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Carport vs. Garage: 9 Things to Know to Make the Best Decision

Garage vs carport.

Carports and garages are both popular choices for protecting vehicles, equipment, and other valuables from the elements. However, there are major differences between the two, and each option has pros and cons depending on your needs. If you’re unsure what choice is best when comparing a carport vs. a garage, this guide can help you make the right decision.

 

Carport vs. Garage: Understanding the Key Differences

First, what are the main differences between a carport vs. a garage? Let’s start with the basics.

What is a Carport and How Much Does a Carport Cost?

A carport surrounded by trees

A carport is a covered structure used to provide shelter for vehicles. In general:

  • Carports are typically open-air with just a roof and no walls, although some are partially enclosed.
  • A permanent carport can be attached to your home. It can also be freestanding in front of your home or on another area of your property. 
  • Carports offer reliable protection from elements such as sun, rain, hail, and snow — especially carport types made of a sturdy material like steel. 
  • Carports are versatile and can also be used for storing other types of vehicles such as boats and RVs in addition to cars and trucks. Custom carports can also be outfitted with extra storage areas for tools, equipment, and more.

How much does a carport cost? A good-quality, permanent carport made of steel can start as low as $1,295.

What is a Garage and How Much Does a Garage Cost?

A metal garage with two roll-up doors and one walk-in door

A garage is a fully enclosed structure typically made up of a roof and four walls. In general:

  • While garages are often attached to homes, detached garages are also popular.
  • Because garages are fully enclosed with lockable doors (and sometimes windows), they offer more security and protection against theft than carports.
  • Garages can be designed to house multiple vehicles (typically one, two, or three cars) and provide ample storage space.
  • Depending on the size, a garage can also be used for, or converted into, a workshop, office, or additional living area. 

Wondering, “What does a garage cost?” The answer will depend on many factors such as its size, whether it’s attached to or detached from your home, the materials used to build it, and more. In general, garages are considerably more expensive to build and install compared to carports because they require more time and materials to build. 

Generally speaking, a detached one-car garage costs $5,500–$16,800 and a detached two-car garage costs $6,500–$28,000. 

Carports vs. Garage: 9 Questions to Ask to Make the Best Decision

A list of 9 decision factors to consider in choosing between a carport vs. a garage

Carports and garages differ in visual appeal, cost to build, shelter, ease of installation, and permits required. Let’s look at each of these differences and break down how each makes a carport different from a garage.

1. Carport vs. Garage Appearance: What Will Look Best?

A two-story home with a two-car garage

It’s important to consider the appearance of your home when deciding between a carport or a garage. Carports provide excellent cover for the vehicles and equipment you park or store inside them, and many creative carport styles look beautiful. However, it may be easier to design a garage that complements your home’s style.

You can make sure that the walls and trim of the garage match the colors of your home to create a more pleasing overall appearance and greater curb appeal. You are still able to match the roof and trim of a carport to your home’s color. However, a carport is an open-air structure without walls, which limits your visual design options.

Most visual design options: Garage

2. Carport vs. Garage Cost: What Works Best for Your Budget?

A metal carport on a dirt road next to a building

On average, carports cost significantly less than garages since they require fewer materials to construct. Garages will cost more due to the addition of walls, doors, and windows. If the price point of your new carport or garage is a critical factor, a carport might be the better solution for your needs.

No matter what your deciding factors are, metal carports and garages from Alan’s Factory Outlet give you the lowest possible price without sacrificing quality.

More affordable: Carport

3. Carport vs. Garage Security: Is Theft Prevention a Concern?

A burglar dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, mask, and gloves trying to break in through a window using a crowbar

A garage is enclosed, while a carport is an open-air structure. Because of these differences, a garage is a better choice for protecting any vehicles and/or equipment you choose to park or store within it. 

You can also lock up a garage to keep your property safe from theft, while a carport remains exposed. While you can add security to your carport, it will never provide as much security as a garage does unless you decide to fully enclose it.

More protection from theft: Garage

4. Carport vs. Garage Use Cases: How Much Parking, Storage, and Other Space Do You Need?

A workshop area in a garage with a workbench, storage containers, and hanging tools

In terms of utility, carports offer versatile parking and storage options beyond just vehicles. They can shelter RVs, boats, and equipment, and be built to include storage space. Both carports and garages can be customized with shelving units for organized storage.

Because of their size, garages provide greater storage space for tools, seasonal items, and recreational gear. Garages can also serve as an additional living space like a gymgame room, or office, and incorporate a workshop for crafts, hobbies, and interests. Consider your specific use cases and storage needs to determine which one will suit you best.

More use cases: Garage

5. Carport vs. Garage Installation: Do the Ease and Speed of Construction Matter?

A construction crew building a large metal carport that is fully enclosed with siding and garage doors

Carports are usually much easier to install than garages. No matter the carport’s size, they’re far more lightweight and can usually be constructed and secured by a professional crew within just a few hours. On the other hand, garages can be a bit more complicated and time-consuming to build.

If installation worries you, you’re in luck. Any type of metal building purchased from Alan’s Factory Outlet includes free delivery and installation to take care of the hard part. 

Easier and quicker to install: Carport

6. Carport vs. Garage Weather Resistance: What Protection Do You Need?

Rain pouring off the edges of a home's roof

Both carports and garages provide sturdy shelter for vehicles and other valuables. However, garage walls provide more protection from natural elements like snow, wind, and rain. 

If you live in an area that experiences severe storms and high winds, you’ll have to take extra measures to anchor your carport to the ground. Factor in the seasonal weather of your location in deciding which option between carport vs. garage offers the protection you need.

More protection from weather: Garage

7. Carport vs. Garage Permits and Regulations: What Will You Need?

Two people sitting across from each other at desk going over paperwork

Whenever you add a new structure to your property, it’s a good idea to check with your local planning department to find out whether you need any permits. The answer will differ depending on where you live and the city or county’s specific requirements, building codes, and permit process. Compliance with building codes ensures structural safety and prevents penalties. 

It’s more likely that you’ll need a permit to add a full garage, but you may need one for a carport as well. Check with your local government officials before deciding on one structure over the other, as this could end up influencing your decision. 

Fewer permits required: Carport

8. Carport vs. Garage Property Value: Which One Adds More Value?

A dollar bill and coins, a pen, a financial document, and a calculator

For many homeowners, the installation of a carport or garage provides immediate benefits while enhancing long-term property value. However, a carport adds far less property value than a garage.

The addition of a garage can significantly increase a property’s value because of its security, extra square footage, and appearance as a building. Homebuyers often see secure, enclosed parking spaces as desirable features in real estate listings. 

More potential added value: Garage

9. Carport vs. Garage Ventilation: How Much Airflow Do You Prefer?

A partially enclosed metal carport with a truck and a fifth wheel parked inside

If ventilation isn’t a crucial factor for you, a garage could fit your needs. You can still ventilate a garage by opening the doors and optional windows, but the inside won’t ventilate fully when everything is closed. 

A carport is different from a garage because it’s completely open. Carports are naturally ventilated and great places to catch a cool breeze. If your car ever needs to idle or you want an open space to hang out, you might want to check out our customizable carports. 

More ventilation: Carport

Carport vs. Garage: The Main Benefits of Carports 

A large metal carport in the middle of a beautiful outdoor area

Carports come with several key benefits:

  • They are a cost-effective alternative to building a garage as they require less construction time and labor compared to garages. With a metal carport, there’s also the option of converting it to a garage later.
  • Installing a carport yourself is possible with a carport kit, making it a popular DIY project. 
  • With various materials available to choose from — plastic, wood, steel, and more — carports can suit different budgets and be quite affordable. 

Carport vs. Garage: Main Advantages of Garages 

A one-car metal garage with a roll-up garage door and a walk-in door, surrounded by trees and land

The main advantages of garages are:

  • They offer superior protection from weather conditions since they are an enclosed structure. Vehicles and other valuables stored in garages are less likely to be damaged by hail, severe winds, or debris thanks to a garage’s solid frame and walls.
  • In addition to vehicle protection, garages provide increased security against theft and vandalism. They can be customized with secure garage doors and burglar alarms.
  • Garages typically offer space for both parking your vehicle and storing other items. A two- or three-car garage can provide ample space for additional storage, a workshop, or even living areas.

Carport vs. Garage: Pros and Cons at a Glance

Carport Pros and Cons

A list of carport pros and cons

A carport is a reliable solution for parking, providing shade for outdoor activities and more. The simplicity of this structure means there are many ways to get creative with including a carport on your property. 

Here are the top pros and cons of buying or building a carport:

Pros:

  • More affordable option for vehicle shelter
  • Easier installation process with minimal construction required
  • Open design allows for better ventilation
  • Better for tight spaces

Cons:

  • No built-in security from burglars (you will need to add carport security features)
  • Includes little-to-no storage space
  • Adds less value to a property compared to a garage
  • Offers less protection from severe weather

Garage Pros and Cons

A list of garage pros and cons

A garage is an enclosed storage, working, and parking solution that can be a valuable addition to your home or business. Since garages are enclosed, they generally have more uses than carports.

Here are the primary pros and cons of installing a garage on your property:

Pros:

  • Provides enhanced protection against weather and elements
  • Offers greater security due to fully enclosed walls
  • Can significantly increase property value
  • Can provide ample space for storage, work, and living

Cons:

  • Requires a larger financial investment
  • Construction takes longer
  • Garages tend to get cluttered up fast without careful organization
  • Has low ventilation unless doors and windows are open

Carport vs. Garage: Your Needs Drive the Decision

Carports and garages both offer unique value depending on your needs. Budget-wise, a carport may be more appealing than an expensive garage build. If you’re just looking for reliable shelter for a vehicle or two, and prefer speed and ease of installation, buying a carport may well suit your needs. 

However, if storage, security, and appearance are more important to you, you’ll likely want to choose a garage for your property. It may also be the better option if your location gets high winds, heavy storms, and other severe weather.

How to Customize a Metal Carport or Garage

Whichever solution you choose, you’ll get unbeatable factory-direct prices and outstanding customer service when you shop at Alan’s Factory Outlet. We sell high-quality metal carports and metal garages for vehicles, farm equipment, and more. All our metal structures can be customized to match your precise needs and design preferences. In addition, various color options are available to complement your home’s exterior. 

Use our convenient 3D design tool below to customize and order your carport or garage, and we’ll deliver and install the structure for free. 

Customize Your New Metal Carport or Garage

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  • Select a size to meet your needs
  • Choose roof, side, and trim colors
  • Add garage doors, windows, and walk-in doors
  • Customize additional options
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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.

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