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Why porches are slanted in Charleston

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Home in downtown Charleston | Photo by CHStoday

Have you ever noticed slanted porches in Charleston? We did some digging, and it turns out the tilt is there for a reason. Before we dive into the explanation, we’ll give you a quick run-down on porches in the Holy City.

A piazza — Italian for “open space” — is a covered porch held up by columns on a home. In the Holy City, the porch typically runs lengthwise on a Charleston single house — a narrow home that’s one room wide and two rooms deep.

The piazza came to Charleston in the 1700s and was often built facing south or west to help catch the sea breeze. Air conditioning wouldn’t cool Southern homes until the 1950s and 60s, and porches provided a place to cool off during Charleston summers.

Some downtown homes lean sideways simply due to age, but sloped porches are often designed that way. The slanted structure, tilting away from the home, prevents rainwater from pooling during storms + allows water to run off the porch.

These slanted piazzas are part of the Holy City’s historic charm, often featuring bench swings, gas lanterns + haint blue ceilings. Next time you step out on a porch in Charleston and find yourself walking downhill, you’ll know why.