The lowly carport is enjoying new interest as a means of protecting the family vehicle from the weather, offering summertime shade for outdoor activities, or a step to eventually building a garage on a tight budget.
Today’s shopper has a variety of choices when it comes to selecting a carport. For a quick and inexpensive fix, a carport can be purchased in a box, taken home, and erected in a few hours. Or a metal carport can be a permanent affair, requiring concrete footers and a construction crew.

There are 5 basic types of garages currently available on the market today. Before deciding on a portable carport type , it’s important to determine what the carport will be used for. Additionally, other factors will come into play, such as space, available time, budget, anticipated use, and most importantly, looks. Let’s start by assessing the five types, and the benefits or drawbacks of each.

Temporary Carports

The temporary carport is the newest type of carport on the market today. Made of canvas-like panels of UV-resistant woven polyethylene or polypropylene and supported by lightweight pipes of plastic or aluminum, this freestanding carport-in-a-box can be erected quickly and easily by two people and provide immediate vehicle protection from the weather. Available with optional side curtains, this simple structure can be enclosed to shield contents from rain and wind, while providing some degree of privacy.

Generally standing approximately 10 feet tall and available in limited sizes, temporary carports are held down by stakes driven into the ground, making them a poor choice for high-wind areas. They also have a limited life, due to their lightweight construction. Color choices are limited too, but if the need exists for an instant carport in the $200-400 range, a temporary carport could be an excellent choice. Temporary carports can be found at just about any large home-improvement retailer, and also online.

Semi-Permanent Carports

Another fairly recent introduction to the carport manufacturing industry is semi-permanent carports. More substantial than a temporary carport, a semi-permanent carport is also freestanding, so it can be placed just about anywhere. It has larger, stronger, more substantial metal uprights that fit securely into a metal “shoe” that can be staked to the ground with long, screw-type augers, or bolted onto concrete ribbon strips. The latter provides the most protection against wind lift, and is a must for taller carport versions.

A semi-permanent carport not only offers more space and a greater option of heights than a temporary carport, it lasts longer, too. With a roof constructed of stamped metal panels that have been corrugated for strength, a semi-permanent carport can last 5-10 years or more, takes paint well, and is sturdy enough to handle snow loads and brisk winds. Starting around $700 and up, semi-permanent carports are generally available through home improvement retailers, carport product distributors, and online retailers.

Attached Metal Carports

A standard of the manufactured carport industry, the attached metal carport has been in use for decades by the mobile home industry. Secured to the side wall of an existing structure or mobile home by means of a metal “shoe” into which interlocking corrugated metal roof panels are placed, the attached metal carport is supported on it’s open side by metal or wood beam uprights either sunk into the ground, or stabilized by fastening to a concrete pad. An attached metal carport falls into the semi-permanent category for price, starting around $1200 and up. Sizes are limited only by one’s imagination and the length and height of the building to which it will be attached. An attached metal carport offers a long life, generally 10-20 years, and takes paint well, so color is never an issue. They’re available at most mobile home dealerships as well as through online distributors or product dealers.

Attached Wooden Carports

For an esthetic appeal which can be blended to fit into the style of existing construction, the width, length and height of an attached wooden carport is only limited by budget and imagination. The attached wooden carport is a project best tackled by the experienced Do-It-Yourselfer or a reputable construction contractor. Prices range around $2500 and up for materials plus labor, depending on size. This is considered a permanent construction, generally requiring zoning approval.

Storage Wall Carports

Similar to the attached wooden carport, a storage wall carport is a custom-built affair that offers vehicle protection in a variety of sizes, colors and construction styles to match existing buildings. Attached to a supporting building, the difference lies in the outer support construction, which is comprised of a series of closets, rather than simple beam or pipe supports. This encloses the side of the carport, offering privacy and protection from the weather. Closets can be fitted with doors, shelves, or counters for outdoor gardening, entertainment, or hobby activities. Another project requiring zoning approval and the services of a reputable building contractor, a storage wall carport can cost $6000 and up.


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