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    A complete guide to carports

    The different types, and why you should choose a carport instead of a garage

    Hannah | Oneflare

    An attached carport is a storage unit for your car that is attached to the structure of your home. Carports can be made of a variety of different material, including wood or metals such as aluminum or steel, and feature open sides and a roof. This allows easy pull in and out access for your car, as well as effective protection from the elements such as sunlight, rain and snow. Carports are typically inexpensive to build and kits can be purchased at many large home renovation stores.

    Source: Shutterstock

    Reasons to install a carport

    If you need to protect your car from the elements, you might want to consider a carport. They have many advantages, and may be more economical than a garage.

    If you already have a garage, but there isn’t room for both cars, a carport could be the answer. Your car will be protected from rain and other harsh weather conditions, and it won’t be nearly as costly as extending your current garage.

    Carports go up quickly and easily; they can be ready in a matter of hours or a matter of days, depending on the type you have chosen. Carports range from the simple to the more complex — a roof with four posts to gables and curved roofs. The pitch of the carport’s roof can even be matched to the roof of your home. Whether you go fancy or simple, your carport will be finished far sooner than a garage ever could be.

    Carports can be freestanding or attached to the roof of your home. If you opt for attaching it, both you and your car will be protected from the elements. No more standing out in the rain and snow while you haul in groceries, and no more enduring the hot sun beating down on your head. You will be able to get in and out of your car in comfort.

    Carports are amazingly versatile; not only can you store your car there, but if you wish to entertain, all you must do is move the car and you have a breezy, protected place for an outdoor party. Set up some tables and chairs or bring out the portable bar and invite all your friends to join you there — something you could never do in summertime in a garage.

    Types of carports

    Metal carports

    Both aluminium and steel metal carports are an option in most areas. Unlike other materials, metal does not warp. It is also very durable and strong, even in the worst winds. Most types are fire resistant, unlikely to rust, and long lasting. In most cases, they only need a bit of cleaning every now and then to be maintained.

    Steel carports made from Colorbond are a popular choice. This is perhaps the most rugged option. However, aluminium has its benefits, too, including being lighter and less expensive. Both options allow for plenty of flexibility when it comes to design. Both can be attached to the home or kept as freestanding unit. You can have any type of roof design you would like, including curves, flat roofs, and gables. Work with a professional to customise your needs.

    Timber carports

    Another option is timber carports. Timber is used for the entire carport, including the supporting posts, beams, and rafters. Timber is durable enough to stand up to most types of weather conditions, depending on the kind of timber that is used. You can use virtually any type of roofing on these, including Colorbond, polycarbonate, or Zincalume – all of the popular roofing materials. You can also choose a flat or gable roof.

    Timber tends to be significantly less expensive than metal. Additionally, you can build your own without having to rely on a kit so much, though timber carport kits are available and include all of the pre-cut timber, roof sheeting, and other fixings you need for the project. Wood is far easier to adorn with various decorative finishes, such as using lattice.

    Timber, unlike metal, is more likely to expand and contract due to weather conditions. It does require more maintenance than metal would as well. You can paint or stain it in virtually any colour you would like. You may even change this from time to time, which is significantly harder to do with metal.

    Source: Shutterstock

    Retractable carports

    Retractable carports are more cost effective than building a permanent garage or carport. They’re ideal if you are trying to preserve the look of your house or don’t want any permanent structure on your property. When your car is parked, you simply have to extend the carport and your car is protected. When the car is elsewhere, retract it and it’s like the carport was never there.

    Building a retractable carport is extremely simple, you simply install an automatic awning. Select an awning with fabric that is sturdy enough to hold up to the most severe weather you can expect – including the weight of ice or hail. Make sure the fabric is also easy to clean and has good protection against UV rays. It should also be flexible enough to retract and extend easily and not develop damage from fatigue.

    The remote control which operates the awning should be placed somewhere accessible and convenient. Ideally, you should be able to keep it in your car, so you can extend or retract the awning as you pull out of or into the carport. A good alternative is to install a control pad on the outside of your house. This is especially convenient if you can install it on a section that you pass on the way to and from your car.

    The retractable carport needs to be installed in a place that is convenient to park as well. Make sure its location does not interfere with other cars entering or leaving the property. Depending on the layout of your property, it may work best on the side of your home or existing garage, or you may need to instal it on the front or back of your home.

    Costs of a carport

    The overall costs will range significantly based on what you buy and if you erect it yourself. You will likely need to turn to an installer for a more professional, well-built solution, however.

    One way to save money is to purchase a carport kit. This kit will provide most, if not all, of what you need including the required posts, guttering, and the roofing materials. These kits can range in price from $3000 to $5000 or more.

    Professional installation is another option. It will cost more to have a professional erect it, but at the same time, it will ensure a better result in most cases. To reduce costs, paint timber boards yourself. You can also select lower-quality materials. You may also want to give the company a longer time to complete the project because this can reduce costs.

    Perhaps the most important step to take is to ask for quotes. Get quotes from several carport builders, and then determine which one is the ideal choice for your situation. You will want to compare various materials, sizes, and designs to ensure that you get the look you want.

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