Carport Buying Guide
A Carport as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a shelter for a car that has open sides and that is usually attached to the side of a building” have become very versatile. Carports have many uses in today’s modern household, they are no longer used just for cars. Modern Carports are extremely functional and have become very affordable, in today’s market they are made out of galvanized steel, tin, or aluminum. This guide will be focused on the buildings made out of galvanized steel due to the fact that it is the most common and most popular.
What will you be using the carport for?
As stated before carports are no longer just used for storing cars, there are many brands available and an enormous amount of custom selections that can be used for basically anything. One of the first things you need to do is ask yourself the following questions:
What am I going to use the carport for?
Will I be using the carport as a storage unit and do I need the carport to be fully enclosed?
Will it be used as a garage? If so how many cars will it need to accommodate?
What future plans do I have for this property?
Once you have made your decision on to what you will be using your carport for its time to start getting informed. Before doing anything else make sure you call your local inspector and get informed on your local zoning laws, some counties/municipalities require their residents to get permits before starting any type of construction project. If your county/municipality requires permits you will need to purchase a certified carport.
Certified carports are built to withstand a specific wind and snow load, they are made to accommodate your zoning laws. This type of carport usually come with extra fees and most companies provide blueprints for them, others require the customer to purchase them: make sure to do some research and get the best deal. If you do not need a permit we highly recommend you get a non-certified building as it will save you on extra fees.
Your land/lot must be level
It is extremely important that your land/lot is level! Most companies will NOT install a carport if your lot is not level (even/flat) and others will install them with an “installed as is” clause meaning the work is not under any type of warranty. A building that is installed in an uneven lot will cause an enormous amount of problems. First and foremost, the building is a safety hazard and could collapse at any given point in time. Any leaning building will have structural problems specially if it is fully enclosed, most sheet metal will be uneven and it will be impossible to square up and to completely shut any door. We highly recommend that you install your carport on a concrete slab. For your convenience here is a link to yellow pages where you can search for local concrete contractors:
Selecting your carport style
Most companies/brands offer a variety of styles, however in this article we will be discussing the 3 most popular options: The Regular Style, Boxed Eave Style, and the Vertical Style.
The Regular style Carport:
The regular style carport is by far the most popular and the most affordable. The regular style carport consist of a circular frame design or as some call it a radius bend frame. What this means is that the connection between the side walls and the roof is circular in design as to allow sheets to run from the roof down to the sides, without any type of connection. This type of design allows for sheet metal to be installed from the front of the building to the back also known as horizontal sheets or horizontal roof. The ridges(corrugated) on the sheets of this type of installation run from front to back and are only recommended on buildings that are 31’ FT or shorter in length. This unit is considered to be more economical due to the fact that the sheets(on roof) run horizontal and do not require the building to have hat channel (extra framing to support roof), ridge caps, eave side trim, nor the welded transition from the bow(roof truss) to the legs(wall support/frame).
The Boxed Eave Style Carport
The boxed eave style carport is an upgrade to the regular style carport, this carport consist of an A-frame roof design. The bow/roof/truss has a welded transition via a steel pin onto the legs, note this type of buildings are often used just for the appearance and extra support that is provided by the welded transition. This building comes with horizontal sheets (the same type of sheets found in regular style) meaning the ridges on the roof run from front to back. As mentioned before this building is often purchased for its appearance as it has a better finish and comes with boxed eave trim that is installed underneath the eave sides of the roof/truss/bow. Remember The ridges(corrugated) on the sheets of this type of installation run from front to back and are only recommended on buildings that are 31’ FT or shorter in length.
The Vertical Style Carport
The vertical style carport is by far the best and most desirable type of carport, this building is an upgrade to the boxed eave style. This building is highly recommended for areas that see a large amount of snow and rain throughout the year. Vertical carports/buildings are built with the A frame design seen in the boxed eave style, the main difference is that the roof in this carport is installed “vertically” meaning the sheets are installed in a way where the ridges run from the center of the building to the sides. This is important because it allows for rain, snow, leaves, etc. to run off the sides as opposed to staying on the roof, in order to achieve this hat channel is used and is the primary cause of why this building is set at a higher price. Verticals also come with boxed eave trim for appearance. Verticals are recommended for all buildings longer than 31’ Ft in length
Make sure to consider all your options before choosing and once you’ve made your choice the next step is to determine the width of your building. This step should be fairly easy since you already know what you will be using this carport for and what style your looking for. Most companies offer a variety of widths, the standard sizes are as followed. 12, 18, 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, and keep going up to 60 feet wide. The following are comparisons for your convenience:
12' = Single Car, Truck , RV
18' = 2 Compact Cars
20' = 2 Mid-size Cars
22' = 2 Full size Cars, Trucks, or SUV
24' = 2 Full or Oversized Cars, Truck
30' = 3 Mid-sized Cars or Trucks
The length of your building is determined by your needs, most companies have an infinite amount of length (well as long as you have the space for it). It is highly recommended that anything over 31’ FT be made into a vertical style, some companies require the customer to sign waiver forms stating that you were made aware that buildings over 31’ FT in length were recommended to be vertical. Why do they need to be vertical? Well on horizontal buildings/carports, water tends to stay on roof until it evaporates, is removed manually or if it was installed in a slope and it runs off out of one of the ends. Longer buildings are usually made with connections, for example to make a 20x41 carport, the installers simple connect 2, 20x21 buildings from end to end, if the roof is horizontal the connection tends to stay wet and rust problems occur and is the primary reason why verticals are recommended.
Most companies and brands offer 2 different types, 12 gauge, and 14 gauge frame. Selecting the appropriate gauge is very important. 14 gauge is by far the most popular and most affordable out of the two, the measurements on the 14 gauge galvanized tubing are 2 ½ “by 2 ½ “, most brands/companies treat this metal with anti-rust solutions but do not carry any type of warranty: this is the reason why this type of frames are so affordable. 12 gauge metal is the heavier, stronger, and most durable out of the two, hence more expensive. 12 gauge metal tubing dimensions are 2 ¼ by 2 ¼ most brands also coat the metal tubing with anti-rust but here is the primary difference: Most companies/brands offer a 20 year limited warranty on rust through on the 12 gauge frame! Therefore we highly recommend you upgrade your buildings to the 12 gauge frame. If you have any question don’t hesitate to contact us, we will be more than happy to reply with any and all questions.
Side Height “Legs”
The leg height on most buildings start at 5’ Ft, recently most companies have been offering an addition to 6’ Ft at no additional cost, don’t hesitate to ask about this free upgrade. When selecting the height of your building always keep in mind future upgrades, and select the appropriate height, most brands have a center clearance of at least 2’ Ft higher than the leg height. Keep in mind that anything over 8’ Ft in leg height must have extra bracing, most brands recommend it but it can be bypassed by signing a waiver. However we highly recommend that you do indeed add the extra bracing.
When it comes to extra options we highly recommend that you purchase all your extra options at the same time that you purchase your building. All companies/brands charge a fee for delivery and installation on any extra upgrades after the carport/building has been installed. This is where most customers are unhappy because they are not made aware that there is a fee.
Closing sides and ends
Closing the sides and ends on your building offers greater protection against elements. All brands offer the ability to close both sides and ends if you so wish to. All brands/companies offer a vertical (sheets are installed with ridges running from top to bottom) and a horizontal (sheets running from the front end to the back end) selection for sides and ends. In most cases the vertical option is priced higher than the horizontal and honestly, unless you are doing it for aesthetics the vertical option is not worth it. The sides and ends are not as important to have vertical as the roof: if you are getting something vertical we highly recommend that you do the roof. Like previously said if you want a great looking building go for the vertical sides and ends, and if you do so you might as well go for the colonial trim package: the colonial trim package includes additional trim for the bottom sheet which most of the time is the same color as the trim see picture for details. Nothing can compare to the look of a building with the colonial package in our opinion.
Gables and j trim
Gables offer a great way for you to hide the frame of your building when looked at from the front or back. Gables come with horizontal and vertical options as well. We don’t recommend gable ends but this is the extra option that everyone wants and this is where most customers get upset because they are not made aware of the extra fees if purchased seperately. A gable end simply adds a finish appearance to your building and in some cases a little bit of extra support. If you are going to buy them we highly encourage you to do so when you purchase your building, they really do give that “finish” appearance and in some cases is where most companies will display their brand: like an eagle. Note: some companies require that your leg height is at least 6’ Ft, for regular style carports and 7’ Ft for boxed eave or vertical. J trim basically is just a trim that goes under your gable for and additional finish look.
All brands/companies offer extra sheets for your sides and ends, and as with the gables, if you plan on getting extra sheets we highly recommend that you get it when you purchase your building. The most popular option is to add one sheet to each side to give your carport a better finish.
And finally if you chose to enclose your entire building don’t forget to add your garage doors and windows. Doors come in many sizes and will depend on what you will be using your building for, make sure to take the appropriate measurements and get the door size that best suits you. Some companies offer electric and certified doors, ask your dealer for details. Note: companies will not install third party doors or windows
If you have any questions feel free to give us a call or contact us through email
Purchasing a new carport/garage is now easier than ever. The best place to purchase a customizable metal garages is carportsnsheds.com. You can explore their gallery, and obtain a quote for any pre-fabricated garage that you wish to purchase.