A metal carport staged outside.

How Much Does a Carport Cost?

On average, carports can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000, considering the carport’s size and what materials are used to construct it. Other contributors to the price of a carport include permit prices, customizations, labor rates, and even location.

Carports are available in different shapes and sizes to match parking space needs, and come with paint color options to match or complement the color of your home. Naturally, the price may fluctuate depending on how much is customized.

Carports protect your vehicle but can also add value to your property. Of course, the value a carport will add to your home will depend on how much you pay for it. It will be essential to weigh all the expenses that go into a carport to understand if it is worth investing in.

Geographic Location

Some carports are made in one place and shipped to another. The cost of shipping depends on how far the carport has to be sent. The further away your carport supplier is, the more expensive it will be to ship.

Similarly, your location will play a factor if you are building your carport. For example, if you live close to a supplier for the materials needed to make your carport, shipping and delivery fees may be low. However, if the materials need to be shipped or delivered from out-of-state, it can quickly lead to higher price tags.

Another location-based expense you may need to pay is building costs, which must comply with your local laws and regulations.

Permits

Building permits are often required to acquire permission from local authorities to build an extension or alteration onto a property. Permits may also be required if the property is near a body of water or wetlands. Contact your city’s department of buildings for specific requirements when making plans for a carport.

There are several more considerations for building requirements that may affect the cost of your carport:

  • Your local building department or inspector may need to approve your plans.
  • Local governments may change construction cost estimates for carports, especially if they determine that it needs additional permits or approvals before being built. 
  • You may need to hire an architect, structural engineer, excavator, or contractor to help plan and design your carport.

If these authorities must approve the location of your property and carport, you will likely need to pay additional costs.

Level of Customization

Prefabricated carports are affordable, durable, and require less construction time than custom-made carports. Prefab carports are purchased from a company and sent to you as a kit to assemble for yourself. This cuts down on labor fees and construction time. 

What if there’s an architectural feature or item you need, like maybe you have a unique ceiling height? If it isn’t offered with pre-designed plans, you can hire a professional to design a custom steel structure for your needs at an additional cost — or plan the carport out by yourself. The benefit here would be that the final product will be uniquely yours, but the significant drawback will be that it will likely cost more.

Size

To accommodate more cars or larger vehicles, you may need a larger carport. Naturally, a bigger carport will cost more in materials and labor with the additional square footage. It is important to determine your present and future needs to pick out the right size frame for your needs.

For instance, you may currently have a sedan but are getting a truck soon, which will also require parking space. You’re better off picking something bigger now rather than having to tear down your smaller carport and install a new one — costing you time and money.

Material

There are various materials used to build carports that fluctuate in cost, durability, and sustainability. Commonly used materials for carports include aluminum, polycarbonate, wood, and steel. Depending on the region where you live, your climate, and how well you want your carport to do against the weather, different materials would be best suited for what you need.

Metal-framed carports with polycarbonate covers are the most commonly used design because they offer protection from rain or sun and provide visibility from inside and outside of the vehicle so drivers can see out clearly when trying to enter into their garage. Much of the price of your carport will hinge on the cost of materials from your supplier and the square footage of the materials needed.

Type

What may determine the material you build your carport out of is the type of carport you need for your house. It is crucial to consider the climate where you live because different weather will require a kind of carport that can withstand it best.

For example, if you live in a stormy area, you may want to invest in a freestanding carport rather than an attached one, so the water does not build up under the roof and leak through your house. If, on the other hand, you live in a dry area but experience extreme winds from time to time, building an enclosed structure with concrete pads beneath its foundation would be ideal for keeping your home secure from strong gusts of wind.

  • Portable Carports: Portable structures typically do not have solid foundations; instead, they are built on gravel or asphalt surfaces with four posts fixed holes in the ground. These structures are meant to be temporary and last for a few years before they have to be moved or rebuilt.
  • Freestanding Carports: Freestanding carports still have no solid foundation, but they are often built on concrete pads for greater stability. These structures are built with post and beam supports that can be adjusted to fit various vehicles.
  • Attached Carports: Also known as a lean-to, are attached directly onto houses and garages and have a permanent foundation. They typically require building permits to be built as part of a home’s roofing structure. These will always require extra structural support from underneath to provide enough space for cars to open their doors comfortably without hitting the ceiling or walls. Attached carports tend to be stronger in bad weather, such as storms, because they are connected directly with your house.

Carport Location

It may be the case that you only have space to build your carport on the windiest or rainiest side of your property. You may also only have room to build an attached carport instead of a cheaper freestanding one. Whatever the case, the location of your carport will help determine what materials you need, size, and type — which will subsequently factor into the cost.

Labor Costs

Like many building projects, you’ll have to debate if you want to hire a professional to build your carport or build it yourself. Either way, you will still have to pay for materials, but you can save on labor costs if you make your carport a DIY project.

You should only build structures if you are qualified and experienced. Otherwise, you may end up ruining your materials, wasting your time, and end up having to pay even more to scrap your DIY carport and hire a professional to do it. If you are not experienced and still decide to build your carport, it may easily blow over in a windstorm. In these instances, it is more cost-effective to hire a professional. Labor costs will depend entirely on the professional you hire to build your carport.

Additional Costs

To make your carport more fortified and functional, you may want to purchase some extra equipment. While these won’t be the largest expense in your overall carport costs, they still will add up. Additional attachments could include:

  • Boxes and shelving for storage.
  • Lighting to access your belongings in the dark.
  • Gutters to reroute the rain and relieve stress on your roof.
  • Anchoring so your carport won’t blow over.

Maintenance and Improvements

Just as with any structure, you will need to maintain your carport, and you may even want to make some improvements in the future. Some common maintenance tasks for people who own carports include painting, cleaning, and replacing parts. While there is no exact cost for the upkeep, you will need to account for these expenses.

You will also have to consider adding any upgrades or improvements that you want to take down the road. If you’re interested in selling your carport at some point, keep this in mind, so the carport is in good enough condition to sell.