Most homeowners tend to use the terms ‘porch’ and ‘patio’ interchangeably. This is understandable, given the similarities in the use of these structures and differences in regions. However, there are multiple structural differences between the two. Understanding these differences can help you make the best decision for your home in terms of architectural design. So, what is the difference between a porch and a patio?
The porch is a transitional space protecting the front entryway/ back entry attached to the house with a wood frame floor and a rooftop. Patio on the other hand is a space with an open roof where you can enjoy sunlight, outdoor cooking, dining, and entertainment attached or detached to the house.
What is considered a Porch?
A porch is a structural extension of the house, typically covered at the top and situated at the front or back entrance. Porches are typically open on the sides, but can also be enclosed, with enclosed porches being either screen-enclosed or glass-enclosed. Since porches are considered extensions of the main house, rather than separate additions, they typically share its roofing. In some regions, a porch is also known as a veranda or loggia.
What is considered a Patio?
A patio- meanwhile- is an outdoors structure that can either be top-covered or not. Unlike porches that come attached to the main building, patios can be either extensions or separate, free-standing structures close to the main house. Finally, patios are typically open (not enclosed), with enclosed or walled patio types being referred to as courtyards instead.
Porch vs Patio Differences
What’s the difference between a porch and a patio. The table below highlights the differences between patios and porches:
|Typically left open at the top, but some are covered||Typically features a roofing element|
|Flooring is usually level to the ground||Flooring mirrors the main house’s elevation|
|Acts as an outdoor entertainment and dining area||Acts as a transitional pathway into the main house, as well as an outdoor relaxation spot.|
|It may be adjacent or detached from the main house||Mostly connected\attached to the main house|
Here are some of the outstanding differences between patio or porch:
1. The location of the structure
Porches are situated at the front of the house while patios are located in the home’s backyard. In addition, porches are usually attached to the main house, while a patio may be structurally connected to the main building or not.
2. Type of flooring required
Since patios tend to be located a bit further from the main house and are also built directly into the ground, they’re usually more exposed to harsh weather conditions from all directions. This- therefore- necessitates the use of hardy flooring materials like stone, brick, or concrete. Porches- meanwhile- are typically built on raised foundations and are better shielded from adverse weather by the main house. As such, porch flooring can include lighter, less-water resistant materials like wood.
3. Installation requirements
Installation of a porch is generally a more complex process compared to patio installation. When installing your new porch, you’ll need to ensure that the designs and materials used aesthetically align with the exterior of your main house, as porches are considered structural extensions of the main house. Such detailed work usually requires professionals, thus undertaking porch installation as a DIY project isn’t recommended.
Patio installation- meanwhile- is relatively simpler and less time-consuming. You can undertake patio installation as a DIY project, but only if you undertake the proper installation steps.
4. Maintenance and repair requirements
The maintenance and repair needs for a patio and a porch may differ depending on the type of construction material used on the porch. For instance, a porch with wooden flooring calls for periodic sanding, staining, and painting to keep it looking great.
Meanwhile, a patio made from stone or brick will require regular cleaning using water applied at high pressure. Regular checks for floor cracks are also crucial since patios are often subjected to harsh outdoor weather.
Installation cost; Which one is cheaper?
Generally, it’ll cost you more to build a porch than building a patio because the latter requires less labor and material resources. For instance, for a 320-square foot porch, you may have to part with upwards of $4,000, including the costs of enclosure and top-covering. And these estimations are just for DIY projects, as labor costs could run up an additional $17, 000 on your expenditure tab.
On the other hand, constructing a similar-sized patio may cost you an average of $1000 if it’s a DIY project. Professional patio installation, meanwhile, costs an average of $3000, including labor and material. This is significantly cheaper compared to the aforementioned costs of professional porch installation.
Read More: Best Plants for a Screened Porch
Should you choose a Patio or Porch for your Yard?
The answer to this question depends on various factors like aesthetic design needs and functional needs, as discussed below:
1. Aesthetic requirements
Your choice could depend on whether you want to enhance your home’s architectural design or landscape design. While both serve to enhance curb appeal, a porch is the better option for those who want to enhance the main house’s exterior appearance. A patio, meanwhile, is a good choice if you want to add to your outdoor landscaping elements.
2. Functional requirements
While both porches and patios serve functional purposes, their utilitarian roles are quite different. This should help you decide on which one to install, depending on what purpose you’re hoping to use the structure for. If you need an outdoor relaxation spot that still reserves that indoor feel, then, a porch is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for an outdoor entertainment space with features like fire pits and pergolas, then a patio would be the better choice.
Despite the differences, they both present significant benefits to homeowners in terms of increasing the home’s resale value. By installing a new porch or renovating your existing porch, you’ll be able to enhance your curb appeal, consequently allowing your property to fetch higher sale prices in the real estate market.
Similarly, depending on the size and type of materials used in construction, your new backyard patio can significantly boost your home’s sales prices in the real estate market. So, whichever of the two you choose to install, you still stand to benefit a lot.
Some problems that you may encounter on your porch include;