Nowadays cars seem to be a basic need in the life of most Americans, either on a daily basis taking us to work and back home, making errands, even as an extra income by those who choose to charge for a ride on the established apps, or just for leisure.
Therefore, taking care of your valuable vehicle has become a primary expenditure to make, from constant mechanical services or protecting it from the inclement weather, and because of the latter you might consider keeping your car in a safe shelter, and then you think on building a carport.
A carport’s a structure where you can provide shelter to your car avoiding weather damage. The first thing that comes to mind is hail that can leave a notorious mark on your vehicle or intense sun rays that eat the coat layers of the paint.
The rain, as impossible as you may think, can be harmful for your car’s paint, according to Joey Deriquito from Autodeal.com the rain can collect pollutants, therefore you may encounter acid rain that can deteriorate the protective coat layer exposing your vehicle to harsh environments.
If you are one of the enthusiastic people with some free time that prefers the DIY mode, this can be a great challenge that will keep you busy, starting on the decision on the style of your new carport, the location outside your house, and the material that you would like to use.
This is why there are some essential considerations on building a carport and the first question you need to ask is, What size do you need? This depends on the number of cars you want to protect. Here is a good start, you will need, at least, 9 feet wide and 16 foot long considering an average car size, so you must calculate your desired specifications if you are contemplating a big truck or even a speedboat.
The first task in hand is where are you going to allocate the carport, so you can choose from the above:
- At the front of your house, you must consider not blocking your facade, or at least, the design must be consistent so you won’t regret not thinking about it before.
- In the backyard, probably you should give up some garden space that you usually enjoy on the weekends, but you can make it a double purpose because you can have shelter on rainy days and still have a great time.
- At one side of the house, this can be a preferable location since you have two building options:
- Attached carport, where you can use the sidewall of your house to start the perimeter that you will need to set up your carport, and as roof support.
- Freestand carport, where basically you will need to do the whole structure securing the strength of it and be very thorough in every step of construction.
Now that you have decided where you are going to place your new carport, the next thing you should do is to research building permits. For example, the Los Angeles County requires the following:
- A site plan showing its setback and size from property lines.
- Fees are based on the valuation of the structure and an insurance fee.
- The homeowner/builder can obtain the permit and be responsible for the construction, so there is no need for a licensed contractor or specialist but is strongly recommended to hire one because they usually know all the requirements needed.
- The construction must comply with building codes.
- If the carport is attached to an existing building, the responsible must ensure the safety of both structures.
You must take into account that, to be considered a carport structure, you can cover just two side walls. If you enclose three walls of the frame it can be considered as a garage, depending on the state, district or council where you live, and that is another type of permit that you will need.
Selecting Carport Material
Before starting shoveling and drilling you must consider what type of materials are you going to build your carport. You may find carport kits online that can cost you between $400 and $9,200 approximately, and you must think that you will acquire a premade item that may not fit your needs, either the size or materials that you can consider as poor quality.
Framing can be made out of wood or steel, and depending on your selection that will represent the expenses that you will encounter, for instance choosing a timer structure is way cheaper than a metal one.
Another consideration is what material type are you going to use for enclosing the carport frame, therefore in Roofing Mastercorp define these 5 different cover materials in order to complete your carport project:
- Bitumen Roofing Sheets. Because of their lightweight, it can be adequate to install it with no difficulties on wood frames and must consider that is a low cost and with a minimum of maintenance.
- Polycarbonate Roofing Sheets. As a very popular option due to lightweight, cost-efficiency, with an approx. longevity of 20 years, and can be very versatile.
- PVC Roofing Sheets. With these materials you can be lightweight, won’t bleed your pocket, and can perfectly help on protecting your car from sunlight or rainy environments, perfect with wood framing.
- GRP Roofing Sheets. This can be a very resistant material because it is made from very tough plastic combined with glass fibers that offer extra resistance in extreme weather. You can mount it either on timber or steel frames.
- Metal Roofing Sheets. If you are thinking of a very sturdy shelter you may consider installing this type of sheet and placing it, preferably on a steel frame, in order to create a strong carport. But remember you must ensure some extra coating to perpetuate as long as possible your investment.
Preparing The Ground
Once you have covered the necessary permits it’s time to start to build your carport, but before initiate, the task on hand, must consider all the tools needed for such a project, therefore here is a quick list:
- Power drill
- Drill bit set with impact nut drivers
- Circular saw (preferable) or a Jigsaw
- Angle grinder
- Working bench or Sawhorse
- Hearing and eye protection
- Dusk mask
And don’t forget to get your materials ready, like wood or steel poles, brackets, bolts and nuts, nails, screws, concrete, sealers, gutter. This is a reminder of all you need to think about because it can cause some delays if you are not prepared.
Now that you have all you need, the first thing to do is to set up the ground. This includes identifying all the power, plumbing, and gas lines in order to work in a safe environment and avoid future troubles in your home.
Layout the perimeter, Roofing Megastores advise a simple but effective way, the 3-4-5 method that is used to obtain accurate 90° angles. For this, you must measure 3 feet from one side of the corner and 4 feet from the other, and if you did it correctly, the hypotenuse has to measure 5 feet.
The next step is to level the ground, so you can use lines attached from a dipstick and correct all the unevenness.
Now that your layout is ready, you can continue on installing the posts. It’s recommended to dig 4 to 3 feet holes to ensure stiffness on your structure.
If the perimeter is on ground soil you can dig the holes needed manually with the shovel, or you can use a power auger or a post hole digger, just adjust the diameter, it’s doesn’t no matter if you’re making the frame of wood or steel, so you can pour a concrete mix and wait to be cured.
If the space for your carport is already filled with concrete, another way to install the posts is using anchor brackets attached to the ground, so you must place them and drill with the concrete bit the necessary holes defined by the anchors, and once you have done this you attach the posts to the brackets with nail or screws.
According to your design, the next step is to place the beams that delimitates the roof structure, therefore you must measure the size needed of each beam.
Attach the beams to the posts using nails or screws if you are installing a wood frame. For steel frames it’s recommended to use bolts and nuts so you can be sure they are tight.
The rafters that will be used to place the roof sheets have to be attached to the beams, you will have to do the same procedure as before, using nails or screws for a wood frame or nuts and bolts for steel. Don’t forget to set removable center posts to place a center beam, according to the scheme.
Once the carport frame is finished, it’s time to place the roof sheets, so you must attach them, if you have a wood frame, hammer nails through the sheets into the rafters, or you can drill screws. If you decide on a metal frame, you can also drill washer sharp point roofing screws, those are easier to work within this case.
Don’t forget to caulk all the union sections of each sheet, in order to avoid leaks on your carport. You can ask in your hardware store which sealer is the one that best suits your needs.
Carport Gutter Installation
You are almost done building your brand new carport, but here is a final consideration, so that your project has all covered.
To place a gutter will avoid having that uncomfortable sense of a rain curtain. Therefore you must measure the necessary length of the gutter set at the lowest point of your carport and attach it to the proper beam. If the place is suited for, connect the downspout to the nearest water drain, or you can guide the flow wherever you might consider less inconvenient.
Another option, in order to avoid the rainy feeling and breeze, is installing roller blinds, so you will never be uncomfortable in your carport, and also can enjoy sunny days.
Solar Roof Carport
Maybe you are thinking if there’s something else that can be missing on your built carport, well, so far you are done, but if you want to add value to the structure, it can be considered installing solar panels on the roof.
This is very convenient when having a hybrid or electric car, or if you are interested in getting some extra energy, or you simply care about the impact on the environment with the rising of gas emissions and you want to do your part.
In the study developed by Kulik et. al (2021), a photovoltaic (PV) carport roof system was installed to analyze the performance and convenience of this type of structure in order to conclude if this method can be cost-efficient with an electric vehicle (EV).
They created a carport with a PV system that had “15 polycrystalline solar modules, arranged in 2 strings, one containing 6 modules from a manufacturer with 335 Wp each, while the other contains 9 modules from another manufacturer with 320 Wp each, totaling 4.89 kWp. Was assembled with a north orientation, a 10° inclination, and azimuth deviation of 22° to the west, allowing two vehicles to be parked simultaneously” (Kulik et al., 2021).
In the study a Renault Fluence ZE DYN was used and it was determined that the EV had a 103.95 kWh average consumption of electric energy per month in a 42.9 km daily trip, while the carport generate, on average 465.37 kWh, therefore you can see that it may be convenient to add a PV system on your carpet if you are driving an electric car.
One interesting conclusion from the study was that “an economic comparison between an internal combustion vehicle and the EV determined that the expenditures involving electric energy to charge the batteries are 3.3 times lower than buying gasoline, assuming the same driving routines” Kulik et al. (2021).
Now you know the requirements, and how to build a carport, and it’s going to be rewarding once you finish. On one side you will feel that you accomplished a demanding task and on the other, you will protect a valuable asset, your vehicle.
If you have some additional questions or you need a specific structure, you can call one of our experts, so they can help in any doubt, remember that talking to a professional will guide you through the right way.