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Porches and Patios

Porches and Patios

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The urge to live in the open air comes as naturally to people as their urge to seek shelter, and architectural history abounds in examples of ways to satisfy both. Two classical approaches, the porch and the patio, have long been part of the American scene, and — with a recent variation, the deck — are common appendages to modern homes.
Each kind of structure differs substantially from the others in form as well as in spirit. A porch is a roofed structure attached to the house, often at a point of entrance. It may have a concrete floor, but more commonly it has a wood floor that very much resembles the tongue-and-groove flooring on the inside of the house. The floorboards rest on joists supported by masonry piers.
Patios and decks are essentially open-air structures, although they may have some sort of rudimentary sun screen. A patio is a masonry platform set at ground level, and it can be formal or intormal, depending on the materials used. Bricks set in sand, or concrete pavers sunk in gravel, are considerably more casual than an elegantly veneered surface of ceramic tiles. Decks are deliberately informal. Built of wood and often left unfinished, they are meant for rustic settings and hard use and are frequently chosen for rough terrains.