Porch Terminology

It’s all about communication.

For example:

Incoming caller:   “I’d like to talk to someone about a patio.”

Porch Co:  “Are you thinking of a stone, brick, concrete patio?”

Caller:  “I assumed we’d use wood but I’m open.”

Porch Co:  “Oh, so you want a deck, right?”

Caller: “Well, I have a deck now.  I want it screened in.”

Porch Co:  “Oh, you want a screened porch?”

Caller:  “Yea, that’s what I said.”

Believe it or not, this happens all the time. It’s terminology. Regardless of what Webster says, it means what the person saying it thinks it means. So, we’ve developed the Porch Co Dictionary of Porch Terms we’d like to share with you. Feel free to call and argue with us. We’re open to your definition – as long as we are talking to you anyway.

Porch – Roofed structure with walls that breathe.
Roof – means waterproof overhead structure (as opposed to arbor which leaks when it rains).
Walls that breathe – this means either it is an open air porch (basically no walls – only columns) or screened (which air passes through). This specifically means that there are no windows. Our “Walls that breathe” term very specifically means – NOT A SUNROOM. NOT A GLASSED IN ROOM.
Screened Deck – we don’t like this term. But it you must use it, it implies a deck onto which a screened porch has been added.
Screened Porch – we much prefer this term. This is a Porch (see above) with screened walls.
Front Porch – just like porch – only on the front of your house. Typically covering the front door. Typically more dressy than a back porch. Typically not screened.
Back Porch – just like porch – only on the rear of your house.
Open Air Porch – another type of porch – with no fixed screen walls. However, may very well have screen curtains (see below).
Sunroom = Glassed in Room – just call this an addition with lots of windows. This is not a porch.
Deck – wooden structure (could be wood framing with composite decking) without a roof.
Patio – masonry structure without a roof.
Pavers – now this term is really confusing because even in the industry, it means different things. When we say pavers we are really talking about the method of installation of a particular type of masonry product. That installation method consists of compacted gravel base, sand and then the pavers. These pavers can be made of concrete, clay or various types of stone. IE – you can have concrete pavers, brick pavers, bluestone pavers, travertine pavers, etc. But they are all installed using the same method. What makes them pavers (in our definition) is that they are formed, cut, or shaped, to work with this method of installation. Wow – that was more than you wanted to know.
Screen Curtains – curtains made using screening material. Really cool.
Arbor = Pergola – much like a porch but with a slatted roof (that does not keep the water out). Actually, roofing material is not used – typically wood (or pvc material) with gaps between the boards. Its purpose is to provide shade and does so depending on how close together the boards are put. Put them too close together and Brentwood Codes calls it a pavilion. So again, terms are important.
Pavilion – a porch not attached to a house.
Detached Porch – a porch not attached to a house.
Gazebo – a porch not attached to a house. However, typically 8 sided.

OK – that’s enough for today. But you get our gist – we have our definitions and we like ‘em!

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