Many newer homes are built with a garage as a standard feature, but there are many older and newer homes alike that do not have a garage. Those that have a garage space may only have room for one car, or you may have a smaller home that only has a half-garage space which is ideal for storing boxes and lawn equipment but that has no space for a car. Such situations can be inconvenient for homeowners to live with, and you may be wondering if your home would benefit from the new addition of a garage, a carport or a garage and carport combination. If you already have a carport, you may even be thinking about a carport conversion to garage project to improve your home.

The Difference Between a Carport and a Garage

Before you can make a wise and informed decision that is best for your home and your budget, it is important to understand the difference between carport and garage features.

Difference in Structure

With a carport, you essentially have a roof supported by four beams. Providing you with a covered area that is large enough to park one or maybe two cars under. With a garage, you have an enclosed space that may be large enough to park one or two cars in. Some garages may even be large enough to accommodate three or more cars, a boat, an RV or other items. Therefore, both can provide you with space to park your vehicles.

The Location of the Structure

Both can either be attached to your home or detached from your main structure. This, however, is where the similarities between the two main options end. A closer look at the pros and cons of garages, carports and a garage with carport combination will help you to determine which is best for your needs.

The Advantages of a Garage

Regardless of whether you have a single car garage, a double garage or an even larger space, your garage provides you with several important advantages that carports do not have.

Protection for Your Belongings

Because a garage is covered on all sides, it provides greater protection for your vehicles as well as other items you may store inside. These spaces typically are not fully insulated or climate-controlled, but they do offer protection from the elements. This can keep your vehicles in better shape and may even promote enhanced value over the years.

Versatile Functionality

Because the space is completely enclosed, it may offer more versatility than an open-air space. For example, it is suitable to store lawn equipment, holiday décor, sporting equipment and other items in this space because the risk of theft is minimal in an enclosed space.

Aesthetic Appeal

The enclosure means that storing these items in this space will not create an eyesore. Finally, this structure may offer improved appeal to future buyers and may enhance property value more than a carport would.

The Disadvantages of a Garage

While these benefits of a garage may be appealing, there are some downsides to consider if you are thinking about building a garage on your property.

The Cost

A garage is often a more costly alternative to a carport. If you have a limited budget to work with, this may not be suitable for you.

The Time to Build

It can take much longer to construct this type of room onto your space. In fact, it may take a full month or longer of solid effort to build a garage.

The Approval Process

You may need to get approval from your HOA (Home Owners Association) and your local zoning board to build a new structure on your property. Both the zoning and HOA approval process may be much more stringent and difficult to go through than with a carport.

The Advantages of a Carport

Now that you have explored the pros and cons of a garage, it is important to learn more about a carport.


If your main goal for building a new structure on your property is to provide protection from the elements for your vehicles, this is a more cost-effective and easier option to consider. In fact, a carport may cost a fraction of the price that a garage costs.

Obtaining Approval to Build

It may be easier in many instances to get a building permit for a carport rather than a garage. You can research building requirements to learn more about the differences in approval requirements between building a garage and a carport.

The Building Process

There is also typically more flexibility with the construction efforts used to build a carport. For example, a garage is typically constructed on a concrete slab foundation. A carport, however, may be constructed on a slab foundation or on the ground with everything from gravel to grass as the flooring option.

The Disadvantages of a Carport

There are downsides associated with the construction of a carport over a garage that should be considered as well.

Lack of Versatility in Function

A carport, for instance, is not suitable for storing extra items in it, such as sports equipment and lawn maintenance equipment. You typically only can store vehicles under the carport.

Minimal Protection

In addition to this lack of versatility, a carport also provides minimal protection from the elements for your vehicles. For example, it may provide shade from the harsh UV rays from the sun and some protection from rain and ice, but rain, ice and even pests can still penetrate into the space through the sides of the structure.

The Pros and Cons of a Garage With Carport Combo

A third and final option to consider is to install a single or double garage with carport included in the design.

A Moderate Cost

A garage with attached carport may provide you with the best of both worlds. This option may have a moderate cost that falls between the cost of installation for a full garage and a full carport. This is because you may have one or two parking spaces underneath a carport feature as well as enclosed space that can house one or two cars.

Great Functionality and Versatility

In some cases, the enclosed space may be just large enough to house your lawn equipment and other non-vehicular items. This provides you with the added versatility that you will not find with a simple carport.

Flexible Building Options

A garage and carport combination is also available in a wide range of sizes and styles, and this gives you maximum flexibility to design the ideal space for your specific needs. It also gives you greater flexibility to control your spending with this construction project and to choose a design that aesthetically complements your home.

Making Your Decision

Before you move forward with the construction of a carport, a garage or a garage and carport combination structure, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option separately. It may be helpful to make a list of what you want to accomplish through building your garage. It can also be helpful to review code and permit requirements in your area and create a detailed budget for your project. By taking each of these steps, you will find that one solution stands out as being clearly advantageous over the other options.