There’s no doubt in my mind that concrete porches and steps are ugly. They don’t fit with an older home; a concrete porch looks and probably was tacked on without any thought or aesthetic consideration. Older homes usually have lovely wooden porches that look just right — concrete doesn’t.

Even on a newer home, it wouldn’t hurt to dress up a concrete porch.

If you’ve got a concrete porch that is solid, you can tile it. Try a black matte porcelain tile for a gorgeous contemporary look. You can use terracotta or a non-slippery ceramic too — just make sure the tile is meant for outdoor conditions.

Natural stone (granite, sandstone, or limestone), thinly cut and cemented onto a cement porch looks stunning. Faux stone brings down the cost a little, but labour costs, if somebody else is doing the work, is the major expense. Doing it yourself, if you’re the handy type, remains one of the best ways to save money. But, be sure to seal it.

The same goes for clay pavers. Since these tend to be thicker than most tiles or stone, you’ve got to have sufficient height between the top of your porch and the bottom of your door.

Other people decide the look of wood is what they want. This would involve framing and nailing down planks. Again, you’ll have to make sure you have enough room between the door bottom and the top of the porch.

Another great way of covering up a concrete porch is with interlocking wooden deck tiles, which are simply laid down. And, you can pick them up and take them with you when you move. How great is that?

Painting a concrete porch may work, especially if you are experienced at faux effects. Taping off rectangles (perhaps three by six inches) and painting the exposed concrete the colour of the brick on your house can work. You can also reproduce the look of wood. Just make sure to use an experienced faux painter, since an amateurish job can look, well, amateurish.

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