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Should you build a Carport or Garage? A Comparison Guide

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carport vs garage guide

You are looking to protect your vehicle from the elements. You have a flat bit of land close to the house and a carport or garage would fit perfectly. So which should you go for?

In this guide we will look at the pros and cons of both the Garage and Carport, so you can decide which is the best option for you.

What is a garage?

garage door

A rudimentary (and somewhat obvious) question you might say. However, to be clear, the main difference between a garage and a carport is that the garage is fully enclosed.

They can either be freestanding or attached to another building and will have a roof, walls, and a large entrance door (or doors in a double or triple garage structure) that open to allow enough space for a vehicle to be parked inside.

What is a carport?

carport

Different from a garage, the carport will not be fully enclosed. At its most basic, a carport is a freestanding roof that is supported by 4 rods fastened into the ground at each corner.

They can either be built beside a building or apart from another structure.

Carports offer some vehicle protection from the elements. It also allows for drivers and passengers to get in and out of the car hassle-free during adverse weather conditions.

The Different Types of Garage

Garages are classed by size. The various options are as follows:

Single Garage

One car will fit inside a single garage with enough space to open all doors of the vehicle. There will also be a little leftover storage space for bikes, gardens, and workshop equipment.

A garage with a triangular roof will also have storage areas in the rafters.

Double Garage

Double garages are approximately double the size of a single garage in terms of width. Two cars will fit side by side.

The main vehicle entrance will either be one large door that stretches the width of the building, or two single garage doors side by side.

The Triple Garage

As the name suggests, the triple garage increases the size of the construction so that 3 vehicles can fit inside, (or two large 4×4 trucks).

Again, multiple single or one large entrance door is used.

Each type of garage can vary in the types of materials used for its construction. Concrete, brick, timber, and steel are all used in the construction of garages.

The choice can come down to personal preference, budget, and aesthetic continuity with the main house.

Each will provide ample security and protection for the cars and equipment stored inside.

The Different types of Carport

Much like garages, you will find single and double-sized Carports. However, generally speaking, carports are defined by the type of material used rather than dimensions.

Metal Carports

Iron, steel, or aluminum are used to make metal carports. The metal is used for the mainframe, ie supports and roof struts.

The roof will either be made from glass, plastic, or acrylic panels. These can be transparent, opaque, or fully painted so that light does not penetrate.

The metal should also be powder coated to help avoid corrosion against the elements.

uPVC Carports

A uPVC carport will use a uPVC frame, that is internally enforced to increase strength and durability. Clear or opaque panels using similar materials as that used on metal carports

Wooden Carports

Wooden carports look like sheds without walls. Wooden supports are used at each corner, and the roof is flat or peaked using sheets of wood fused together.

Wooden carports are popular with DIY enthusiasts that attempt to make the construction themselves.

Pros of the Garage vs the Carport

garage

Ponte1112, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Fully enclosed

Needless to say, the fully enclosed nature of a garage makes for better protection against the elements.

2. Added security

As long as a high-quality lock system is in place, (even video security can be used), garages can be just as secure and as penetrable as the main house.

This makes them a safe place to store your vehicle from theft and vandalism. You can also keep expensive equipment inside without undue stress.

3. Used as another space of the house

The versatility of the garage is also quite apparent. Many owners of garages (especially double-sized) convert areas of the space into a home gym, or workshop, or even man-cave.

The options are there to use that space as you see fit.

4. Garages can match the main property

If you are building the garage next to a home, you can opt to use the same materials (same colored bricks for instance) so that everything matches nicely.

Pros of the Carport vs the Garage

Design_Rows_Carport

Philipp König, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite lacking the fully enclosed nature of the garage, a carport will offer many benefits to someone that decides to build one.

1. Carports are faster and easier to build

You will not require as much skilled labor when building a carport. Some models will allow those with very basic DIY skills to install without professional assistance.

As a result, carports are also faster to build. Bricklayers and carpenters (unless you go for a wooden type) are not normally required.

2. Carports are cheaper than garages

Using fewer materials and being less reliant on skilled labor, carports are cheaper to make than garages.

3. Carports are better ventilated than garages

While garages can become musty and sometimes damp inside, a carport is much better ventilated and doesn’t experience such problems.

Also, you should not have your motor running while inside a garage (while working on the vehicle for example). This is not a problem while the car is stored beneath a carport.

4. Great in the summer

Carports can be used to great effect in the summer as a source of shade or an area to set up the BBQ.

You can also have cover when working on the car, or simply use it as a protected play area for the kids.

5. You “generally” do not need planning permission

While it is good to check with relevant local authorities before installing a carport (when digging into the ground for the supports it is good to know where cables and pipes might be located too), the likelihood is, you will not need to have planning permission.

The same cannot be said with a large garage that will require permission and changes to the legal documentation of the main property.

So which is best for you? The garage or carport?

This clearly is dependant on your overall needs, budget, time, and opinion.

Taking the pros and cons above, you can see that if you are looking for extra protection and security and might even want to use the space for other means than just storing vehicles, a garage could be for you.

Just bear in mind the added costs and build time, along with the potential need for planning permission.

Conversely, if you want cheaper, easier to install basic protection for your vehicle, along with some other benefits such as a sunshade and convenient BBQing area, the carport may be the better choice.

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