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Carport or Garage: 6 Things to Know Before You Choose

Alicia Morales

A single severe storm can cause thousands of dollars of damage to a vehicle if it’s left unprotected. That’s why many people turn to metal carports or garages to keep their property safe. Whether you want to protect the family van or your fleet of quads, both metal structures are reliable options.

But it can be difficult to choose between a carport and a garage. Both structures offer varying sizes and levels of security, so it’s imperative to consider what you are hoping to store when making your final decision. To help make this choice easier, let’s explore an in-depth comparison of carports and garages, paying specific attention to appearance, installation, and cost.

Carport vs. Garage

Metal garages are steel structures that are fully enclosed to offer enhanced security. Because they require more materials, metal garages are often more expensive. 

Metal carports, on the other hand, are covered structures that generally protect from most inclement weather. Because they are not fully enclosed, carports are unable to protect property from theft and vandalism, yet they are typically more cost effective.

However, cost is only one of six key features that should be considered when choosing between a metal carport and a metal garage.


The greatest benefit of a garage is the four walls of steel surrounding your valuables. A carport only includes three walls or fewer. Further, some carports only include a metal roof atop four support beams. 

How soon are you hoping to install your metal building? Talk to one of our  specialists about available dates. While garages can be used for storage, workshops, or even a living space, your carport can be used as an open-air patio—but it will only be practical during the warmer months. Of course, if you only want to protect your vehicle from light weather, a carport may be all you need.


Garages are generally larger than metal carports, but both options are customizable. If you have multiple vehicles, opt for a two- or three-car garage. However, if you have minimal storage needs, a single carport garage may be sufficient.

Both carports and garages can be attached to your primary home or business. They can also be freestanding if necessary. You’ll want to make this decision based on the topography and capacity of your property.

Weather Resistance

Consider the typical weather in your region and determine what exactly will need protection. If you live in a warm, temperate environment and have minimal storage needs, a carport will likely suffice.

However, if you experience high winds, hail, heavy rain, snow, or any other extreme weather, it’s much safer to invest in a garage. 

Luckily, steel is naturally fire-resistant so both structures should hold up to high heat. With that in mind, garages will perform better in the unfortunate instance of a wildfire or other conflagration.


Unsurprisingly, garages offer added security that metal carports cannot. But security goes beyond protecting your vehicles. The addition of an enclosed space offers endless possibilities. You can use your garage as a workshop, artist studio, man-cave, she-shed, or even convert your garage into an Airbnb for extra income.

Metal garages can be reinforced with double-pane windows, heavy locks, and alarm systems. Simply determine the value of the items you intend to store in your metal structure and plan your security system accordingly.

Regulations and Permits

The primary downside to converting your garage into a living space is that it may require additional permits. Look up permitting requirements for your state, county, and city and factor in costs to meet additional regulations. 

Many municipalities require garage walls to be flame retardant and they may need insulation. Running electrical wiring through your metal building will also likely require additional permitting. 

Many of these requirements don’t apply to carports, so they can be less of a headache to install.


Both garages and carports vary in cost based on size and customizations. If you plan to install insulation, drywall, electricity, or plumbing, be aware that your overall price may rise exponentially.  

RELATED CONTENT: 5 Affordable Ways to Customize Metal Garages

Bear in mind that virtually all municipalities require a concrete slab foundation for both garages and carports. However, after accounting for all these variables, carports are almost universally less expensive than equivalently sized garages.

Final Thoughts

Whether you opt for a metal garage or a metal carport, you simply can’t go wrong with reliable reinforced steel. The decision ultimately comes down to your specific needs. Take time to consider any future possibilities for your metal structure. When in doubt, plan to give yourself more space to expand.

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