If you’re looking to improve your home’s exterior, there are lots of options for outdoor features, but you’ll want to know your terminology before you start making decisions. We asked professionals in the industry to clarify the difference between these two popular features. Read on to learn more.

Jen Stark

Jen Stark

Jen Stark, Founder of Happy DIY Home. A master gardener, interior designer, and home improvement expert, she has completed many home improvement, decor, and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house.


A porch usually runs the length of your home’s façade, and it’s an extension of the living space in your home. Porches are typically a space for entertaining or relaxing, and they usually have a roof. They’ve been around for centuries, and the main function of your porch has changed over time. However, they’re still popular for sitting and enjoying a cool breeze. They can be a decorative feature for your home that can boost your home’s curb appeal or overall design aesthetic. Porch flooring and construction vary from home to home, and you can have very formal porches or casual ones. One thing every porch has in common is how functional the space is.

On the other hand, a portico is a strictly functional part of your home. The main thing a portico does is provide shelter for yourself and your doorway from the weather as you try to go in and out of your home. You can use porticos to add a dramatic flair to your home’s look. You see porticos on large buildings or mansion-style homes, but smaller residential buildings have also adopted them. It has a roof, but the roof usually has a few columns to support it. There’s not enough area to sit, and it only takes up enough space to shield your doorway from the elements.

Made with intention

When it comes to the intended usage, there are big differences between a porch and a portico. For one, a porch is made with the intention of using the porch space for various things. For example, people might sit and talk on the porch, have a barbeque, and do activities together.

A porch is also, in most cases, covered with a roof, so it provides protection from the sun and rain. A porch is also enclosed with a fence in many cases.

A portico, on the other hand, has a different purpose. People usually don’t stick around on porticos, but simply enter the building. It’s usually supported by columns and has a roof.

Bryan Stoddard

Bryan Stoddard

Bryan Stoddard is currently running a website called Homewares Insider.
Nicole Garcia

Nicole Garcia

Nicole Garcia, CMO of Most Craft.

A space between

It’s easy to think the two terms mean the same thing because they’re so similar. But, in fact, a porch and a portico are pretty different from one another.

A porch is an extension of the home, of the actual floor and structure. It is usually located at the front and/or back entrances and serves as a small space to stand in and take your shoes off.

A portico is actually an extension of the home that leads to another building or structure. It’s often covered or partially roofed–kind of like the space between your home and pool house.

Aesthetically blend

The biggest difference between a porch and a portico is that a porch is more of an additional enclosed living space at the front of your house, while a portico is mainly a roofed structure held up by columns at the entrance of your property.

A portico will generally be more aesthetically pleasing to the front of your house, while a porch could blend in more with your house, or just be a screened-in area at the entrance to your house.

Jesse Silkoff

Jesse Silkoff

Jesse Silkoff, Co-Founder and President, MyRoofingPal.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.


  • Nate Barrett

    As the President of SRI Decks, my greatest satisfaction comes from the immediate sense of fulfillment that our work brings. From the initial design discussions with our customers to the moment we capture the final project in photos, I feel an immense pride in my team for their dedicated efforts. My passion for hands-on work and outdoor projects is matched only by the joy I derive from seeing a delighted customer when we’ve successfully completed a job. Fun Facts: I like hot chocolate in my coffee. I’ve been with SRI for 12 years, prior to ownership. I have a daughter, 3 dogs and a loving girlfriend.

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