As you consider expanding your property or building a home, the choice between adding a carport or a garage is crucial. It’s not just a matter of preference — it’s about choosing what will best align with your finances, withstand your local weather, follow your homeowners association rules, and meet your security demands. While carports and garages serve the same function, there are several key differences you should consider before deciding which is best for you.
What is a Carport?
A carport is a shelter for vehicles with a roof supported by posts. It may be attached to or detached from a house.
Carports are much simpler to construct than garages. If detached, they can often be easily moved to a different location.
Carports come in a variety of materials, such as metal, wood, and fabric. Metal and wood carports are more permanent, while fabric ones are lightweight and portable. If you want the carport to match your home, you can choose a style that matches your home’s exterior design.
Carport Pros & Cons
What is a Garage?
A garage is a fully enclosed structure with walls, doors, and a roof that provides covered parking and storage. Garages are more permanent than carports. They’re often attached to homes but can also be detached.
Garages use sturdy materials like wood, brick, and siding. They match the design of the home and require proper foundations.
Garage Pros & Cons
Key Differences Between Garages and Carports
|No walls or doors
|Fully enclosed with walls and doors
|Roof with open sides supported by posts
|Permanent structure with roof, walls, and foundation
|Doors and walls provide security
|Limited protection from elements
|Full protection from weather, debris, and pests
|Allows covered storage of vehicles, tools, equipment, and other items
|Often one day or less with prefab kits
|Typically weeks or months due to permits and construction
|$3,100 – $9,500
|$10,500 – $27,000
|Increased value from permanent amenity
|More flexibility in materials and design
|Garage design is usually restricted to match existing home style
So, Is a Carport or Garage Better for You?
Deciding between a carport and a garage depends on your budget, needs, and priorities. Carports provide covered parking on a budget, while garages offer security and storage.
If you’re on a tight budget or need quick parking solutions, a carport may be the way to go. But if you want more protection and flexibility, invest in a garage.
If you only need to cover one vehicle, you may find a carport sufficient. However, if you have multiple vehicles or need storage space, a garage will be a better choice for you.
Take time to weigh the pros and cons before deciding which option is the best fit for your home and lifestyle. Consider talking to contractors to better understand costs, permits, and construction timelines in your area.
FAQs About Carports vs. Garages
How much does a carport cost compared to a garage?
Carports can range from $3,100 to $9,500 installed. Single-car garages usually start around $10,500 and two-car garages can cost $14,500 to $40,300 or more. Garages cost significantly more due to the additional labor and materials involved.
Can you convert a carport to a garage?
It is possible to enclose a carport and make it into a garage by adding walls, new roofing, electrical, and garage doors. But this is a major renovation that often costs close to building a new garage.
Do carports add value to homes?
Carports can slightly boost value by offering covered parking. But garages tend to increase value more significantly. Enclosed garage space is seen as more of a permanent asset than open carports when selling homes.
How deep should a carport be?
Carports should be around 20 to 22 feet deep to comfortably accommodate most vehicles. Allow two to three extra feet between the vehicle and back wall for accessing doors and trunks.
Can a carport be turned into an ADU?
Converting a carport or garage into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is possible with proper permitting, planning, and renovation. This project requires a significant investment of time and money.