Carports vs. Garages: Which One is Right for You?

Whether you need to protect the family car or are looking for a great place to keep your boat, motorcycle, or hotrod, you might be considering both carports and garages to fulfill your needs. Both offer advantages, so it’s important to weigh your options before making your final choice.

To make it easier, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of both carports and garages, so you can make your final decision with confidence.

Carports

Pros

Less Expensive

Carports are one of the most budget-friendly ways to protect your car, truck, or boat from sun, rain, tree sap, or even snow. In fact, the average carport can cost up to 50% less than a similarly-sized garage.

Quick & Easy to Build

Since most carports are open on all four sides, they are simple to build. Because they are so simple, carports can be built very quickly. When you need a solution to protect your vehicle right away, a carport is often the fastest way to achieve your goal.

Less Red Tape

Carports are not limited by stringent construction and zoning regulations in most areas of the country. You’ll also be able to forego most zoning and construction inspections since carports do not need a foundation or electrical wiring. Overall, it’s much easier to get approval from your city or township zoning board to build a carport than other structures.

Cons

Limited Protection

While carports do offer protection from sun, rain, snow, and ice, that protection is limited by their open design. Some models can provide additional protection with added walls, but your vehicle will never be completely protected inside a carport, especially in cold climates.

Lack of Security

You can’t lock up your carport so your vehicle or anything else you store inside can be stolen.

Not Good for Storage

If you want to store other items along with your vehicle, you might find that difficult with a carport. Most carports are designed to hold one or two vehicles with very little extra space. Even if you do have space to spare, the open design leaves your items vulnerable to weather or theft.

Does Not Add Value to Your Home

While carports are a quick and easy way to protect your vehicle from the elements, adding one to your property won’t increase your property value.

Garages

Pros

Complete Protection

Garages are enclosed on all four sides with a sturdy roof, providing complete protection from sun, rain, snow, and ice. That means no more scraping your windshield or brushing off snow during the winter months.

Secure Storage

Garages feature sturdy doors that lock. That means your vehicle and anything else you store inside is protected from potential thieves.

Extra Storage Space

Most garages are built to accommodate one or two cars with a bit of extra space for added storage. That means extra room for Christmas decorations, bicycles, sports equipment, or lawn supplies.

Adds Value to Your Home

Since a garage is a permanent structure, it becomes part of your property and raises your overall property value. Plus, garages tend to be more popular than carports with potential buyers, giving you an advantage when you decide to sell your home.

Can Become a Workshop or Hobby Area

While a garage is the perfect spot for the family car, it could eventually become a workshop, hobby area, or man cave, extending the usable square footage of your home.

Cons

Costs More to Build

A garage costs about 50% more to build than a similarly-sized carport. That’s because garages have doors, windows, and walls. Plus, they require a concrete foundation, which means excavation and installation work. More materials and more labor make a bigger impact on your wallet.

Longer Construction Time

Because garages are more complex to build than their carport counterparts, they also require additional time to build.

Strict Building Requirements

Unlike carports, garages are considered enclosed or livable space subject to stringent construction and zoning regulations. You’ll also need to undergo zoning and construction inspections since garages require a foundation and may also contain electrical wiring.

How to Decide Between a Garage and a Carport

Now that we’ve gone over the pros and cons, you may find yourself leaning towards one option or the other. Here’s how carports and garages stack up against the most common deciding factors.

Budget

When your budget is tight, a carport is the clear winner, providing practical protection for up to 50% less than a garage. However, if you have a bit of wiggle room, a garage might be a better value in the long run. That’s because a garage provides additional storage space, more solid protection, and a higher return on investment when it comes time to sell your home.

Permanence

Garages are the winner here since they need to be built on a concrete foundation, making them permanent structures. If you think you’ll move in a few years, and want something that can move with you, a carport is a better choice.

Storage Needs

If you plan to store more than a vehicle or two, a garage offers more storage options. Garages are built larger than most carports and provide fully-enclosed, secure storage space.

Security Needs

If you live in an area where theft is a concern, a garage is a better option since it can be locked up tight. Garages are also better at concealing what you’ve stored, making them even more secure.

Location and Permit Needs

If you don’t fancy red tape, a carport is your best option, since you’ll avoid most permits and inspections when installing a carport. In fact, it’s much easier to get approval for a carport, even if you live in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners’ association.

Ultimately, your decision to buy a carport or garage will come down to your budget and personal preferences. We encourage you to weigh your options and consider both your short and long-term storage goals. The good news is that no matter what you decide, you’ll find a great selection metal carports and garages at Newmart Builders! Made in the USA with American steel, our carports and garages are designed to provide superior protection for your vehicles year round. Located in South Hill, Virginia, we deliver throughout the east coast.