Carports are a very common type of vehicle shelter in warmer climates, but less so in colder areas. Although carports can be built inexpensively since they don’t have walls, they are not as secure as garages which can be locked up and used for storage of bicycles, sporting equipment, lawn equipment, or other household goods. You may be wondering if your carport can be converted to a fully-featured garage. Here are some tips. You could also consider an enclosed carport as an alternative to a full conversion.
A garage can be converted from a carport into a garage for a fraction of the cost. This is provided that the slab, support posts and roof of the carport are in good condition. For the labor cost of a carpenter finishing off walls and installing doors, you can expect to spend anywhere from $12,000 to $16,000. These costs include framing lumber, siding, windows, doors, electrical upgrades and permits. The total cost for professional installation can range from $25,000 to $60,000 Although a skilled DIYer can cut costs by half, it is better to hire a professional to install your garage door.
If the conditions are right, a carport could be converted into an enclosed garage. However, there are many things to think about before you ask for bids or start to tackle this project.
Structur of content
You can check the local building codes and HOA regulations.
You will need to find out if your project is permitted and how to apply for a permit. Garages may be covered by your local building code (HOA), or the neighborhood homeowner’s association. A garage attached to your house will need a fire-rated entrance door and a wall that is fire-rated on the house side.
Assess the current carport structure
If the carport has a tiled or shingled roof, and the supports that hold it in place are strong and in good condition, then there’s a reason to believe the structure can be framed with doors and walls and made into a garage. If the support posts are too small or damaged, it might not be possible for the carport to be converted. Your chances of a successful conversion are greater if the carport is in good condition and its structure is strong.
Take the Slab and Measure It
A garage should have a minimum depth of 20 feet and a width of 10 ft for one car and 18.5 ft for two. These dimensions can be increased by 2 to 4 feet for a more comfortable garage. Garages larger than these are becoming more common. You may also want to extend the slab to make a larger footprint, as long as there is sufficient roof overhang.
Check the Height
Is there enough space for a horizontal head above the garage door opening to accommodate a horizontal header? To enclose a carport and create a garage, you’ll need a strong beam or header across the drive-through. For a standard garage door, you will need a rough opening of 8.1 feet with a header that is double-thick (2×8 or 2) across the opening. You will need to make sure your existing carport is tall enough to accommodate this. Otherwise, you’ll be paying much more for a new roof.
Take into account the Carport’s Roofline
Carports can be built with either a shed or gable roof. Imagine the space converted with an existing roof. While a shed roof might be a good choice for an open-sided carport or garage, it can make a very unattractive roof for an enclosed carport.
Verify the Roof’s Condition
You should have a structural engineer, home inspector or contractor inspect the roof if you intend to keep it. You might consider removing the roof entirely and starting your garage project from scratch if it is in bad condition. However, you may be able save money by reusing a slab. You may be able simply to re-shingle your roof if it is in good condition.
Verify the condition of the slab
Is your concrete slab underneath your carport sound? Is the footing adequate in width and depth? Although the slab surface might seem perfect, it may not meet current code requirements to support framed walls that rest on top. You may need to address this issue once you have applied for a new building permit. An engineer or concrete contractor might be able inspect your slab to determine what type of foundation it has and whether it is capable of supporting the weight of garage walls.
Get Mechanical Service
It is important to plan ahead how the electrical service will be delivered. Any garage needs some form of electrical service. If you intend to use the space for any other purpose than a workshop, this may require running several new circuits, or installing an electrical subpanel. Before you begin your conversion, consult a plumber if plumbing is needed for laundry and other purposes.
If you find the answers to these eight questions tend to be positive, it is time to contact a builder for information about the costs of a carport conversion. To ensure that the conversion is the best, it’s a good idea get bids on the complete demolition of the carport as well as the construction of a new garage.