I need to build a small porch (6 ft.x3ft.) with railing, 3 stairs, and a banister to use my patio door. Does anyone know of any place online to get some plans that might work? I would use treated wood and the highest quality fasteners etc. This would replace the old cast concrete porch and stairs.

I had to do something very similar last year – replaced the steps to my mudroom with a small deck/landing and stairs. I went to Home Depot and talked with a couple of the guys there (go to the pro-desk, the one which works with contractors, not the regular service desk) and they had a computer program which can design your plan and tell you how much of what you need to build it. It didn’t cost anything. I ended up not using their plans because I have a good friend who was an engineer (he retired recently) and he designed a better setup which fit my house better. We had to accommodate some odd-ball things like an electrical outlet, piping for the electrical wiring which goes to the garage and a water spigot. And because that part of the house gets more ground movement than the rest, he designed the whole unit to be free standing. As it was, though, I took the plans to Home Depot and they cut all the wood to specs, gathered up all the screws, brackets and what-not that was needed, and all we had to do was go pick it up, and basically put it together like a giant-sized kit.

A 3×6 porch with 3 steps is a fun project, one which most competent carpenters like yourself can build on a coffee break… While you’re drinking that coffee, here are some thoughts to get you started: First establish your four corners of the porch. Being only 3×6, I would anchor the inside corners to the house, then buy 2 small piers and dig them 32″ away from the house to support the outer posts and stairs. Make sure the top is level across the two piers, unless you are on a steep slope, then your front posts length will vary as such.

3 steps, with rise of 7 inch and run of 11 will bring the top of your platform/porch up to 28″ high off the ground. Will that height meet near threshold of your access door? If not, play with number of steps and rise & run until you get desired elevation for your platform. Once you establish that height, snap a level line to your outside wall and now, Anchor a 2×6″ x6′ press. treated piece to the house. Since it’s only 3′ wide, you can place the boards either parallel or perpendicular to your outside wall. Depending on your climate, you may have to allow buffer for snow/ice and or pitch it to avoid standing rain water.

If you need help figuring out the rest, let us know and we’ll help you figure it out. you’ll need some 4×4 or 4×6 posts depending on how beefy you want it to look. Another key design question, do you need it covered or open? Finally if you really want plans for this, just pickup a deck and patio book at your local bookstore or hdwr store, it might not have a plan to match your exact application, but it will have enough ideas to help you draft your own on the back of a knapkin at Dunkans donuts.