch is nearly unlimited, or at least identical to that of the house. We speak of periods of half a century, if not more. Aluminium is therefore presented as the best compromise for porch designed as year-round living rooms.

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The importance of design and setting up

With the right materials and a suitable maintenance, a porch may travel the years, the decades, and even the generations without visually ageing.

But for a porch to travel the ages, it has to be well designed from the start. Be it in terms of style, adapted to the house, with colours that won’t go out of fashion, and in terms of exposure and assembly. Indeed, a porch which is either badly exposed or badly insulated will end up totally useless, and a large extent, if not all of it, will have to be rebuilt for it to become a true house expansion.

Aluminium has sometimes unfairly suffered from its image of cold material and bad insulator. This bad reputation rests on facts: if badly designed and badly set up, aluminium has the same defects as wood, for instance. But with a good design, it becomes the best ally ever!

Aluminium, the ideal solution for customised projects

Both incredibly resistant, very insulating and adaptable to all aesthetic styles, it’s the ideal solution for house expansions. Furthermore, aluminium porches are very easy to set up by manufacturing carpenters. The quality of their work allows the creation of a new living room with excellent thermal and acoustic performances.

For its maintenance, a simple wipe with a sponge will make it as good as new, decades after its set-up. Finally, thanks to its modular design, a well designed and set up aluminium porch will last virtually as long as the house itself. The porch becomes such a complete and organic part of the house, which is why we may refer to it as an expansion.