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Carport vs Garage – which is right for you?

  • Published on 18/11/2022
  • Written by 123v

Carport vs Garage – which is right for you?  


Are you fed up of your car being battered by the elements?  

It’s a year-round problem: the ice and snow in winter, the falling leaves in autumn. Come summer, getting into a parked car can feel like stepping into a sauna.  

What you need is a little protection. Carports and garages shelter your car from the worst of the weather – but deciding between the two isn’t always straightforward.  

In fact, many customers aren’t totally clear on the difference between garages and carports.  

We’re here to help. Read on, as we break down exactly what a carport/garage is; the pros and cons of both; and some things you may want to think about before deciding which is best for you.  


What is the difference between a carport and a garage?  


The main difference between a garage and a carport relates to construction.  

A garage is a fully enclosed structure with walls, a roof and a door big enough for a car to fit through.  

Carports, meanwhile, do not have doors or walls. They are generally comprised of a freestanding roof, supported by poles or columns. Carports can be made from a range of materials – including metal, wood and uPVC.  

Both carports and garages can be attached to your home – i.e. share one or more walls with the existing building – or act as freestanding structures.  


Pros & Cons of Carports  


  • Cost: If you’re looking for extra protection for your car, but don’t want to break the bank, then a carport is likely to be the ideal solution for you. Carports are much cheaper to build and install than garages: the average UK carport costs around £3,000 depending on size, material and existing conditions. 
  • Construction: Carports are also much quicker and easier to build and install than garages – in many cases, the process can be completed within a single day. While traditional carports need to be laid on a flat concrete slab, you can avoid this requirement by choosing a Cantilever GRP Carport – which attaches directly to the external wall of your home, and does not require pillars or posts for support.  
  • Aesthetics: You might struggle to find a garage that matches your house’s style, especially if you live in a modern building. Garages aren’t generally inconspicuous – oftentimes they’re bulky, and a bit of an eyesore. Carports, on the other hand, blend much better with most houses’ aesthetic – since they are much more discrete, and can be easily constructed from a wide range of materials. 
  • Ventilation: Since carports do not have walls or doors, they allow your car to get plenty of natural ventilation. This is important: garages tend to get damp, and this additional moisture can damage your car – causing components to rust and rubber seals to wear down quicker.  
  • Better for small areas: If space is at a premium, you’ll no doubt want to opt for a carport over a garage. Since carports don’t have walls or doors – and in some cases don’t even require supporting beams – they are less imposing than garages, and much better suited to smaller spaces. A garage can feel like it swallows your outdoor area whole; a carport can be a slicker, subtler, more ergonomic solution. 
  • Extra Outdoor Space: Another added bonus of a carport is that it can double up as a covered outdoor space – much like a terrace or patio. That’s no small thing somewhere like the UK, where summer weather isn’t exactly reliable. A carport can transform the way you use your outdoor space: BBQs no longer have to be scuppered by bouts of rain; when the sun gets unbearable, you’ve got a proper shady space to retreat to. Not bad, eh?  



  • Not totally weatherproof: While a carport will certainly protect your vehicle from the worst of the weather, it is not a fully weatherproof solution. Since carports do not have walls, you may find that your car still gets hit by rain, snow or debris in windier conditions.  
  • Not fully lockable: If security is your primary concern, a garage may be a more suitable solution than a carport. Again, since carports do not have walls or doors, they cannot be locked – and so offer less of a deterrent to criminals than a lockable garage would.  
  • Limited value-add: A carport will not add value to your home in the same way a garage does. But, if you think you may be selling in the near future, a carport is far from a futile investment. It may not add considerable value to the price of your home, but it is still the sort of feature which can attract prospective buyers.  


Pros & Cons of Garages  


  • Versatility: Arguably the biggest benefit of garages is their versatility. Of course, they can be used to house cars, but they can also act as offices, gyms, games rooms and storage spaces. If you’re looking to expand your property’s square footage, while also providing a home for your automobiles, a garage can act as an excellent solution.  
  • Lockability: Garages are fully lockable – and if attached to your house, can often be accessed internally. As such, they provide a little more security than carports, making them more suitable as storage spaces.  
  • Fully weatherproof: As garages have walls, a roof and a closable door, they are fully weatherproof. So no matter how windy it gets, you can rest assured that your vehicles will be protected from the elements.  
  • Good value-add: If you’re looking to sell your house down the line, a garage could be a good value-adder. Research has suggested that a garage could add 5 per cent onto the value of your property, while also making it more attractive to potential buyers.  



  • Construction: Whereas a carport could be put up in a single day, building a garage is a much more protracted process. The build itself could take anywhere from two weeks to two months – and that doesn’t account for the time it takes to find a builder or draw up plans. If you want a home for your car in a hurry, a garage may not be the ideal solution.  
  • Expense: Another major difference between carports and garages is cost. On average, building a garage in the UK costs somewhere between £13,000 and £25,000 – though that figure could keep rising depending on size and materials. A garage is a major investment: before committing to a build, you should be sure it is worth the expense.  
  • Aesthetic: You may have also concerns that a garage could impact the overall aesthetic of your home. While in some cases they can easily blend with the existing property’s facade, it is often hard to find an appealing solution for modern properties. Equally, if you have limited space to work with, a garage may not be totally suitable.   


Permits and Regulations   

Another important consideration when deciding between a garage and a carport is planning permission.  

Both garages and carports have largely the same regulations:  

If a garage/carport takes up more than half of the land surrounding your property, or is greater in height than 4m, you will need to gain planning permission before you can think about building.  

(Carports also require planning permission if they include a balcony or raised platform) 

However, these restrictions are much more likely to apply to garages than carports. The bottom line is, if you’re installing a carport you’re unlikely to require planning permission; but if you’re building a garage, it is something you might have to think about.  


In Summary 

Clearly, the most salient differences between carports and garages relate to cost and construction.  

A garage will likely cost much more than a carport, and take longer to build too – though it will ultimately provide you with a more versatile space.  

Above all, before committing to a carport/garage, you should think long and hard about why you want to install it – and how you are going to use it  

If your primary aim is to protect your vehicles from the elements, then the time and money you’ll have to spend on a garage may not be totally worthwhile. A carport could well present a quicker and more cost-effective answer to your problems.  

If you want to find out more about carports or arrange a free quote, give us a call on 0800-783-3835.

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