A veranda sounds like an elegant, Spanish-style outdoor living space. The kind of spot you’d use to entertain. Where you’d serve iced tea toyour guests amid your citrus trees. A balcony doesn’t sound quite as classy, but aren’t the two basically the same thing? Not quite. There are real differences between a veranda and a balcony. Here’s how you can tell the two apart.

What is a Veranda?

Veranda was originally a Portuguese word meaning railing or balustrade. However, there is much more to Veranda than the railing. It is an outdoor space that is level with the ground. It must have a roof and must be along the outside of a house. Essentially, a veranda is a porch.

A roofed space that is even with the ground but not directly connected to a house is a gazebo or (when large) a pavilion. A space that is even with the ground and directly connected to a house, but that doesn’t have a roofis called a deck or a patio.

Verandas are common on ranch houses, Spanish colonial architecture, and Creole townhouses. Most older homes in the southern United States have verandas.

What is a Balcony?

Balcony is a much older word than veranda. We can trace its origins back to the Old Italian word balcone, which meant scaffold. That word was derived from Proto-Germanic balkô, which meant beam. There is much more to a balcony these days than just a scaffolding or beam. Instead, a balcony is an outdoor living space that is attached to the side of a building. It is not level with the ground. It may or may not have a roof. It typically has railings but may also have a wall on one or more sides.

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How Do You Tell if You Have a Veranda or Balcony?

Basically, if your outdoor space is level with the ground, it is a veranda. If it is on the second story or above, it is a balcony.

There are some building designs that may make the difference between the two confusing. For example, some houses have verandas on the first level that support balconies on the second level. Plus, some condos and apartment buildings will call the verandas that are attached to the first-floor units’ balconies. That’s just for convenience, as the verandas are comparable to the balconies of the units on the floors above.

Railings for Verandas

As verandas are level with the ground, their balconies are mostly decorative. Unless you have a commercial property, where many people might be leaning on the veranda balcony, there aren’t many safety demands for this kind of railing. Instead, it’s all about beauty.

Cable railing systems are a great choice for verandas because they offer the least obstruction to your view. Wood and metal are great material choices that can bring out the style of the space, whether you want it to be Spanish-style and traditional, rustic, or modern. Plus, our cable railing systems don’t need maintenance and will never bend, warp, or sag, so the front of your property will stay effortlessly beautiful.