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What is the Difference between a Porch, Patio, Verandah & Lanai Enclosure?

lanai enclosure

Surrounding exterior living spaces with screen enclosures can create the perfect mix of inside and out. Are you dreaming of a porch or patio screen enclosure? Would a verandah or lanai enclosure make it easier to enjoy the beauty of the world right outside your door? We’ve heard customers use terms such as porch, patio, verandah and a screen lanai enclosure to describe their backyard area.  But they all have distinct meanings. Which of these backyard structures would you like to enclose and enjoy?

Do you want a Porch, Patio, Verandah or Lanai Enclosure?


What makes a porch a porch? For starters, it’s an exterior structure that’s located in front of a doorway to a home or building. Its floor is level with the building’s internal floor and made of wood, brick, concrete or similar materials. While it sits outside the walls of the main house, it can be enclosed by framing, columns or walls. In addition, there’s a roof or covering that provides shade and shelter in the porch area. Why would you enclose a porch? A screened porch can keep bugs, debris and ultraviolet radiation out. This makes your porch enclosure even more enjoyable and pleasant.


Porches tend to be built even with the building’s ground floor. Patios are built right on the ground itself. A patio is an exterior living space set alongside or near a home, restaurant or other building. A level floor of pavers, brick, stone or concrete creates an open-air room that’s ideal for relaxing, dining or entertaining. Why would you wrap this space as a patio screen enclosure? It lets you continue enjoying the patio while simultaneously providing a pleasant degree of shelter and separation.


A verandah is a porch, but not every porch is a verandah. That’s because a verandah is a long porch that extends along one or more sides of a home or building. A verandah is usually under home’s roof and built on the home’s first floor. A verandah is sometimes called a wraparound porch, it’s used for anything from access to entertaining to storage. Screening a verandah adds valuable living space and an ideal spot to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the weather.


Porches, patios and verandahs get lots of press. If you tell a friend from anywhere in the United States that you’re about to step out onto the patio, they’ll have a fair idea of what you’re planning. However, saying that you’re spending the afternoon lazing around the lanai could cause confusion. That’s because the term “lanai”, which originated in Hawaii, is mainly used in tropical areas, including the Sunshine State, Florida.

What is a lanai?

The word describes an exterior space with a hard-surfaced floor that is typically set up like an outdoor room. In the right circumstances, porches, patios and verandahs could all labeled lanais. Again, a lanai is usually connected to a backdoor of your home and is under the roof line. When you choose a lanai enclosure, you increase the usability of the space in Florida’s climate.

Fortunately, regardless of what you call all these structures; a porch, a patio, a verandah or a lanai, they all can provide the perfect base for a screen enclosure.

Are you searching for a reliable screen enclosure contractor? Turn to the experts at Dulando Screen & Awning. A family-owned patio builder with a reputation for quality, we’ve been designing and constructing top-notch screen enclosures for over 50 years. Do you want to build a porch, verandah or screen lanai enclosure? We can help. If you don’t have an existing patio, we can start from scratch to build you an enclosed patio.  Whether you want pavers or a concrete slab, we can get the job done beautifully. Contact us today at 407-862-6060 to learn more and request a free in-house no-obligation quote.