Patio Vs. Deck Vs. Porch: These Are The Differences

Once a person has purchased a home, the next step is to make it perfect for their living style. Redecorating or even renovating the interior is a common first step. Repainting is a very common decorating step for new homeowners. Those moving into a newly built home don’t have any renovations or painting to do, they just need to add their furniture and accessories to make the home truly theirs. But, what about outdoor living spaces? Many homes do not have patios, decks, or porches when the family moves in. Adding the right outdoor living space is an important next step.

What Type of Outdoor Living Space is Right?

A family can choose to build a patio, deck, or porch for their outdoor living activities. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. There are also cost differences. But, no matter which type of space a family chooses, they must purchase outdoor cooking appliances and furniture to make it usable. Going to RTA Outdoor Living online is a very good start. There will be a lot of information, and a homeowner can even order a grill to use outdoors in the yard while waiting to build a deck, patio, or porch. Here is a little information on each type of outdoor structure.


A patio is the least-expensive, simplest structure to build for outdoor living. Patios do not usually require building permits. They are built directly on the ground and do not affect the home structure at all. Just to be safe, check with the city to make sure they will not require a permit for your unique patio design.

When a homeowner is deciding on a budget for a new patio, they should take into consideration the material to be used, the cost of installation, the location, and the size of the patio. Patios are made of affordable materials such as poured concrete, stamped concrete blocks, stone, brick, or patio tiles. The preparation of the foundation and the installation of the floor is less expensive.

Patios are also the outdoor living choice that is the easiest for a homeowner to do as a DIY project if they have the skill and time. There are lots of how-to videos, YouTube entries, and books available to use as guidance. When done well, this is a very cost-effective and satisfying project for a homeowner. Patios are also easier to maintain and last longer than wood decks.


Decks have a lot of benefits, including the fact that they can be built at different heights, sizes, and layouts. A deck can be built-in, multi-level configurations and can be built as an extension to a second-level dining room or family room with steps down to the lawn. Decks are built above ground with the wood framing for the floor covered with materials such as wood, wood composite, or plastic composite.

A deck is usually attached to the home and can be a couple of feet off the ground and adjacent to a dining or family area. These structures normally require a building permit. When building a deck, the builder must follow local building codes. A deck can cost between $6,000 and 23,000 to build depending on the size, layout, and materials used.

The deck will require safety features like railings so it will be child safe. Decks can increase property values and make it easier to sell a home. Decks can include extra features like fire pits, hot tubs, and outdoor kitchen areas.


A porch is the most-expensive outdoor living addition of the three structures, but it also offers more benefits. The porch is also built above ground with wood framing covered with decking of wood or composite materials. The porch has the additional advantage of being covered and out of the weather. It has a roof and rails or partial walls that define the space. Because of the roofing, a porch is easier to maintain than a deck.

A porch can cost as much as $16,000 to $31,000 to have built, and is not as easy to build as a DIY project. A porch is viewed as a home addition and will require building permits and following local building codes. While decks are normally added to the back of a house, porches are normally located at the front of the home, adding to curb appeal. The porch is a large addition to the home’s entry area and is accessed by walking up a set of front steps.

A lot of porches are screened in as well as having railings or partial walls. This gives them more year-round usage and protects homeowners from insects. Porches are great for sitting in and watching the street goings-on and calling out greetings to neighbors. Adding a porch may not increase the value of a home, but it increases the curb appeal, making a home easier to sell. A porch also makes for nice outdoor living enjoyment. If a home has a deteriorated porch, it is imperative to replace it with a nice, sturdy one to maintain the home’s value and safety.

In the end, the decision about which outdoor living structure to add to a home might come down to homeowner expectations, budgets, and the layout of the home and lot. The use a homeowner wants to put the space to will also make a difference. A lower budget and first-floor dining or family space will make a patio easier to build and use. Convenience is important with outdoor kitchens. The homeowner will be carrying food and beverages from the home’s kitchen to the outdoor living space.

So, a home that is ranch-style or single-story built on a concrete slab is ideal for a patio. A home that is built on a crawl space, split level plan, or any style where the kitchen and dining area are above ground level a couple of feet will require a deck to be built at the same level for convenience and traffic flow. Decks are also ideal for backyards that are not level.

Traditional style homes may not have space in the back for a patio or a deck but have a nice, big space at the front for a porch. If that’s the case, the decision is made for the homeowner. In addition, there is no reason a family can not choose to build a porch at the side or back of a house if they prefer a more protected outdoor living space and have the money to invest.

Be first to comment