Are you a homeowner, who doesn’t have sufficient space or the budget for a traditional garage? Building a carport is an affordable alternative. It’s a good way to keep the rain, sun, and snow off your car. If you’re wondering, how much does a carport cost, we have all the answers for you, here. 

What is a carport?

A carport is usually a detached structure or car stall with at least one side open. It’s usually made using wood, fiber, concrete slabs, or metal. This easy-to-construct car shelter usually comprises a roof supported on posts and is built beside a house.

Interestingly, the term carport originates from the French term porte-cochère, meaning a covered portal, coined by the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1936 in Madison, Wisconsin.

A carport — either attached or freestanding open structure — can be constructed simply by placing a roof on poles, or by building walls (up to three) and attaching it to a concrete pad and a roof. 

You can also have carports that are lightweight, temporary cloth or vinyl canopies stretched over aluminum frames. That is to say, a carport can be both semi-permanent or permanent depending on the kind of home addition you want. 

Moreover, you can install a prefab carport that comes in a kit. It only needs assembly and can be constructed on-site. 

Read more: Home addition loans: Financing a home addition

Carport cost

The national average of constructing a carport runs to between $2,000 and $10,000, with most homeowners spending approximately $8,439 for an 18’ x 18’ galvanized steel carport having two walls.

Keep in mind that the total cost varies depending on the style of carport you want. You can find a huge variety of carports on the basis of type, roofing material, roof-style, size of the carport, and the number of vehicles it accommodates. And therefore, you can expect a wide range of carport costs as well.

Carport cost per square foot

Keeping all the carport variations in mind, you can expect to pay $12 to $35 a square foot for a fully installed carport. The average cost per square foot for a carport construction is around $18. 

However, as mentioned above, the cost may be much higher or lower depending on the carport type, your location, project complexity, building material, and whether the carport is a prefab or a custom-built design.

Carport vs garage cost

While both a carport and a garage are used to keep cars, there’s a big difference in the way they are constructed. Garages are permanent structures with four walls, a roof, and a garage door. They can be either attached to your house or a freestanding enclosed structure.

Garages can be locked and help to protect your car from extreme cold, harsh sun rays, and snow. What’s more, you can use a garage for storing things such as tools and equipment apart from your vehicle. You can also utilize it as a home gym or a home office! 

A carport, on the other hand, is not a fully enclosed structure and tends to cost considerably less than attached or detached garages. Most carports do not have doors, are not securable, and may not even have walls. 

The cost to build a carport is a fraction of the garage building cost. A carport costs $7,200 on average while building a garage costs anywhere between $35,000 and $52,830, depending on the size of the garage, material costs, labor costs, garage doors, garage flooring, etc.

Carport cost by material

Carports come in different materials such as wood, steel, polycarbonate blend, and aluminum. These affect the total carport building cost to a large extent. Here’s a look at the associated costs and features:

Carport Material Average Cost (per Square Foot) Attributes
Wood carport$15 – $30– Great for custom structures.
– Available in a range of styles and roof materials, including traditional shingle roofs, metal roofs, or polycarbonate roofs.
– Most common carport material.
Steel carport$20 – $30– High durability and reliability.
– Better at protecting cars against strong winds.
– Heavy carport material.
– Installation may be a little difficult due to the weight.
Aluminum carport$10 – $15– Lightweight yet strong and durable
. Offers good protection from heat, heavy winds, and rain.
– Generally, built from kits or prefab sets.
Polycarbonate carport$12 – $20– Good to filter UV rays and keep rain and snow out.
– Durable and economically advantageous.
– Modern design and look.

Labor cost

When you hire a contractor to construct a covered carport, it will cost you more as compared to a DIY project. For instance, building a metal carport can cost you anywhere between $3500 and $4000, but if you buy the materials yourself and build your own metal carport, it will save you a good $500 to $1000 just in labor costs.

However, keep in mind that if you hire a carport installer, you’ll save yourself from a lot of hassle. Moreover, even with hired help, the cost to build a carport is much less than the cost to construct a new garage.

Carport prices by size

Another important cost factor for a carport is its size. And, the dimensions depend on whether you want to build a carport for a single car, two cars, multiple cars, or a recreational vehicle (RV). 

While most common carports are 12’ x 20’ and 20’ x 20’, you can get one custom-built in almost any size. 

Take a look at the average costs for different carport sizes:

Carport Sizes Average Carport Costs 
10’ x 16’$1,600 – $4,800
10’ x 30’$3,000 – $9,000
12’ x 12’$1,440 – $4,320
12’ x 24’$2,880 – $8,640
15’ x 30’$4,500 – $13,500
16’ x 20’$3,200 – $9,600
20’ x 20’$4,000 – $12,000
20’ x 30’$6,000 – $18,000
21’ x 22’$4,620 – $13,860
24’ x 24’$5,760 – $17,280
30’ x 20’$6,000 – $18,000

Carport cost by type

Depending on the space and area you have for a carport, you can choose between the different styles and the way they are installed. For example, a portable carport costs you $400 – $1,200, a freestanding carport costs $900 – $6,000 while an attached carport with a more complex installation costs $1,200 – $10,000, on average.

If you choose to opt for a prefab carport (usually made of metal or polycarbonate), you may save on the labor costs. The reason is that these carport kits are easy to assemble on-site and can be easily DIY projects. Having said that, you might have to factor in high transport or shipping fees to the total carport cost.

If you do go the hiring route, you’ll spend between $2,000 and $5,000 for a professional installation.

Furthermore, custom carports, built on-site to your exact specifications, tend to cost more. Such structures require more work to build and design. You can expect to pay between $4,000 and $10,000 on average for a custom-built carport.

Additional cost considerations

Apart from the cost of building a car stall, you also need to keep a few things in mind. 

  • Whether the structure is made of metal, wood, or fiber, it will need routine maintenance. For instance, a carport may dent, rust, or get wood rot. You’ll have to factor in the cost of paintwork and timely repairs so that it continues to look its best. 
  • In case your carport occupies more area than 200 square feet and is a permanent structure, you may need a carport permit in all likelihood. It’s best to check your town or city building codes before beginning the home improvement project.

Are carports worth it?

A carport helps keep your vehicle out of the elements — providing shade in hot areas, keeping your car dry in the rain, and away from the snow in the winter. And, if you have an attached carport, you can have easy access to your car without having to step into bad weather conditions.

So, if you live in a region that’s subject to sudden weather changes, tree coverage, or strong sun rays, having a carport is definitely worth the investment. Drastic weather patterns can cause wear and tear on your vehicle — something you do not want. 

Another carport benefit is that although it may not increase any resale value of your property, it will make your real estate seem more attractive to potential home buyers — more so if you do not have a garage.

In fact, you can also add a carport to your property in addition to an already existing garage, and use it as an additional porch or outdoor patio.

Last thoughts

A carport is a much more affordable alternative to having a garage. If you want protection for your vehicle but do not want to build an entire structure due to home renovation budget restrictions, building a car shelter will do you good. 

Keep in mind that the more elaborate and labor-intensive your carport design is, the higher will be its cost. 

But once you decide to install this semi-permanent structure, it will shield your car or RV from inclement weather such as rain, hail, or storm.

Now, if you want some context of DIY projects about carports, we made a lovely infographic for you.

Carport cost and ideas of how to build it

How much does a carport cost? Here’s a complete cost guide was last modified: April 17th, 2023 by Ramona Sinha
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This is the only solution to the uncovered parking of buildings in rather small cities. It’s worth it, the sun and rain can age a car really fast. It helped me a lot recently moved to my current city.