If you live in an area where the weather is constantly changing, a carport can be a great way for you to keep your vehicle protected and therefore, increase its lifespan! However, it is important to note that a carport is not the same as a garage. Rather, these are two separate kinds of structures that have similar purposes– being a place where you can store your vehicle and keep it protected. Read on to learn more about what makes a structure a carport, as well as its benefits to you as a homeowner! 

What Is a Carport?

First things first, what is a carport, anyway? A carport is a structure where you can store your vehicle and keep it covered and out of the elements. However, unlike a garage, a carport usually does not have walls or a door. Instead, a carport is a structure that is made up of a roof that is supported by either beams or posts. They are outdoor structures that are able to protect your vehicle against most weather conditions or elements. Of course, very extreme weather may still be able to overpower your carport, so be aware of this if you are experiencing weather warnings in your area. 

History of Carports

The term carport comes originally from a French word– porte-cochere. Porte-cochere can be translated to “covered portal”, which explains the appearance of a carport pretty well! It was actually the well known architect Frank Lloyd Wright who coined this term. He used them in some of his home designs, and the first time he used a carport was in 1936 for the house of Herbert Jacobs. This was the first of his Usonian home designs and built in Madison, Wisconsin. It was then that he coined the term and people began referring to these structures as carports– and implementing their own carports into their home designs!

Carports vs Garages

Both carports and garages have a shared purpose in protecting your vehicles from the elements. However, it is important to note that this does not mean that they are the same thing. There are a couple differences between the two, mainly in appearance and design. Carports are composed of either beams or posts, with a roof that sits on top of these to shield the vehicle from the elements. A garage typically has actual walls and a door, too. Garages are also usually attached to the house, though they can sometimes be unattached, too. Essentially, a carport is like an outdoor garage, without the garage door.

Benefits of Carports

There are many benefits to a carport at your house, and these can make it a great investment. Take a look at some of the benefits listed below in order to determine whether or not a carport is a smart choice for you. 

Increase Home Value

Just as a garage will increase the value of your home, a carport can also contribute to your home value. This can be good to keep in mind if you are considering selling, or even if you think you may want to list your home years down the line. A garage will give you more home value, for sure, but a carport will still increase your home value and will make more of a difference than if you had neither a garage nor a carport. If you are on the fence, the knowledge of that increased home value might tip you over the edge– of course, the protection of your vehicle is first and foremost the most important advantage, but a higher home value is another great perk.

Less Expensive to Install

If you are deciding between a garage or a carport, it is well worth noting that carports are less costly to install, and are often less costly based on the purchase of the structure, too. As they are easier to install, you will not have to pay as much in manpower, which helps to drive your installation costs down. If price is a concern for you, but you still want to have some way to protect your car, a carport can be a great option for your home. 

Easier to Install

Carports are also easier to install than garages, and you have more options as to where you can place them, as they do not have to be attached to your house. They have a simpler design, which makes either building or installing a carport faster, easier, and more straightforward than a garage. This means it typically takes less time to do so, and does not cost as much to complete the project, either. All of these are important factors that you should evaluate if you are still deciding between installing a carport or a garage. If time is a concern– for instance, winter and big snowfalls will be coming soon– the ease of installation for a carport can be very beneficial.

Lots of Design Options

Luckily, carports are not just a one size fits all kind of thing. There are many different kinds of carports, and they can vary in type, materials, sizes, and more. Many carports even come in different colors or finishes. The amount of options there are out there ensure that you do not have to pick an ugly carport or one that you do not like the look of. You can match the carport you choose to the existing color scheme or general aesthetic of your home. Plus, as they come in different sizes, you will be able to choose a carport that fits your vehicle, whether you drive a compact car or a large truck. We will go over these different types of options in more detail below, so read on!

Protects Your Vehicle

You have probably heard someone say before that when you drive a car off the lot, its value automatically goes down. A carport can be a great way to slow this from happening, by protecting your car from the elements and the different kinds of damages they can cause. Even when you are not experiencing weather like heavy snow or rain, the sunshine can still cause damage to your car– such as fading the fabric of your seats. Having a roof– and in some cases, walls– to protect your vehicle can also help prevent damages such as these to the vehicle. That way, you can keep the vehicle looking new longer! 

Types of Carports

When it comes to factors such as size or design, there are actually different types of carports. This makes it easier to find an option that works best for you and your individual needs. Check out the different types of carports that we go over below.

Metal Carports

Metal carports are the highest quality carport option out there! They are the most durable and long lasting, especially due to the materials being used. Metal is of course able to withstand more stress than other materials, such as fabric. This means that this type of carport is easily the best choice for areas that get large amounts of snowfall or rainfall– or both! It is important to note that this is also typically the most expensive type of carport, but it will make up for the cost over time as it will last longer. 

Fabric Carports

Fabric carports are not as strong as their metal counterparts, but they are another great type of carport if your vehicle needs extra protection. A fabric carport typically has poles or beams that are then covered by a weather resistant textile in order to shield your car. Fabric carports are better for areas where the weather is milder and not quite as severe, as they are not as durable as metal carports. If your area gets a lot of snow or rain at once, for instance, a fabric carport may not be sturdy enough to properly protect your vehicle from the elements.

Attached Carports

Typically, when you think of carports, you think of a structure that stands apart from your house. However, there are also attached carport options. These are attached directly to the house and are the closest options to having a garage instead of a carport. They are also generally more convenient and allow you to park much closer to the house than other types of carport! As they are closer to your house, you may also find that an attached carport discourages more theft from your car. It could be a good choice if you live in an area where there is a lot of petty crime. 

Open Sided Carports

Last but not least, we have open sided carports. These can be either metal or fabric carports, but they– as the name suggests– are designed so that they do not have walls. The carport options that do have walls are more expensive, so open sided carports can be a good choice for you if you want to save a little cash. Of course, carports that do not have walls also let in the elements more, so they will not be able to protect your car as well. This makes them a choice better suited for areas with mild weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you call a carport?

A carport is similar to a garage, where you can store your car in order to protect it from inclement weather. The word carport derives from the French porte-cochere– which, when translated, means covered portal. Frank Lloyd Wright was the one to really popularize carports when he began to use them in his architecture– when he first used one, this is when the term carport was coined as well. 

What is a good size carport?

If you are shopping around for a carport, you will want to know what size is a good size for you so that you can make an educated choice. Obviously, part of this will depend on the size of the vehicle you plan to store there. For instance, if you want to store two vehicles side by side in your carport, you will need one that is between 18 and 24 feet wide. 18 feet will only be able to accommodate compact cars comfortably, so if you have an SUV or truck, for example, you will want to choose one of the wider carports.

How useful is a carport?

Carports are helpful because they can protect your vehicles from implement weather and the elements. For instance, if you live in a snowy area, you will not have to scrape the snow off your car in the morning after a storm. They can be great if you do not have a garage and are unable to install one at your home. When you live in a place where there are frequent weather changes, a carport can be a worthwhile investment– however, if you live somewhere with mild weather, a carport may not be necessary for you. 

How big is a carport?

Carports are not one size fits all, so they are able to accommodate different sized vehicles. For instance, if you are only storing one vehicle, or you have a small car, you can save money and purchase one of the smaller carport options. A standard carport is sized at 12 feet by 20 feet for area, and with a height of 6 to 7 feet high. These usually only fit two small cars. However, there are carports that are closer to 24 feet wide, too, which are better for larger vehicles!

What is the difference between a carport and a garage?

Carports are structures made up of metal beams and then covered by a roof, and sometimes fabric or metal siding. On the other hand, garages are usually structures that are attached to your home and feature a roof and four walls. Some garages are free standing, like carports, but they have the door and walls that most carports do not have. Once you know this, it is pretty easy to spot the differences between the two kinds of structures!