Every home and building that has some form of external structure confuses many people regarding the name of these external structures and what they are specifically designed and used for. The terrace and the porch are two such external structures that cause much confusion among many people. What are the important differences between a terrace and a porch?
A terrace is a larger platform built onto the outside of the ground floor, roof, or upper floors of a house or building. A terrace has no roof, can be made from wood or brick and is intended for general outdoor use. A porch is a smaller platform on ground level and is an extension of an entrance.
There are several significant differences between a terrace and a porch, regardless of the specific definitions that you use for each structure. Let’s take the time to properly identify these structures and compare the terrace to the porch to eliminate the confusion regarding these architectural features once and for all.
Terrace Vs. Porch: What’s The Difference?
The terrace and the porch are both common architectural features on many homes and buildings everywhere in the world. These are easy structures to identify if you know the difference between them and understand what they are designed for.
Let’s highlight some of the important differences between the terrace and the porch to properly identify these common structures.
The terrace is a raised platform that is attached to a house and is not constructed with a roof. A terrace can be made from wood or bricks and stone and is usually an addition made to a house rather than a structural part of the building.
This type of platform can be on the ground floor of a building and is similar to a deck, but it can also be on the roof of a building or built alongside the building on a higher floor. A terrace is not a balcony, as it is typically larger than a balcony and never has a roof.
A terrace can be built on any side of a building and can be any size. This structure is typically used as an entertainment area or a place to enjoy the outdoors in comfort, as it is usually fitted with comfortable outdoor furniture and has plenty of room for multiple people.
By contrast, a porch is a very different external structure. A porch is usually smaller than a terrace, it is never made from wood, it is always on the ground floor, it always has a roof, it is usually constructed at the front of the building, and it is typically considered to be an extension of the entrance to the building.
A porch usually has some form of pillars supporting its roof, it is specifically designed to be aesthetically pleasing, and it is not always designed to be an outdoor entertainment area. However, there are some porch designs that are large enough for some outdoor furniture and are a good place to sit and enjoy the outdoors while protected from the sun and rain.
A porch is almost always built around the main entrance to a building, usually the front door, but can sometimes be built around the back door as well, but it is always constructed as an extension of an entrance, while a terrace can be built as a type of balcony or multi-purpose outdoor area conjoined to a house.
What Is Considered A Terrace?
Defining what a terrace is can be confusing simply because there are so many different design iterations for this type of structure, and many people have their own definition of what a terrace is.
However, defining what is considered a terrace is more simple than you may expect, as this structure is a definitive structure that has a clear definition.
A terrace is an outdoor structure attached to a house that does not have a roof and is always intended for outdoor entertainment, socializing, relaxing, or general seating. A terrace can be made from multiple materials, it can wrap the entire way around a building, and it is generally considered to be an additional structure rather than a permanent feature of a building.
Terraces are excellent areas for those who enjoy entertaining and hosting guests, those who enjoy a good cookout, or those who want to increase the versatility of their home.
A terrace does not usually have a roof and is therefore often equipped with outdoor sun umbrellas, weather-proof furniture, and is made with a non-slip surface.
This structure can be built on any level of a building and is not confined to a specific use case. A terrace can be similar to a veranda if it is built on the ground floor, or it can be similar to a balcony if it is built on an upper floor of a house. A terrace is never structural and can be easily added to any house.
Any structure that fits these definitions is considered to be a terrace.
What Is Considered A Porch?
Now that we have defined a terrace, it is important that we also consider the porch and define what outdoor structures fall under this label to more clearly define the differences between the structures.
A porch is a much simpler structure when compared to a terrace. A porch is usually much smaller than a terrace and always structural to a section of a house.
A porch does not have to be level with the ground, but it is always level with the ground floor of the building, as it is built to be part of an entranceway into the building.
The fact that a porch is designed to form part of an entry means that it is usually made with a roof to protect people coming in and out of the building from the weather and provide a place that is protected from elements such as rain while the house is being opened.
A porch is not usually made to be an outdoor area that is used for outdoor entertaining or hosting; neither is it built to be big enough for multiple furniture items, but it may be big enough for one or two chairs or a bench.
By definition, a porch is usually only a small section in front of the main entrance to a building and thus is not the same thing as a terrace, veranda, or patio.
We have articles on both and terraces and porches here on the site, some of which we have highlighted below.
- Back porch color ideas
- How to landscape a front porch
- How far from the door should a porch light be
- How to modernize an old porch
- Porch railing ideas
- Differences between roof and terraces
A terrace is a much larger structure than a porch and is designed to be used for outdoor hosting, socializing, cooking, dining, and relaxing. A terrace can be upstairs or downstairs and is typically an addition to a house. A porch is considered an extension of an entrance, always has a roof, and is usually built at the front entrance of a building or home.
A terrace is a very different structure from a porch and cannot be considered the same. These structures have different appearances and different uses and are made with different intentions. Never assume a terrace to be a porch or vice versa, as these structures are very different from one another.