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Different Types of Carports: 5 Most Popular Options

Different types of carports.

If you’re thinking about building or buying a carport—but you aren’t exactly sure what you want yet—this guide is for you. When it comes to different types of carports, there are plenty of options: flat roof carports, vertical roof carports, hip roof carports, and much more. Here I will show you five of the most popular types of carports and how to make an intelligent choice that meets your budget and needs

Whether you’re looking for a carport with a vertical roof, or another style entirely, we’ve got you covered.

Introduction to Different Types of Carports

You may have already heard that flat roof carports, vertical roof carports, and hip roof carports are cost-effective alternatives to garages for cars. I’m about to show you some great carports with different roof styles—gable roof, vertical roof, hip roof, and more. Better yet, some of them cost less than $1,500.

But first, let’s quickly discuss different types of carports and carport designs. Since a carport is essentially a roof supported by poles, the roof style is the main design consideration. For example, the gable roof carport style is often the professional choice for its sleek and modern design. If this already sounds good to you, explore our selection of gable-roof carports which are available in three roof styles: regular, boxed eave, and vertical.

In addition to the gable roof, carport roof styles range from a simple, flat or single-slope metal carport roof to a fancy hip roof. Your choice in carport designs, from roof style to overall material used (such as a wood or metal carport) will affect both the appearance of your property and the total cost of your carport project.

Flat Roof

A flat-roof carport

A flat-roof carport is a popular choice for those who prefer a completely flat roof. The main benefit of this roof type is its simplicity. If you’re building your own carport, a flat-roof carport helps you avoid the complexity of cutting your materials to precise angles. Some people also like the appearance of a flat-roof carport.

The main drawback of a flat roof, whether it’s a metal carport roof or made of another material, is that there isn’t a good way for water, leaves, and especially snow to slide off of the roof. That is why some flat-roof carports collapse during snowstorms.

Single-Slope Roof

A single-slope carport

A single-slope roof is a simple solution to keep snow and leaves from piling up and destroying your carport. A single-slope roof is often used when attaching a lean-to carport on the side of your house. If a single-slope roof is attached to the back of your house, it’s called a skillion-roof carport.

Gable or A-Frame Roof

A regular-style carport

Most detached carports feature a gable or A-frame roof, with a center ridge and two equal slopes. These carports may have a regular-style roof, with curved edges for a classic carport look, or a vertical roof that doesn’t curve down at the sides. If you’re building or buying a detached carport, the gable roof style is probably your best option. In fact, it’s the only roof style we sell for that reason.

Hip Roof

A hip-roof carport

A hip-roof carport isn’t very common, but it’s a stylish alternative to the gable roof style. Instead of featuring a gable on the front and back of the structure, this type of carport roof has four sloping sides. This means that water will run off all four sides of your carport, which is less ideal than having water run off just two sides.

The second thing you need to consider when building or buying a carport is the material your carport will be made from. There are five popular types of carport materials.


A plastic carport

Plastic is the most basic option, but plastic carports don’t last very long, so they aren’t a serious option for anyone looking for a long-term parking solution. If you only need to cover your vehicle for less than a year, and you don’t get any snow or strong winds in your area, a temporary plastic carport may fit your needs. Plastic carports are usually easy to install.


A canvas carport

Canvas carports are a little stronger, and last longer. They are a reasonably inexpensive option if you need a cover for your car that will last for only a few years. If you need something more protective and long-lasting, I recommend choosing a stronger material like metal or wood.


A wood carport

Wood is a great choice for a carport material if your number one concern is beauty. Although wood carports cost more than other options, they can be built to match the exact style of your home. This is one reason that many people choose wood for attached carports.

Wood is also a great option for DIY carport roof projects because it’s easy to work with. Just be aware that it will cost you more to build your own wood carport than to buy a done-for-you metal carport of comparable quality.


A steel carport

Steel carports are a strong, long-lasting, and affordable option. A steel carport will last for decades with minimal maintenance, and many modern steel carports are very stylish, too. Most steel carports are freestanding (not attached to your house) and feature a gable roof.


An aluminum carport

Aluminum carports cost about the same as steel carports. Because aluminum is a softer metal, and more likely to develop dents. However, aluminum doesn’t rust, which can be a benefit in salty, coastal climates.

Pros and Cons of Metal Carports

Metal carports, including steel and aluminum carports, have many advantages over other options. They are often a simple, low-cost, and attractive option that lasts for a very long time with minimal upkeep. Since metal complements any roof style, you’ll often see it in vertical roof carports, flat roof carports, hip roof carports, and more.

Metal Carport Advantages

  • Low price
  • Low-maintenance
  • Long lifespan

However, metal carports do come with a few disadvantages. If you want to attach your carport directly to your house, a wood carport may be a better option, since wood carports are easier to attach to a house.

If you live next to the coast, a steel carport also may not be ideal for you. Although you can prevent most rust problems with routine inspections, the salty coastal air will always be a force to battle against.

Metal Carport Disadvantages

  • Difficult to attach to an existing home
  • May rust if neglected or in a coastal climate
  • Metal frame is less attractive than wood for some

Different Roofing Materials for Carports: Metal Options

Most carports—even those made of wood—have a metal roof.

Here you have two basic options:

  1. Aluminum sheeting
  2. Galvanized steel sheeting

Either option might be painted or have a colored enamel baked onto the sheeting, to improve the durability and appearance of the sheeting.

Carport roof colors

As mentioned before, a steel roof is stronger, and less likely to dent from branches or other debris that fall on your carport roof. An aluminum roof won’t rust, so it may be more suitable in coastal areas. They both provide similar protection from the elements.

Ease of Installation for Different Carport Types

Most plastic and canvas carports come as simple kits that can be installed at home by two to three people. Since many of these types of carports are temporary shelters, they tend to be designed in a way that makes assembling and disassembling them relatively easy. The total installation time shouldn’t take more than a couple hours.

For permanent carports, wood is the easiest material to work with if you plan to build a carport yourself. You may already have a saw, hammer, nails, power screwdriver, and other tools you will need to build a carport frame with wood. If you need help, see our guide on How to Build a Carport Step by Step for instructions.

If you don’t want to build a carport all by yourself, you’re not alone. There are metal carport kits and gable carport kits that provide a straightforward, do-it-yourself solution for protecting your vehicles. A carport kit will come with all the parts and instructions you need to install your carport. However, don’t expect the installation to be easy. Most kits will require at least two people, some special equipment, and a fair bit of time to install.

If you aren’t the type that enjoys building things (or you don’t want to face the risks involved), then you should buy a carport that includes installation. Some prefabricated metal carports (like all the ones we sell) come with free installation. That means a professional crew will install the carport at your site in a few hours or less. It’s that simple.

Cost Considerations for Different Carport Styles

If your budget is less than $500, your best option is to get a temporary carport made out of plastic or canvas. If you need some suggestions, we have a list of budget carport options for you.

A temporary carport may save you money in the short term, but in the long term, they may cost more than a permanent solution, since you’ll have to replace your carport every few years.

If you’re looking for a permanent carport, the most affordable option is one of the prefabricated metal carports that we sell (we are a low-cost leader). However, the cost will depend on the size, roof style, and other options you select. Here is a calculator to help you customize and price your carport:

Instantly Price Your Metal Carport

Carport Roof Style
Choose Frame Size
Product Builder Image
12 X 21 Vertical Metal Carport

Depending on doors, windows, height, and other add ons

One-Car Carport Cost

In many locations you can get a 12×20 regular-roof carport for about $1,500. If you buy from us, the price includes free delivery and installation. The same carport with a premium vertical roof will cost a few hundred dollars more.

Most one-car wood carports will cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars more.

Two-Car Carport Cost

In most places you can get a 20×20 steel carport for under $2,000. A wood carport of the same size may cost about double that.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tall should a carport be?

Your carport should be at least a foot taller than your tallest vehicle, so that there will be plenty of clearance to park under the carport without damaging your vehicle.

If you make your carport really tall, it won’t provide good protection from the wind and rain, so don’t make it too tall either.

What is a good size carport for two cars?

A 20×20 carport provides enough space to cover two mid-sized vehicles. Many people prefer a carport that is a little wider, though, so they don’t have to worry about hitting the other vehicle when they open their car doors.

How much does it cost to add a garage door to a carport?

Adding a garage door to an existing carport can be quite expensive. In some cases, it’s cheaper just to get a whole new prefabricated garage rather than trying to convert an existing carport into a garage.

How to Customize and Order a Metal Carport

We hope that this guide on the five most popular carport types has helped you get more clarity on the kind of carport that would best meet your needs.

A long-lasting metal carport from Alan’s Factory Outlet provides convenience and peace of mind because you won’t have to worry about weather damage, upkeep, or replacing it for many years. It also provides superior protection for your belongings since metal is fire- and insect-resistant.

Use our design tool below to quickly customize and order a new carport that’s perfect for you. Our carports are made in the USA with American steel and include free delivery and installation. Also, you can cancel your order any time before delivery and get a 100% refund of your deposit.

Profile picture of Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

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