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The price of building materials such as wood and steel are through the roof, so choosing between a cheaper carport and an expensive garage is very much a question of budget. Installing a carport will cost significantly less money than installing a garage. For that difference in budget, what are you giving up?

A carport is cheaper than a garage to build. You cannot insulated, heat or cool a carport because its sides are open to the weather. Carports do not add value to a home’s price. Quality material makes a huge difference to your carport’s appearance. A cheap carport drags down the whole property; a quality carport adds to your home’s aesthetic.

The Pros and Cons of Installing a Carport

When it comes to choosing between a carport or garage, there are pros and cons to each option. Carports are typically cheaper to build than garages, but they offer less protection for your vehicles. If you live in an area with severe weather conditions, a carport may not be the best option as they can be damaged easily by high winds or heavy snowfall. Additionally, carports do not offer the same level of convenience as a garage. Carports are still “outdoors.” They don’t have household electric wired into their non-existent walls. That said, carports can be a great option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to shelter your vehicles.

Six metal legs and white peaked fabric top carport
Fabric Outsunny carport

A Carport’s Return on Investment

A carport is a cheaper and more convenient option than a garage, but it offers less protection for your car. If you’re considering adding a carport to your home, you might be wondering if it will add to your home’s value. The answer is that it depends.

If you live in an area where parking is at a premium, or if your home doesn’t have a garage, a carport can actually add value. But in most cases, a carport is simply seen as an amenity, rather than adding actual value to the home. So if you’re planning to sell your home soon, don’t expect to see a return on investment from your carport.

Article Continues Below

More Garage Floor Info to Help You Decide

Translucent tough material peaked roof carport with pickup truck underneath
Canopia carport

Metal vs. Wood Carports

Wood carports look nicer than metal, but cost more for materials. Metal carports can get very warm in the summer, but unlike a metal building, a carport is completely ventilated. For durability and sturdiness, good metal is better than cheap wood, and good wood is better than cheap metal. Metal requires less maintenance than wood, which you will need to stain or paint. You can wash either material with a hose or pressure washer.

Carport Disadvantages Compared to Garages

Carports and garages protect your car from above. That’s a huge advantage over leaving your car in the snow,sun and rain. Their other similarity is that they can be attached to or detached from the home. Besides these similarities, carports and garages are very different.

Carport vs. Garage Weather Exposure

Carports are open on the sides. Wind, water, ice and snow can fly sideways onto you and your car. A garage protects your car on all four sides, and not just above.

Carport vs. Garage Durability

Even if you use high-quality metal or wood to make your carport, a garage will still be more durable. A garage is a framed building that you can insulate and power with electricity. The weather reaches all parts of the carport, wearing it down over time. You cannot insulate a carport. You could extend household electricity to a carport, but it’s much easier to run an extension cord.

Metal garage from a kit
This is a garage building, not a carport.

Carport vs. Garage Usefulness

A garage can protect your car. A garage can be a workshop, a playroom, or a gym. A garage is an indoor space, protected from moisture, that uses household electricity to run bright lighting. If you use a carport as a playroom or gym, your toys and gym equipment will get ruined. The temperature will literally be whatever it is “outside.” There are no walls, windows or doors to protect your belongings from theft.

Carport vs. Garage Floors

Besides cost, the carport floor deciding factors are rainwater activity and stability.

Carport Floor Choices and Rain Water

A garage floor is four to nine inches of concrete, leveled and cured for decades of use. A carport floor can be concrete, dirt, grass, asphalt, gravel, or crushed stone. You must grade concrete and asphalt to drain water away from the home. Dirt and grass will absorb water until they get saturated with water and then turn to mud. Properly installed gravel and crushed stone will percolate water down to the water table.

Carport Floor Choices and the Little Annoyances

Concrete is a nice choice, but expensive to install. Asphalt is stable but gets hot in the sun. Dirt and grass get muddy, and the car will sink during the rainy season. Gravel and crushed stone inevitably shoot rocks all over the lawn or other adjacent land.

Metal roof on legs with SUV underneath
Metal roof Arrow carport

Fabric vs. Metal vs. Wood Carport Construction: Which is Best?

Besides the difference in price, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each carport material?

Fabric Carport Pros and Cons

Fabric is the cheapest material for carport construction. You can buy fabric carports (and fabric garages, see our article here) at home stores such as Lowe’s. Their cheapest carport is a fabric roof stretched over a steel frame. To install this carport you will need to stake the legs as this will fly away in the wind. This is called the Outsunny and it costs $242.99. The price is a good indicator of durability. This carport has a one-year warranty.

Metal Carport Pros and Cons

Lowe’s cheapest metal carport jumps in price to $1,249.99, but note its warranty is 25 years over the fabric carport’s one-year warranty. This DuraMax Building Products carport is pictured with a man-made floor, but that’s only a serving suggestion. The floor of a carport is up to you, just remember that the default is your lawn.

Wood Carport Pros and Cons

Wood is a natural building material that has been used for centuries. It is strong and sturdy, and it can withstand the elements. Wood carports also look great and will not detract from the value of your home if properly built. There are some disadvantages to using wood, however. It is susceptible to rot and decay, and it must be painted or stained regularly to protect it from the weather.

Attached, Details or Portable Carport: Which is Best?

When looking to buy a carport, you should consider the pros and cons of each type of carport. There are three main types of carports- the attached carport, the detached carport, and the portable carport. Each type of carport has its own set of pros and cons that you should weigh before making a decision.

Attached Carport Pros and Cons

The pros of an attached carport are that they are typically less expensive than detached or portable carports. They are also easier to install since they do not require a foundation. The cons of an attached carport are that they can only be installed on a house or building that already has a roof, and they cannot be moved once installed.

Detached Carport Pros and Cons

The pros of a detached carport are that they can be installed anywhere since they do not need to be attached to a house or building. They can also be moved if you need to change the location. The cons of a detached carport are that they cost more than an attached carport, and they require a foundation for installation.

Portable Carport Pros and Cons

The pros of a portable carport are that they can be moved and set up anywhere since they do not require a foundation. They are also typically less expensive than a detached carport. The cons of a portable carport are that they may not be as sturdy as a detached or attached carport, and they can only be set up on level ground.

Summary

A carport is always going to be cheaper than a garage, to the point that a really cheap carport can detract from the value of your home. A fabric carport is cheapest but will not last long. Metal is not as attractive as wood, but wood is more expensive and requires maintenance. Budget for the ground solution before buying, unless you’re planning on using the mud, grass or other material already there. Concrete is the best if most expensive flooring option.

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