Deck vs. Patio: Do You Know The Proper Term for Your Outdoor Addition?

You’ve decided to add an outdoors extension to your home. You dream of a space that you, your family and your friends can gather, make memories, and enjoy the great outdoors. But, do you know how to articulate exactly what you want to a contractor?

Many homeowners simply refer to a constructed outside space as a “porch”, when in fact, there are a wide variety of outdoor additions with distinctive defining characteristics and using the proper term will save you time, confusion and perhaps even money throughout the construction process.

Porch vs. Deck vs. Balcony vs. Patio vs. Veranda vs. Portico

Outdoor additions have many names but are often misidentified by homeowners. Here are the five most common outdoor addition types and their defining characteristics.


Porch: Varying in square footage, porches are a covered addition protruding from an entrance of a house or building (front or back) and enclosed using walls, columns or screens.porch



Decks: decks can be built near the ground but are not placed directly on the ground and feature some type of support system. Typically constructed of wood or vinyl and enclosed with some type of railing, decks can be built off of the lower floor of a home, such as the living room or kitchen, or they might be added to an upper-level room or even on a rooftop setting.deck



Balcony: a platform fixed to the outside of a building, enclosed by walls or railings and supported by columns or console brackets. Balconies are usually small and not typically used for entertainment purposes.balcony



Patio: an outdoor space that is constructed directly on the ground, may be connected to the house or in a separate section of the yard, and frequently have concrete foundations, but may be made of stone, tile, pavers, brick or other materials. Patios typically do not have a railing and may or may not be covered.patio



Veranda or Verandah: seen prominently throughout the southern United States, verandas are defined as a roofed, open-air gallery or porch that is often partly enclosed by a railing or screening and frequently extends across the front and sides of the structure.veranda



Portico: a raised step area leading to the main door of a home that is covered with a small patch of roofing usually held up by decorative pillars.portico



Are you looking to include an outdoor addition in your next home renovation? Maya Construction, remodeling contractor Chicago, can attend to all of your outdoor addition needs. We offer architectural design services; permit expediting, city of Chicago violation assistance and, of course, free estimates. Whether you want to build with wood, steel or a combination of both, we’ll do it right the first time. Visit to receive a free estimate.