This is an example of patio. vs This is a photo example of a deck.

In the field of home construction there has always been an ever existing question that will be asked time and time again. That question is: what is the difference between a patio and a deck?

A lot of people often confuse the two for good reason. They are both part of a home and are often made of the same materials. They often hold the same function. So what would be true difference be? As it turns out, there are several differences.

Here are some of them:


It Is All About “Elevation”

A patio is any outdoor area of a home that is built on “ground level”. We put a little bit more emphasis on ground level because that will depend on what ground level is for a home. Elevated terrain counts as level ground; as long as that is where the rest of the house is on as well.

A deck is often above ground and will often require solid foundation in order to function properly. If you have any balcony of any sort, that counts as a deck. Decks are often quite expansive and as such require significant support from its foundation.



A patio was normally separated from the outside through screen windows and doors. The purpose of old patios, or lanais as they were called in Hawaii, is to allow a feel of the natural air without having to be fully exposed to the elements. More of today’s patios are open with features like fire pits.

A deck is only usually sectioned off with railings. These railings keep people safely on the deck. The view that decks offer (since they are usually elevated) is a lot better in quality. A lot of high terrain homes have decks to fully enjoy the surrounding scenery. There are stricter measures for safety for decks rather than patios.



A traditional patio is normally at the back of the home and fully integrated into it. It might as well be another room in a home. There is usually an open doorway or arch that leads homeowners and guests into a patio from the other parts of the house.

A deck is often at the front of a home. In such cases, they are called porches. Decks will also have a full on door separating it from the rest of the home. Decks are often external access and fully exposed to the elements unlike the home enveloped patio.


Final Thoughts

In the search between the difference between the concepts of a patio and a deck, we found that they bore a lot of similarities and were freely interchangeable words. It is only in the recent few decades that people began to truly discern the difference between the two of them.

Well regardless of the differences, they still both hold the same purpose: extra space for entertaining family and guests. Given the little differences that we have stated above, which are you more inclined to have in your home: a patio or a deck?