Beginner's Guide to Portable Garages and Carports
When you're looking for affordable and portable shelters for your vehicles, the number of choices can be surprising. Who knew there were so many different types of carports and portable garages? So if you're having trouble determining which one is right for you, this guide will point you in the right direction.
How Big Is Big Enough?
How do you determine what size shelter you need? Thankfully, this is not a complicated question to answer. There are a few things to consider to discover your solution: the number of vehicles, their dimensions, and picking the right spot for the enclosure.
Since each vehicle needs its own space to be parked, you'll need to determine how many you want a portable garage or carport to hold. Many use these to shelter more than cars. Some are used for motorcycles, boats, RV's, or four-wheelers.
No matter what you're going to park under your shelter, each one needs its own spot. How much space does each take up? Every vehicle is different so you will need to account for what kind of vehicles will be using the enclosure. Measuring the length and width of each one will give you a good starting point. Be sure to consider for room around the vehicle as well — you do need room to get in and out of them!
However, you should also consider the room to maneuver each vehicle into its spot. A trailer with jet skis attached to a truck, for example, will be harder to park under an enclosure than just the vehicle alone.
Another considerable deliberation is picking the correct spot for your portable garage to make sure you have enough room to house all your vehicles. This way you can also assess any logistical problems with potential placements. After all, having a carport that is too big or too small won't do!
Construction and Assembly
Two important things to look at when selecting the correct portable garage is the materials its constructed from and assembly. Both of these can have very distinct impacts on which carport you choose.
A significant portion of the portable garage is the frame. Since portable garages and carports are designed with an emphasis on strength while still being light-weight, steel is the most common framing material. It is usually chosen over different metals due to its superior durability.
When you're looking at different brands and models, one thing to look for is the diameter of the steel used to construct the frame. Generally, the larger the diameter, the stronger and sturdier the structure will be.
Why wouldn't you choose the portable garage with the broadest diameter then, you might be wondering. With the increased diameter and strength, cost and weight also increase. So it will be essential to decide if the increased weight and cost are worth the additional strength.
Another part of portable garages you should consider is the cover. Without that, you won't have much coverage for your carport, after all. The preferred material for the cover of many carports is polyethylene. Polyester is another choice but less popular due to its less efficient filtering of UV rays and retaining less strength over time. However, polyethylene is also the more expensive of the two fabrics, so that's something else to consider if you're on a tighter budget.
Now comes the question of assembly. Should you assemble it yourself or hire an installer? Well, that will depend on how much effort you want to put into the shelter. Portable garages are designed to be easy to install, usually coming in ready to use kits. Just some time, tools, and a friend to help and this is a DIY project!
If you're not so handy, hiring an installer might be the better option for you. However, this will also increase the overall price of getting your portable garage or carport.
One last thing to consider about assembly is permits. While carports don't usually require building permits, you should double check with your local code office to see if this is the case. Neighborhoods with an active homeowner's association may also have specific guidelines as to what is acceptable. Do this before you purchase your portable garage to avoid a headache later!
Once you've considered these factors, you'll be ready to proceed to the next step.
Specialty Shelters and Other Carport Uses
If you're looking for a different type or different use of your portable carport, you may want to consider something a little different than a standard carport.
Two favorite specialty shelters for vehicles include pockets and enclosures. These specialty shelters are designed for specific vehicles. Pockets, as the name might suggest, function similarly to a protective bag for your vehicle. Usually waterproof, they can be completely sealed to prevent contact with dirt, insects, and corrosives. Enclosures are more like protective shells for motorcycles, ideal for seasonal or traveling storage.
These portable garages and carports don't have to only be used to house your vehicles. Some are ideal for sheltering livestock or provide a perfect party cover. Don't think you can't use these shelters for other purposes — just consider that when selecting the right one for you!
Prevent spending time and money later by considering all your needs now. Finding the perfect garage or carport has never been easier now that you know!
Accessorize Your Carport
So now you should know what kind of portable carport or garage you want. But what else? Does it come with accessories? Does it need accessories to fit your purpose? These are all additional things to consider.
A few basic additional items are very popular. They are various anchoring kits, sidewalls, and enclosure kits. If you want to learn about them, here is a little bit of necessary information about each.
Since portable garages and carports don't have a traditional foundation, anchoring kits are an important accessory. You don't want them to blow away, after all! Many shelters do come with anchoring kits, but they don't always work the planned installation. If that's the case, you can consult the owner's manual to see what other options work for your shelter and will be compatible with your plans.
The most common type of anchor that comes with many portable garages and carports are called auger-style anchors. Their corkscrew design makes them perfect for grass, clay, asphalt, and unpacked soil. Easy to use and even easier to reuse again, it's no wonder they're so popular!
Sidewalls and enclosure kits are ways to add even more weather protection to your carport or portable garage. Allowing you to turn them into fully enclosed space, many find these kits incredibly helpful. These packages can vary, some featuring three walls and a door while others may have two walls and two doors, so look around to see what is available and what will fit your needs best. Some even have mesh available!
Just make sure the carport you've selected doesn't already come with an enclosure kit or sidewalls before purchasing more!
Choose With Confidence
Now that you've read this guide, you should have a good idea of everything to consider before selecting your garage. Deciding doesn't have to be a hassle anymore and you'll be able to choose with confidence!