Carport vs Garage – Which One To Choose?

Both carports and garages are instrumental in protecting your vehicle from elements such as snow, rain, sun and hail, which, as you might be aware, can damage your vehicle if left exposed for long periods. For most homeowners, choosing between carports and garages can be daunting, which is mainly due to the lack of enough information on the various features and benefits of the two options.

Despite performing similar functions such as the protection of vehicles from potentially harmful weather elements, carports and garages are completely different structures that have varying features and benefits. To help you make the best choice between a carport and a garage, we will discuss some of the differences, main features and their respective benefits.

Understanding Carports And Garages

Unlike a garage which is fully enclosed, a carport usually has three or less walls, and is designed to offer limited protection from snow, rain and direct sunlight. Carports can either be standalone or attached to a home; however, they usually have an open entryway which allows for easy movement to and from the structure.

Due to the presence of a roof and adequate ventilation, an attached carport can also act as patio area. Impressively, carports are easy to erect since they do not require walls, doors, or complex building material.

A garage, on the other hand, is a more complex structure that requires strong walls, an access point and a built-to-last roof. Similarly, a garage might be freestanding or attached to the house depending on your preferences.

Garage construction usually observes the main theme of the house; that is, the roofing and siding materials used are selected carefully to match the other materials used in a home’s exterior.

Important Factors To Consider When Choosing Between A Carport And A Garage


When it comes to storage, a garage is usually convenient, especially due to the presence of four walls and a door, which safely enclose the items stored inside. Depending on size, a garage can not only be used to house vehicles but also to store several household items such as bikes, lawnmowers, tools and generators.

Therefore, since garages can be locked to deny unauthorized people access, they can be used to store important items that would otherwise be at risk of theft if stored in carports. Although carports are used to shelter vehicles from potentially harmful elements, they offer little when it comes to storage space. As mentioned earlier, carports usually have less than three or no walls at all.

This implies that, if you leave valuable items at the carport, unauthorized individuals can easily gain access to the structure, and either steal or damage your property. Thus, when it comes to storage, garages offer more in terms of space and security as compared to carports.

Ease Of Setting Up

The good thing about carports is their convenience when setting up. Regardless of the design you choose to use, installing a carport is definitely easier and faster as compared to a garage.

For instance, despite requiring more materials than a two-walled or a single walled carport, a three walled carport will still be easier to set up than an ordinary garage. Most carport kits come with a set of instructions that assist you in setting up the structure on your compound.

However, when dealing with complex carport designs that are either standalone or attached to your house, it is always advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced professional to ensure that the structure is set up in a convenient, risk-free way.

Since garages usually have four walls and a door to enhance the security of the items stored inside, you will need to spend more time and resources when setting up a garage. Garages can be freestanding or attached depending on your preferences; however, you will need to plan carefully when constructing a garage.

A garage can be designed to provide an alternative entrance to the house, which can come in handy, especially during heavy rain or snow. Therefore, as can be seen, a garage will require you to take time and plan adequately to ensure that it meets your specific storage needs.

Unlike carports, garages are usually designed to follow the main theme of the house, which means that you cannot use random siding materials if you want your structure to be aesthetically pleasing.

Value Addition

When it comes to value addition, a garage can help to increase the resale value of your property by up to an incredible $10,000. To expound further, constructing a garage will require you to spend on materials, labor and other construction related costs.

Also, for the garage to last and serve you for years to come, it goes without saying that you will need to use high quality materials, which as you might be aware, can be costly to acquire. However, the costs will be well worth it since your property will increase in value.

While carports will also require you to spend some cash, the cost cannot be compared to that of constructing garages. A carport will not necessarily add value to your property; however, the presence of a neatly assembled carport will make your property attractive and tempting to buyers who are willing to overlook the absence of a garage.

Approvals And Permit Acquisitions

Since carports are not enclosed, setting up one won’t require you to adhere to home construction regulations.

There are usually no legal requirements when it comes to setting up or selecting carport materials as the structure is not considered fit enough for living, which this means that, provided you have a good designer who can advise you on the best material to use, you can proceed to set up your carport with no worries about legal requirements or compliance.

However, when constructing a garage, you will need to observe several legal requirements to ensure that your structure is compliant with home construction standards in your area.

Due to their enclosed nature, garages are usually viewed as genuine living areas. Therefore, unlike a carport which has little to no regulations depending on your area of residence, constructing a garage will need you to acquire a permit and prepare for an inspection.

As a result, the cost and timeline of a garage construction is subject to external factors such as construction taxes, permits and date of inspection.

Can A Carport Be Transformed Into A Garage?

A carport is more often than not viewed as a convenient and easy to construct garage. To put it in perspective, garages and carports serve the same primary purpose, which is to hold vehicles and protect them from various elements such as snow, rain and the sun.

Therefore, if you are wondering whether a carport can be converted into a garage, then the answer is yes, provided you follow the right procedures.

To transform a carport into a garage, however, you will need to inquire and adhere to the various construction regulations in your area of residence. Once you obtain a construction permit, you should proceed to display it strategically on one of your windows before continuing with the carport renovation.

The importance of acquiring the services of an experienced professional when looking to transform your carport into a garage cannot be overstated. As expected, the expert will help you to determine where to put the window and garage door. Afterwards, you will be advised on the various materials that are required in the project. 

The walls are usually the first to be erected followed by the placement of windows and the access door. While an access door is not compulsory, it can come in handy, especially in allowing you direct access to your house from the garage during extreme weather conditions.

Once the access door and windows have been installed successfully, the next step is placing the garage door. The garage door should be large enough to suit your specific needs. Before thinking about the exterior finishes, ensure that you finish up on the insulation as well as the necessary wirings.

However, when converting your carport to a garage, working with an experienced professional is always recommended.

Garage Or Carport: Final Verdict

As can be seen from the above discussion, carports and garages are similar in that they provide storage space for vehicles. However, despite performing the role of housing vehicles, the two structures are completely different.

While carports usually have three or less walls and no doors, garages are fully enclosed, which allows them to provide additional storage for other items.

Therefore, when choosing between a carport and a garage, it is advisable to make considerations based on factors such as timelines, value addition, local regulations and of course, your budget.

Carports are highly convenient as they can either be temporary or permanent depending on your specific needs. However, garages are also important, especially since they provide additional storage solutions on top of adding value to your property.

If you are on a tight budget and want to provide immediate protection for your car against snow, sun and rain, then it is advisable to start with a carport. Remember, when setting up a carport, you will not be required to obtain building permits. Therefore, you can start small with a carport, and later on renovate it to a garage once you acquire the required permits.