Carports can be useful, but they don’t offer the same amount of protection and enclosure as a full garage. If you currently have access to a carport, you may be able to convert it into a garage with only a few modifications.
Decide Whether Conversion Is the Right Decision
Before you get started, you should carefully consider whether converting your carport is the right decision. There are several advantages that garages hold over carports, including:
- Protection from wind, snow, and debris. One of the best advantages of a garage is total protection from wind, snow, and other debris. Since your carport will already have a roof, you’ll have protection from the sun and most types of inclement weather no matter what, but with full enclosure, you’ll have even more protection.
- Privacy. Adding walls to your structure affords you more privacy. If you have a nice car or an important piece of equipment, it will be less visible and less susceptible to thieves.
- Additional storage. A garage will offer more space and protection in the form of walls, so you can use it for additional storage. If you have secondary vehicles, equipment, or just extra possessions, this can be invaluable.
- Heating and cooling options. Depending on your priorities, you may want to heat or cool the garage – a function that’s practically impossible if you have an open carport.
- Aesthetic value. With the right upgrades, your garage can be much more beautiful than the average carport. It can make your home seem more welcoming and more aesthetically pleasing.
However, there are also some downsides to conversion that you’ll have to consider, such as:
- Costs. Upgrading a carport into a garage can be expensive. Depending on the materials you choose, the timeline of the project, and some other variables, this can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
- Less maneuverability. In some ways, a garage is less maneuverable than a carport, making it harder to take your vehicle in and out.
- Less flexibility. The open nature of carports allow them to be used in a variety of different ways. Once you enclose it, some of these potential applications will disappear.
Research Laws and Regulations
Before beginning work on your conversion process, it’s a good idea to research the laws and regulations that might limit the possibilities available to you. For example, there may be local laws that prevent you from building garage-like structures without a permit. Or your HOA may have strict rules for what you can do with a garage.
Conduct an Inspection
When you’re ready to start upgrading your existing carport, you’ll want to conduct a thorough inspection to see if it can handle the upgrade.
- Look for rot. Start by looking for rot and signs of infestation. These can be total project-killers, but you may be able to mitigate the damage in the right conditions.
- Evaluate the structural integrity. Take a look at the foundation and evaluate the structural integrity of the current building. Are there any cracks or major repairs that need done?
- Check for soil movement. If you live in an area with expansive soil, your carport may have suffered structural damage due to the creation of cracks underground. You may need to consult with a geologist or an engineer to determine the extent of the potential damage.
- Check for leaks. Are there any leaks in the roof? These can often be repaired with minimal effort.
Start Designing the Garage
There are a number of important decisions you’ll need to make when designing your garage, including:
- Walls. Do you want concrete, steel, or a different material for the walls?
- Insulation. Do you want to add insulation and/or heating and cooling to the building?
- Door style and placement. What type of garage door do you want? Do you want to add a door for human accessibility?
- Windows. Do you want windows? If so, how many and what style?
- Siding. What type of siding will provide the best protection and aesthetic?
- Color. Though more superficial than some of the other considerations, it’s worth thinking carefully about the color of your structure as well.
With an idea for the design you want, you’ll be ready to hire contractors. Look for experts with ample experience in this area, and make sure you shop around to get the best possible price. Depending on your previous experience, you may even be able to do some of the work yourself.
Converting a carport into a garage is a project that could take several months and several thousand dollars to complete. But by the end of it, you’ll have a stronger, more resilient, more private structure that can keep your vehicles and other assets safe in a variety of conditions.