Although the terms patio and porch are often used interchangeably, there actually is a difference between the two. Why is it important to distinguish between them? Well, knowing the differences can help you decide which is right for your home and budget. Additionally, knowing the distinction will aid you in your communications with your outdoor carpentry craftsperson, allowing them to better understand your vision for your space.

Patio vs. Porch

(SugJeong / pixabay)

What a Patio and Porch Have in Common

Other than the fact that both refer to a place just off of your home where you can enjoy the outdoors, the two do not share many of the same traits. Let’s take a closer look to discover their differences and how design defines them.


A patio is made of a hard material such as concrete, rocks, gravel, or bricks. It is typically located somewhere off of the house or beside it. For example, poured concrete around a pool is a patio.

Patios are often built at ground level. This aspect makes them one of the least restricted additions to your homes when it comes to building codes because there are fewer safety regulations. Rarely is a patio high enough off the ground to have to worry about safety railings and supports, for instance.

Due to relatively low-cost materials and ease of construction, patios are often your cheaper option.


Unlike a patio, a porch is attached to your home. Its sides are usually left open, but a porch may be covered and screened in with an entry and exit point.

While a porch usually sits at the front of the house, it can also be located at the back or any entryway.

Traditionally, the porch is an extension of the house, with the same design in architecture. Nicknamed the “open-air living room,” some porches use the same material as the entryway inside the home, making it feel like it just flows into and out of the living room. However, a porch can be made of lots of different materials, from wood to brick, tile, or stone.


Porch: With the safety codes, permits, and tools necessary for a porch installation, we recommend leaving this up to professionals. Porches are rarely a good choice for a do-it-yourself project as there is a lot of complexity and, thus, a lot that could go wrong.

Patio: Depending on the simplicity of its design, a patio has the potential to be a successful DIY project. Simple concrete pavers can create a beautiful space and are relatively easy to install as long as your yard doesn’t require much leveling.

Warning: Call 811 or submit an online ticket at (Colorado 811) at least three business days in advance before digging so underground utilities can be marked! Marks are good for up to 30 calendar days while still visible.

A professional installation by our team at SRI Decks will always save you time and headaches. We have years of experience in Colorado’s rocky terrain to ensure a level patio that can weather the snow, hail, wind, and heat.

Trying to Decide Which to Add to Your Home?

Our Colorado residential outdoor carpentry professionals help you decide what will work in your space. Here are some factors to keep in mind before giving us a call:


Porches tend to be more costly than patios because of the materials and labor involved. You may also want to consider additional lighting, but don’t forget to account for the costs, such as fixtures and an electrician, especially if new or special wiring is needed.

Depending on where you live, you also might need a permit in order to add on a porch or patio, so factor that additional cost into your budget.

Patio labor and materials are generally cheaper, especially when comparing the square footage of coverage (patios tend to cover a larger space than porches).


Either option adds to the aesthetic appeal and value of your home. By some estimates, the return on investment for both average around 85%.

Location and Function

Are you hoping to add on to your outdoor space at the front or rear of your home? Do you want to entertain in a more private atmosphere, or do you prefer a more open, airy space? To determine the best choice for your home, ask yourself which you will utilize the most.

It’s a Tough Decision

Let our professional porch and patio carpenters help you in your decision-making process. We understand that sometimes either one could work well within your space, budget, and lifestyle, and we can help design the right patio or porch for you.

We’ll help you factor in your space, size, home design, location, and desired purpose/function of your patio/porch. We’ll also account for the Colorado climate, safety guidelines, your budget, and more.

We work with you to draft a plan that you can be happy with. We provide the technical expertise, and you provide the finishing touches! (Check out our Pretty-Up Your Porch blog for tips on decorating your new porch or patio.)


  • 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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