Chicago Porch FAQs

Our customers have many questions regarding Chicago Porch Violations and how to correct them. Below are some frequently asked questions that will help you out!

How do I know if my porch is safe?
While the city of Chicago has resources available for owners to inspect their own porches, your safest bet is to use a professional like Porch Builders. They have the experience of looking at all types of porches every day, and knowing what to look for.

My porch looks or feels unsafe, what should I do?
Of course, you can again call us here at Porch Builders to help you evaluate if your intuition is correct.

Also, in Chicago you can also dial 3-1-1 and ask for an “owner-requested” porch inspection. Just leave a contact name and phone number with the 311 operator.

If you are a tenant and notice any questionable conditions, make a note of the specifics and inform your landlord/property owner. If they fail to act immediately to remedy the problems, call the same 3-1-1 number.

What do inspectors look for?
Building Inspectors perform porch and deck inspections according to a set checklist. Inspectors look at all elements of the porch, including joists, beams, columns, stairs, hand and guard rails, ledger boards, connections, and footings. Per ordinance, all elements of porches and decks must be able to support 100 pounds per square foot.

We recommend you call us today to have your porch checked out. It’s best to beat the city inspectors to the punch!

Why now is the best time for home improvements

It’s time to renovate! After years of downturn, the housing and home renovation markets were showing the first signs of real recovery in 2012. According to a Jan. 23 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, U.S. homeowners increased spending on home improvement projects by about 9 percent that year compared to 2011.

Now is also a great time to prepare your home to sell: In 2012, existing home sales reached more than 4 million units for the first time since 2007. The value of remodeling projects was also up in 2012: According to Remodeling magazine and the National Association of Realtors’ 2013 Cost vs. Value report, in 2012, the cost-value ratio of home improvement projects improved for first time in six years.

Now, if you know it’s time to make a change to your home but you don’t know where to start, consider the following:


  • Outward appearances matter. If your goal is to impress your neighbors – or potential home buyers – make sure the outside of your home is stable, attractive and up-to-date. You don’t want a potential buyer to sour on your home before they even walk in the door – the door that happens to have peeling paint, a broken hinge and rests atop stairs with broken concrete. Also, according to the Cost vs. Value report, external projects such as the deck and deck additions have some of the best returns-on-investments when it’s time to sell.
  • What will increase yours and family’s enjoyment of your home the most? Consider where family, friends and other visitors congregate the most in your home. For example, if you hold the family Thanksgiving at your house every year – and your kitchen’s design and countertops have been stagnant longer than your Aunt Jean’s stuffed cabbage recipe – now may be the time to install that island surface and new countertops to make yours and family’s cooking more productive and enjoyable.
  • And, most important: Your safety. Homeowners have put off many renovation projects during the downward economy, some for many years, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. But, if it’s been a while since you remodeled your porch, deck or stairs, they may pose a safety risk to your family and your home’s visitors. That money you put aside in 2008 for a future home improvement project may also be at risk if your stairwell or porch falls under a City of Chicago Building Code violation, which can cost upwards of $500 a day (or more) if you are cited.

If you need help making the change to your home, or you fear your home’s longstanding infrastructure may be unsafe, please Porch Builders of Chicago at (773) 251-9879 for your free estimate today. We’ll help you capitalize on today’s new housing market by ensuring your house is ready for family, friends, and potential buyers – as well as City of Chicago building inspectors.