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Compare Carport vs Garage Costs

Carport Overview

Carports are great for protecting cars from the sun, sap and falling branches and debris. They’re very popular in warm climates, where the idea of getting into a car that has been baking in the sun all day is less than appealing. Carports are fairly simple to build and reasonably priced.

You can purchase a carport kit with prefabricated components for quick and easy installation. Most experienced do-it-yourselfers can handle the assembly. Or, you can hire a builder to design and construct a carport from scratch.

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Summary: How Much Does a Carport Cost?

On average, carports cost about half as much as garages. Plan on spending anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 to purchase and install a carport kit. A small, one-car structure falls on the low end of that price range, while two-car structures can reach the higher end. The average cost of a kit, however, is $5,000 to $6,000.

Carport Pros

  • Less expensive - Building a carport is far less expensive than building a garage. Fewer materials are required since there are no walls, doors or windows, and that translates to lower labor costs, too.
  • Quick to build - Carports are relatively simple structures, so they can be built very quickly. An experienced handyman could probably complete the job in just a couple weekends.
  • Easier to get approval - Because carports are not considered enclosed or livable space, it’s usually easy to get the project approved by your city or town. The guidelines are less stringent. For example, you won’t be required to build fire-rated walls or ceilings.
Carport Cost

Carport Cons

  • Limited protection - Carports offer some protection from the sun and the elements, but not complete protection because they lack four walls. In most cases, at least two sides of the carport are open. Sometimes all four sides are open.
  • Smaller - Most carport designs provide enough room for just one or two cars. There’s usually no room for storage shelves or a workbench.
  • Not ideal for storage - You can’t lock a carport, so it’s not a good idea to use them for storage, even if you do have extra space. Your items can get wet or they could be stolen.
  • Not as attractive - Most people consider a full garage to be more attractive than a carport, although this is a matter of personal preference. Garages tend to be better for resale value, particularly in harsh climates.

Garage Overview

Garages offer a greater level of protection from the elements. They can also be used for storage or work space. Garages are most popular in cold climates, where snow and cold can wreak havoc on vehicles.

As with carports, you can purchase a prefabricated kit that makes garage construction relatively quick and easy. Or, you can hire a builder to design and construct the garage from scratch to match your home or meet your specific space needs.

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Summary: How Much Does a Garage Cost?

On average, prefabricated garage kits are about double the price of carport kits. Plan on spending at least $10,000 to $15,000. Custom-built garages are far more expensive, although the price varies widely depending on the size, configuration, finishing options and materials used. The total cost could easily reach $50,000 or $100,000.

Garage Pros

  • Full protection - Garages offer full protection from the elements. Your cars and personal items will be sheltered from rain, sun, wind, hail - you name it. If you live in a cold climate, you’ll never have to clean snow from your car.
  • Great for storage - Garages are ideal for storage because they are completely enclosed and can be locked. They also tend to be larger than carports, with extra space for shelves or workbenches.
  • More attractive - Most people would agree that garages look nicer than carports. The appearance is more finished and polished. Garages are also much better for resale value than carports.

Garages Cons

  • More expensive - Building a garage is much more expensive than building a carport. You’ll pay more for both materials and labor.
  • Take longer to build - Because garages are more complex structures than carports, they take longer to build.
  • Stricter building requirements - Gaining the necessary building approvals from your city or town will be a longer and more involved process when you’re building a garage. And you will be held to stricter building standards because the space is enclosed. At a minimum, you’ll have to install lights and fire-rated walls and ceilings.

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