Getting ready to build out an exterior space for your home?
Porches and decks not only increase the value of your home, but also provide beautiful outdoor living spaces to host events and enjoy the weather.
If you want to elevate your home but aren’t sure if building a porch or a deck is the right move, this post is for you.
Let’s explore installing a porch vs deck, what the main differences are, and which outdoor living space is best for you. Let’s dig in!
- Porches are usually attached to entryways, and are covered by a roof. They welcome guests into the home and offer a place to relax and hangout.
- Decks are typically located in the back of a home, and are ideal for entertaining guests and outdoor living.
- Both porches and decks are made with similar materials, and require regular maintenance to make sure they last.
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Difference Between Porch and Deck
It’s definitely tough to choose between a porch and a deck. What are the main differences between the two, anyways?
The core difference between a porch and deck is the location of the structure. Porches are usually connected to the front entrance of a home and the home’s roof.
And decks are typically more private, tucked away as a backyard structure in the rear-facing side of a home.
Porches and decks usually serve different functions for homeowners. Popular porch types like screen-in porches and front-porch porticos (or a wraparound covered porch) provide shelter from the sun and rain for visitors arriving at the home.
They also offer a simple place to sit, relax, and watch the world go by. Whereas decks tend to be used for a wider variety of functions.
They may be used as a pool or jacuzzi deck, for grilling and outdoor cooking, entertaining guests, or sunbathing on outdoor furniture.
These are just a few of the core differences between the two structure types, but there are many other factors to consider when comparing decks and porches.
For our purposes today, I want to focus on the comparisons that are relevant for you: location, materials, maintenance, longevity, and cost.
As mentioned above, the #1 difference between a these outdoor spaces is the location.
Porches are typically a covered structure, attached to the entryway of your home that cover your front door. But they can extend the whole ground floor the house or even fully wrap around the sides and back.
Regardless, a porch serves as a welcoming entry point into the house. And with a cute budget porch makeover, it can really wow your visitors without breaking the bank.
Decks are usually built in the backyard or rear-facing side of a home’s property. They’re not necessarily meant to increase the curb appeal of the home, or even be seen from the road.
But they are excellent for increasing the value of a home. Plus, they’re definitely more private and dynamic if that’s what you’re looking for.
The materials used to build porches and decks are similar. Decks and porches alike are usually built using one of these materials:
- Untreated natural hardwood
- Composite, polymer
- Pressure-treated wood
- Concrete or stone
In addition, some porches have added features and materials. Think: posts connected to their roof structure, roofing materials, screens, walls, glass, or even a porch gate. Decks may also have a gate structure around their perimeter.
Type of maintenance required for porches and decks is somewhat similar, but decks will generally require more maintenance and upkeep due to their larger size and frequency of use.
This is especially true if your deck is made out of pressure-treated or untreated wood, which is probably stained or painted and sealed. It will need to be restained or resealed every few years.
(Need help staining your wood deck? We’ve got you covered.)
Being that decks usually have a larger surface area than basic front porches, restaining, repainting, sanding and refinishing, and power-washing will take more materials and time to accomplish.
Decks may hold heavier furniture or equipment, which presents another challenge when cleaning or restaining a deck.
Another factor to consider is most porches don’t have a crawl space underneath, but most decks have an empty space below them that can range from 2 to 4 feet.
This is something to consider as additional maintenance. You may be facing wildlife moving in underneath, or trapped rotting leaves and weeds to clean out annually.
The longevity of a porch or deck will truly depend on the materials used to make it, proper maintenance, and how much action it sees. Let’s start with decks.
Hard wood decks made of lumbers like teak and cedar look absolutely gorgeous, especially with a nice stain.
And well-maintained wood decks can last around 10 to 15 years. But if your deck is made out of a composite or polymer material, it can last as long as 25 to 50 years!
Porches have a slight leg-up here. They’re usually not as susceptible to the elements and weather changes, since they are usually covered overhead. Many porches are also screened in, partially enclosed, or have posts protecting their materials.
So while porch flooring material has a similar lifespan as decks (wood or composite), it’s likely your porch will endure just as long, if not longer, than a deck.
Cost of Installation
The overall price of a new porch for your house varies widely, depending on the company you hire, the materials used, and whether the porch is raised with steps, or enclosed like a screened-in porch.
The cheapest type of porch is a basic slab-foundation porch, which definitely requires less maintenance. Overall, the more details and components you add, the higher the cost will climb. For example, a large porch will be the most expensive.
Deck costs will vary greatly as well, depending on the materials you use and the size of the deck.
The cheapest materials for decking are composite decking and pressure-treated wood. Exotic hardwoods will increase that cost significantly.
The cheapest type of deck costs around $4,500. And the most expensive new deck can cost around $11,000.
Porch VS Deck: Which One is Right For Your Home?
Now that you know a lot more about the differences between a porch and a deck, let’s talk about what’s right for your home.
I want you to consider your individual needs. Then we’ll review the major pros and cons of each type of outdoor space, so you feel fully informed.
Consider Your Unique Needs
Consider these five factors to help you select which new outdoor living space you want to build:
- Your budget. What is your budget? Keep in mind, a large exotic hard wood deck and wood porch with all the bells and whistles will command higher price tags.
- Visual appeal. What area of your house do you want to spruce up the most? Is your home’s curb appeal the priority? Or a gorgeous backyard for entertaining guests?
- Lifestyle. Consider your family’s lifestyle. Do you do a lot of grilling and summer pool parties? Maybe a deck is in your future.
- Maintenance. How much time and effort do you want to dedicate to maintaining the structure? Porches are slightly lower-maintenance.
- Children. Do you have young children running around? Screened-in porches and fenced decks will keep them safe. Raised open porches and decks might present more challenges.
Porch Pros and Cons
There’s nothing like a beautiful wraparound porch or charming portico to frame the front of your home.
Front porches feel warm and reminiscent of southern living, where smiling homeowners greet passersby from a porch swing.
Do you want to present a welcoming house where visitors can seek shelter and hospitality? Let’s weigh the pros and cons of a porch.
- Ups the curb appeal of the home
- Provides shelter from weather
- Comes in a wide variety of styles
- Welcoming guests year round
- Offers a light seating area with sun for relaxing
- Offers view of the road to watch cars or people walk by
- Less overall maintenance than a deck
- If elevated, may present a safety hazard for young children
- Less private than a deck
- Not as functionally versatile as a deck
- If elevated, may make home wheelchair-inaccessible
- Requires more decoration & design to look visually appealing
- Generally more expensive than a deck, especially for a complex porch
Deck Pros and Cons
Decks are just awesome. These attached or separate addition outdoor platforms can serve many functions, from hosting guests to throwing backyard barbecues, fire pit gatherings, and pool parties.
Decks are amazing for increasing the value of a home, and for relaxing outdoors in relative privacy.
Let’s go over the pros and cons of building a deck.
- Outdoor living space to host parties and entertain
- Offers more privacy and sun than a front porch
- Provides an outdoor living space that can connect to back door
- Somewhat more affordable than building out a porch
- Composite decks are easy to clean by power-washing
- Has a wide variety of functions and uses
- If raised, may present a safety hazard for young children
- Takes more work to maintain than a modest porch
- May need repairs more; higher exposure to nature
- Provides little shelter from weather
Is back porch the same as deck?
A back porch is the same as a deck. Porches usually sit in the front of a home, and may wrap around to the back. But if the porch is solely found in the back of the home, this would be considered a deck.
What is the front deck of a house called?
The front deck of a house can be called a front porch, farmers porch, veranda open air porch, covered patio, or a portico.
There are many different styles of front porch; some are open air for natural light, some are sheltered by a roof, and some are fully enclosed with walls or screened-in.
What looks better a deck or patio?
Whether a deck or patio looks better depends on your personal tastes. Decks are usually elevated above the ground, and may offer a better view of the surrounding area.
They’re often made with natural wood or composite wood material. Patios are built at ground-level, and are usually made of brick, stone, concrete, or gravel.
Many prefer the aesthetics of the wood look, but patio stone or brick masonry can also look quite beautiful.
There you have it, our comprehensive porch vs deck guide. We’ve covered what porches and decks are, the major differences between the two, and the pros and cons of each.
Hopefully you feel far more informed about choosing which one is right for your next home exterior project.
You really can’t go wrong with either one of these lovely structures. Your guests will love it, and you’ll love how easy it is to enjoy the great outdoors right at home!
Jessica Vaillancourt is a freelance writer and blogger obsessed with the Travel, Wellness, and Personal Development industries.
She has 5+ years of experience helping human-first agencies, global companies, and entrepreneurs crush their content marketing goals, and serve more people. Jessica’s work has appeared on leading websites like UpgradedHome.com, BetterHelp.com, and TheDiaryofaNomad.com.
Today, her sole focus (besides finding the world’s best coffee shop) is writing to serve humans, and slow traveling abroad to expand her mind. You can get to know her work at JessAnneWriting.com.