You look at that big open space by your house and wish you had a garage there. But building a garage is expensive and complicated. Surveying the area, pulling permits, getting blueprints made – it’s a daunting process. So you put it off and wish it could somehow be easier. There are other possible choices available when it comes to housing your vehicles and providing storage or shop space. Let’s consider the other options.
While not offering the security and complete enclosure of a garage, a carport can be a cost effective alternative. You get shade, a certain amount of weather protection, a faster construction time, and lower cost. Depending on the regulations in your area, you may be able to erect a carport without having to secure a building permit. Carports fall under the same category as outbuildings, so a homeowner can often set up a carport under “permitted development” guidelines.
If the expense of a garage prevents you from building, putting up a temporary structure can offer a “better than nothing” solution until you can afford to build a permanent garage. These structures are designed to be quickly relocated as needed, and can be a good choice for an RV or watercraft that only lives in the driveway part of the year. They can be used as seasonal protection for motorcycles and ATVs, as an animal shelter, or a portable greenhouse.
A carport is also a better choice when your property lines and neighborhood visual sight lines are a challenge. Neighbors might not be excited about a full garage suddenly blocking their view. You might avoid a legal battle and keep relations friendly if you opt for a structure that can be seen through, rather than one that is a visual obstacle.
Less expensive than a fully constructed building, fabric or metal garages are completely enclosed and offer similar protection and security. They are considered semi-permanent, and can still be disassembled and moved from your driveway to your back yard as needed, though not as conveniently or quickly as a carport. They do not require a foundation or ground excavation, and completely conceal your property inside.
A fabric garage has a steel frame and a durable, waterproof, UV resistant cover. The cover is drawn tight across the frame with a ratchet system. A single car sized fabric garage starts at about $600.
Because a metal garage is heavier and more stable, they are better suited for extreme weather conditions. They are configurable to your needs, and can be ordered in sizes up to 100 feet. Their truss type roofing systems can withstand a 35 pound per square foot snow load, and the whole structure is rated to withstand winds up to 100 MPH. Expect a steel garage to start at $3000 for a single car size.
Remember, a carport or garage can be easily erected without permits or foundation work. But there are certain responsibilities you must address. Your site must be checked for the presence of underground gas lines, electrical cables, and water pipes. Even a temporary structure will require anchor points to be dug into the ground. Consult your local utility companies for this information. Once you’ve planned and prepared, a new cost effective structure can be yours for comparatively low cost and setup time.