What Exactly Is the Difference Between a Deck and a Porch?

ed09sep14b2a15Having a platform in your yard gives you the basics to create an outdoor room.  Your two basic choices are a deck or a porch. Both can be considered outdoor living spaces.

So what is the difference between a deck and a porch?

Let us start with the simple answer  – the first distinction between the two is the location:

  • A porch is generally positioned in the front of your home and it is usually a sheltered area where your guests can stand before coming into your home.
  • A deck can be positioned in the back of your home or on the side of the home, and it usually used as a living area or more commonly a recreational area.

This distinction isn’t set in stone, however.  front decks are becoming more common, and back porches are often found on older homes.  You’ll also find wraparound porches that encircle two or more side of the house.

The Main Difference Between a Deck and a Porch

Even though a porch as well as a deck can be very similar in design, decks are more often than not uncovered platforms, while porches are covered enclosures.  In some cases the two can merge, such as when a home has a wraparound porch where the side section leads to a back deck.

Porch Characteristics

A porch is intended to protect guests from the weather as they are waiting to come into a house. It may be an extremely uncomplicated structure or it may be rather elaborate, but in either case, a porch is characteristically built into the sustaining structure of the house, meaning that it is an exterior structure, but it is attached to the home itself.  Its covering is permanent and is often an extension of the home’s roof.

Larger porches may accommodate an outdoor sitting area, and a porch may be partially enclosed or screened.

Deck Characteristics

Both a porch as well as a deck may be used for leisure time, but a deck is constructed mainly for relaxation. Decks are normally open air structures, although in more recent years, it has become a common practice to either cover or enclose a deck in order to protect against weather elements as well as bugs.  And if a covering is used on a deck, it is usually something like a pergola (not necessarily attached to the house).

A deck is typically a wooden structure, or it may be constructed from composite resources, and it is usually attached to the home.  Here there’s a major difference between a deck and a porch.  While a porch is constructed as part of the home’s structure, a deck is simply attached to the exterior of the home.  And in recent years, the unattached or floating deck has become popular.

Another difference between a porch and a deck is diverse functionality: a deck is constructed to accommodate many activities – for example it may double as a surround for a pool or spa, it may contain an outdoor kitchen, or a fire pit may be added to it.

If a porch is what you’re looking for, a building contractor can help you.  But if a deck is in your future, we’re the ones to call.  Why not contact us today to set up a free initial in-home design consultation?  We can get the planning process going for the deck of your dreams.  We are a licensed MN landscape design and installation contractor serving Minneapolis, St. Paul and outlying MN communities.