How to choose a garage or carport

  • Posted: Jun 30, 2008
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How to choose a garage or carport

When choosing a garage or carport the amount of space that you have available and what you want to use it for will play a major part in your decision.

You could build a garage from the ground up using brick and mortar or you could construct a prefabricated garage, usually steel framed, as an alternative.

Retrofitting a garage to your house is a more expensive option and there are a number of carport and garage options available. A garage or carport can be freestanding or built onto a house and can be used to house more than just a car.

Space available and usage needs

If you have access and the space constructing a garage in the back garden is a good option. This location is more convenient for storage and more flexible for future conversion to another use, such as a granny flat.

The general rule for storing cars is that you need 3.6m x 7.2m of space per car. A double garage, therefore, should be 7.2m x 7.2m. Don’t forget to allow space for larger cars, plus anything else you might want to store.

If you are going to use your garage as a living space or are turning an existing garage into an additional room, then you’ll need to consider things like insulation and waterproofing. A steel garage will be hotter in summer than a brick one, so consider what you’ll be keeping in it and how much time you’ll be spending inside when choosing a garage material.

In general, all garages and carports are constructed on a concrete slab, so you’ll need to have space to lay one. The slab will need to be of a greater thickness if it has to support a heavier structure.

The design of your garage and carport should always blend in with your house and you may require approval from your council, so check before you start construction.

Garage and carport types

Freestanding garage
When building a freestanding garage, whether it is prefabricated or not, you will need to consult with a small architect and/or builder who will be able to bring your ideas to life. Building a garage from scratch is a more expensive option, but allows you a lot more freedom with the design and will allow your garage to blend in with your house much better. A garage door manufacturer will bring in the final and most important part.

Built-on garage
Adding a garage to the side of an existing house is a rare choice for a renovation. It’s also the most expensive option, and requires more extensive planning with regards to the structure and load-bearing outer walls of your home. However, using this method can add greater value to your home, not to mention the convenience of having your car easily accessible from the house.

A carport offers the cheapest solution for a car shelter, and also offers the greatest range of DIY styles.

Although they offer little security compared to garages, carports may be cooler in summer than a steel garage as you’re shading the area, but not enclosing it. Carports can also be expandable, by adding more roof area onto the end as your needs, or perhaps budget, increase. Some carports are even designed so that, should the need arise, they can be enclosed and turned into a garage, with a door attached to the roof.

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