If you’re just hoping to keep the sun from beating up your car’s paint job all day, a covered carport is probably all you need. But a garage can do that plus offer a secure space for tools and storage.
Here are some benefits of each type of structure.
It will cost you half as much to build a carport as a garage, and you won’t have to bother with so many city regulations and fire safety considerations during construction. Because a carport isn’t an enclosed or “livable” space, it’s not necessary to build fire-rated walls or ceiling.
Depending on your homeowners’ association rules, you may be able to build a carport from a kit that comes with all of the pieces to raise a metal structure in less than a day. You can fashion an open carport simply by attaching an awning to one wall of your house, or you can put up some privacy partitions to serve as partial walls.
Parking your car in a carport will keep the sun from destroying its paint so quickly and can save it from blowing tree branches and hail during monsoon storms. The roof of a carport will intercept falling tree sap.
Plus, in an open carport, your car has plenty of natural ventilation.
Because carports are simpler structures than garages, they’re quick to build, and, if you’re handy, you can do it yourself in a weekend or two.
Most carports are just about big enough to shelter a car or two, so you won’t be able to set up your tool bench or store your Christmas decorations in them next to your cars. You wouldn’t want to anyway, because an open structure isn’t secure—you can’t lock it—or completely protected from wind, rain and sunrays.
It also won’t keep animals out, so anything you do store in the carport is at risk for damage from curious raccoons and other critters.
With good door locks, your garage will be a secure place to store not only your cars but household overflow, tools and lawn equipment. You can buy all kinds of shelves, cabinets, drawers and hooks designed specifically for garages, which typically are large enough for your parked cars plus some work and storage space.
Because a garage has four walls (if you include the garage door as a wall), it provides complete protection from sun, hail, rain and wind. Plus, it keeps animals out.
If your family grows and you need the space for an extra room, you might be able to convert your garage into “livable” space in the future.
A garage costs quite a bit more to build than a carport, and it takes longer to finish.
And you’ll have to follow more rules when you build a garage, whether you’re adding it to your existing home or having it built as part of your new house. City building codes and fire safety regulations require the walls to be “fire-rated” to slow the spread of fire. If you have a walk-through door—other than your garage door—in the garage, you have to install lights. Check with your city’s permits office for all of the rules and regulations.