Portable Garages, Canopies, and Carports

A portable garage, garage canopy, or metal carport can be an inexpensive alternative to putting up a permanent structure to house your car, boat, or camper. Are these temporary shelters a good investment compared to building a garage or pole barn?

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Cost: A conventional two-car garage with a concrete floor costs a minimum of $10,000 to put up if you hire some or all of the labor. (If you have the expertise, you can build one for about $3,000 in materials, including having the concrete floor done professionally.) You can buy a one-car portable garage canopy starting at around $600, or a two-car model for about $1,000. One-car metal carports are priced at around $1,000.

Durability: A well-constructed garage or pole barn will last as long as your house if you maintain it properly. A portable garage is basically a tent made of polyurethane tarp material stretched over a plastic or metal frame, and will deteriorate within three to five years due to continued exposure to the sun and extremes of temperature. A metal carport is made from steel and can last as long as the steel roof on a pole barn with the right maintenance. Portable garages and carports are less secure in high winds than permanent structures because they aren’t anchored to a foundation, and because the wind can get under the canopy and lift them off their support structure.

Legal stuff: if you live in a city, village, or subdivision, then your local ordinances may prohibit you from placing non-permanent structures on your property. By the same token, though, many localities have restrictions on the size, appearance, and siting of garages, and pole barns are prohibited altogether in many areas.

Insurance: a garage or pole barn is insured as real property, just like your house, and will probably increase your homeowner premium slightly. A nonpermanent structure like a garage canopy or carport is considered personal property like your home furnishings and probably won’t be valuable enough to make your premium go up. Check with your insurance carrier before making any decisions.

Taxes: it’s no secret that your property assessment will go up significantly if you add any permanent outbuildings. Nonpermanent structures like portable garages and steel carports shouldn’t change your assessment, but it’s wise to ask your local assessing body (usually the township clerk) before proceeding.

Really big vehicles: if you have a big motor home or camper, the cost of building a permanent outbuilding with a 13-foot garage door can break the bank. Portable garages to accommodate large vehicles are readily available and can be had for a reasonable price.

Aesthetics: portable garages definitely aren’t high on the list of good-looking enhancements to your property, so you’re better off siting them where they either won’t be seen, or on property where nobody cares how they look. Metal carports are somewhat more attractive and can be purchased in colors that complement your house.

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One Response to “Portable Garages, Canopies, and Carports”

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  1. steelcarport says:

    My friend could not afford to have a separate garage for his car. So he went for steel carport with DIY kit.Now I am amazed at his carport.wonderfully erected.