How to Choose the Right Carport or Garage
So you have a vehicle that needs protection from the elements, but how do you know what the best shelter is for you? Let us help you decide!
What’s wrong with storing vehicles outside?
Storing your car, truck, RV, trailer, or off-road vehicle outside can drastically increase weather-related damage. Overexposure to UV light can fade paint colours, damage plastic, and cause protective coatings to peel. Dirt and standing water, or ice, can cause rust to form. Hail, heavy rains, or falling tree branches from high winds are also a major risk when storing vehicles outdoors. Cold weather and snow can also be hard on your vehicle, not to mention, no one wants to spend half an hour clearing snow off of your car every morning in the winter!
What’s the difference between a garage and a carport?
The main difference is a garage usually has walls, whereas a carport is only a roof. Both can be very effective shelters, depending on your needs. A steel-walled garage can be locked to keep your vehicle safe and secure, and you can add a heater for added protection from the cold. Most of the garages we carry function best when mounted onto a concrete slab. This helps to keep your vehicle dry and clean and provides a little extra stability to the garage itself.
A carport can be mounted onto a concrete slab as well, which we always recommend, however it is not always necessary. Carports are ideal for tall vehicles such as RVs and camping trailers because many of them have optional height extension kits. A carport is a great way to protect a vehicle during the summer months when sun exposure and rain are your main concerns.
What about snow load?
All carports and garages we carry are designed to withstand Canadian winters, however, we do recommend checking the snow load ratings before purchasing. We highly recommend adding roof reinforcements to your structure if you live in a location with heavy snowfall.
Snow load ratings are measured in pounds per square foot. These ratings can be converted to estimations of snow depth, depending on the water content in the snow. If you experience drier, colder winters where you live, the snow sitting on your roof will have lower moisture content and therefor will be lighter. This means that your roof will be able to handle more snow before hitting its limit. If you live in a climate with slightly warmer temperatures and heavy snowfall, the snow on your roof will be heavier and will need to be shoveled off more frequently. In order to get a rough estimation of how much snow your roof can handle, you will need to divide the lbs/ft2 rating by 10 to get the approximate snow depth. For example, if your roof is rated for 22lbs/ft2 you can expect your roof to be able to handle roughly 2-2.5 ft of snow before needing to be shoveled off.*
NOTE: Remember that this is only an estimation, and you should always be conservative with your expectations of snow load capability in order to avoid a roof cave-in or collapse.
How to pick the right size?
Picking the right size of garage or carport is fairly straightforward. All you need to know is the height, length, and width of your vehicle and an idea of how much additional space you want around your vehicle. For example, if your RV is 30ft long, 10ft tall, and 9.5ft wide your best storage option would be the 14’H x 33’L x 14’ W Arrow Steel RV Carport. This will allow for a little extra space under the carport which will provide extra shelter if you are working on your RV in the rain. We always recommend ordering a size that gives you additional covered space around your vehicle, as long as you have the space on your property for it.
Do you need a permit for a garage or carport?
Finding out whether or not you will need a building permit for your garage or carport is based entirely on the size and purpose of your structure. In British Columbia, building permits are required for any detached garage over 590 ft2. However, this will vary from province to province. For full details on permits, contact your local city hall.*
When is the best time to buy a carport or garage?
Of course, you can purchase at any time of year, but we believe summer is the best time to buy a carport or garage. This ensures that the size and style of shelter you want is still available, and gives you ample time to set up your garage before the snow comes. And, as a bonus, you will have access to UV protection for your vehicle over the summer!
*Disclaimer* All statements are suggestions and should not be taken as facts. For full details on snow load ratings please refer to your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer of your shelter. For full details on building permits please contact your municipal government.