Carport ideas that'll put garages to shame

A carport may sound like a fancy British way to say “garage,” but it’s actually much more—or, to be accurate, much less. That’s because a carport, unlike a garage, is merely a covering to protect your car (or motorcycle or boat) from rain, sun, and snow. Open on three or four sides, carports provides shelter from the elements, but at a far lower price than a garage. If that sounds up your alley (or driveway more like it), read on for a slew of carport ideas to get started.

Benefits of carports

Carports are typically associated with condominium or apartment complexes, where residents just want a covered parking spot, says Steve Brant with Brant Regency Estates & Homes in San Diego. But they’re becoming an increasingly popular feature in single-family homes as well. For one thing, they’re inexpensive to build compared with a garage. For another, even if homeowners have a garage, it’s often stuffed to the rafters with everything but the car itself—sporting equipment, boxes of memorabilia and decorations, an extra fridge—or the space has been converted to a home gym, man cave, teen hangout, or other type of living space.

All of which leaves your car outside, victim to the pounding rain and snow, the searing sun, not to mention a low-flying bird or two. And that’s where a carport can come in.

Carports don’t only help keep your car in mint condition, they keep us humans comfortable, too. When precipitation hits, you don’t have to rush to your car in your driveway under an umbrella, or run the AC to cool down your car if it’s been baking in the sun.

Carport vs garage: Which is better?

The big downside of carports, however, is that your car will be protected only so much. It will still be exposed to dust, dirt, and damage, and security will be more of an issue. And unlike garages, carports don’t offer much storage space to speak of; you’ll have to stash that motor oil and toolkit somewhere else!

All things being equal, it’s preferable to choose a home with a garage, whether attached or detached, Brant advises.

“In addition to the obvious benefits of security and storage, garages offer significant resale implications,” he says, noting that a single-car garage can add approximately $10,000 in value over a property that lacks one.

Still, if building a garage isn’t in your budget or this space is already busting at the seams, a carport is a great option to keep your car covered. Just be sure to check your HOA rules to see if carports are even allowed and what sorts of permits and limitations you may need to honor.

Carport kits, costs, and more

Prefab carport kits can range in price from around $100 for a simple metal canopy that will provide some shade to over $2,000 for a sleek, modern-looking polycarbonate job designed to resist more extreme weather elements. Custom carports can be had in every look, from minimalist to luxury with prices to match.

GabionenCarport

Photo by Steelmanufaktur
Carports typically come in three forms. The simplest is as a free-standing structure.


Photo by Ignacio Salas-Humara Architect LLC

Another option is to have it attached to the side of your house or garage.

Mid Century Modern Carport
Photo by Christine Kelly / Crafted Architecture
Carports can even be built into the structure of the house.


Photo by GLR Arquitectos / Gilberto L. Rodriguez
And just because a carport is less expensive than a garage doesn’t mean it can’t look amazing. To soften the look of a carport, consider planting flowers and shrubs around it (which offer added protection from the elements). If the roof of your carport is flat and sturdy enough, you can use it as a deck.


Photo by Houzz.com

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