Balcony Vs Patio Vs Terrace Vs Porch: Pros, Cons, And Major Differences

Outdoor living spaces allow you to enjoy nature and get closer to your neighbors. There are many options for outdoor spaces. Balconies, patios, terraces, and porches are sometimes used interchangeably. So, what are their differences, and what are they? We've done the research and can tell you!

Balconies are enclosed areas with an access point through one of the upper level's doors. Patios are paved areas next to buildings and on the ground floor.

Terraces are most commonly found on rooftops but can also be adjoining the building.

Finally, porches are located at the front of homes. These are commonly raised, covered areas that can be screened off.

When done correctly, these features can raise your home's value. In addition, they provide places where you can sit outside and view nature. However, many of these items will be expensive to build. Some of them will continue to require time and money to maintain.

Outdoor spaces are a highly sought-after commodity in living spaces. Balconies, patios, terraces, and porches are similar outdoor living spaces that you can add to your home. While similar, each of these spaces is unique and can add different things to your house.

Let's take a closer look at each design feature so we can learn more about their differences, their good and bad, and more!

different outdoor living spaces in one collage. Balcony Vs Patio Vs Terrace Vs Porch Pros, Cons, And Major Differences

Balconies

A balcony is an enclosed platform that is connected to the side of a building. These areas typically have additional columns as supports. However, they can be built without them, although they'll need extra support.

Balconies can have a roof covering, but it isn't required. They will always include a railing or wall to protect people from falling. 

The main differences between this living space and others are its location, size, and how it's accessed. Balconies are always found on an upper level with access through the home.

They also have a railing or small wall and the option to be covered. Balconies are very similar to terraces but can often be differentiated based on their size, as balconies tend to be smaller.

Elegant decorated balcony with rattan outdoor furniture, bright pillows and plants

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Balcony Pros

A balcony provides a safe and private area where you can enjoy nature in. In addition, you can also use this space as a storage area or to keep plants. 

Balcony Cons

Balconies can often be very small compared to other outdoor spaces. Depending on where you live, you may also have to follow the rules about what you can keep on your balcony.

There are also some safety concerns with this living space. The railings for balconies are designed to keep people safe. However, they can still pose hazards to babies and small animals.

Looking for ways to get more privacy on your balcony? Check out "How To Cover Balcony Railing For Privacy [Ideas To Inspire You]."

Patio

A patio can be found next to a building on the ground level. Patios can be open or enclosed and are usually paved/ Some common ways to pave a patio include concrete, gravel, bricks, or pavers.

dream home for outdoor gatherings and parties. patio on the side of a suburban home

Patio Pros

Patios are great places to sit and relax outside. They are commonly used to entertain guests and to make and serve food. Installing a patio can also be cost-effective.

There are a wide variety of cheaper materials that you can select, which will help reduce costs. In addition, patios tend to require less maintenance than a porch or terrace.

Patio Cons

Unfortunately, some patio materials are more prone to cracking in certain conditions. Concrete patios can break over time. There are a couple of things that can cause them. One is heat; hotter weather causes concrete to expand. Once it can't grow anymore, it cracks.

Another reason is due to patio construction happening on the ground. The natural shifting of the dirt can cause patio damage. Another downside to patios is that they do best in areas where you already have flat land.

Terrace

A terrace is a raised, flat area typically paved and close to a building. These features don't necessarily have to be connected to a building. Many terraces can be found on rooftops.

However, you can also find them in front of monumental buildings, with evenly spaced columns or built nearby houses on a platform or foundation.

You can easily find these design features in residential and commercial settings. They are primarily used to connect buildings to nature and as a place for social gatherings.

Hard landscaping, new luxury stone terrace

Terrace Pros

These areas can be pretty large. So, you'll have a lot more space for furniture and entertaining with a terrace. Since they aren't covered, you'll also have an uninterrupted view of the world around you. You can also expect a terrace to add a lot of value to your home.

Terrace Cons

Unfortunately, terraces are expensive to build. If you want a rooftop terrace, you'll need to be careful to use good workers and high-quality materials.

They will have to ensure that your roof can support it, which may uncover more costs. It's also essential that the expansions are up to the city code.

Maintaining a terrace can also take a lot of time and money, depending on your material. Since these spaces are open, you may be limited in how often you can use them.

However, this will depend on the climate where you live.

Porch

A porch is a covered area surrounding the area around the door to a home. The size and style of a porch can vary greatly. Some are smaller and cover the doorway, but others wrap around the house or are wholly screened off.

The primary purpose, and one of the things that set this design feature apart, is that the porch provides an area to enjoy the front yard instead of the backyard.

Need help screening your porch? Check out this post, "How To Frame A Screen Porch Door Opening."

Covered front porch to beautiful home.

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Porch Pros

One of the best things about porches is that they are more versatile than other options. You can have an enclosed area protected from bugs or an open one that doesn't block your view.

Porches are also great transition areas. You can enter and exit your house while still being protected from the weather.

Porch Cons

A porch can vary in price to install depending on what you what to have done. However, they do tend to be a little more expensive to put in.

For screened porches, if the screen is damaged, you'll also have to deal with potentially costly repairs. Finally, sometimes termites can be prone to termites.

Take a look at this amazing outdoor furniture set on Amazon!

What is the best option for my home?

You'll need to determine what you want from your outdoor space before you decide which feature to add. If you're looking for something to put on an upper level, you may want a terrace or balcony.

If you want something closer to the ground, a porch, patio, or terrace may be the one for you.

You'll also need to decide if you want your space covered or enclosed. For enclosed areas, you're most likely looking at getting a balcony or porch.

You should also consider your climate when selecting an outdoor feature. If you want an open space, like a terrace, but live in an area with extreme weather, you may be limited by how much you can use it.

Does Outdoor Space Add Value To Home?

Many people are interested in having outdoor spaces in their homes. They can add value to our lives and the home if you decide to sell. However, there are some things to remember when adding home upgrades.

When you do any upgrades, it's crucial to keep them consistent throughout the house. So, if you're planning on adding a balcony or porch, make sure that it makes sense with the quality of the rest of the house.

You should also avoid over-upgrading your house compared to the neighborhood. If you live in a bad area, having a nice house with many amenities doesn't necessarily raise the value.

On the other hand, if many of your neighbors have outdoor living spaces, adding some to your house won't necessarily raise your property value. In this case, it's because these features are seen as standard in your area.

sunlit balcony with wooden floor and wall of an architectural contemporary home. Balcony Vs Patio Vs Terrace Vs Porch Pros, Cons, And Major Differences

In Conclusion

Balconies, porches, terraces, and patios are all fairly similar outdoor living spaces available. Some of their biggest differences include their size, location, and purpose. Regardless of which you select, a nicely built outdoor feature will give you a place to be closer to nature and enjoy more of your home!

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