Before building a carport, you need to know what you want and what you can afford. You need to consider the permanence of the structure and the protection you want it to provide. This article aims to give an overview of things to consider; elsewhere, we will go into these things in more depth.
1. Consider what are you storing
The first thing to consider is what you are trying to keep in your carport. Do you have motorbikes or an RV? Remember that you may get new vehicles of different sizes, and you want to be able to do so without making adjustments to your carport.
2. Determine the needed level of protection
If you live in an extremely windy area surrounded by trees, you probably want to opt for a sturdier option. There are very few places where snow is an issue in South Africa, but strong winds and heavy rains are concerns. Decide whether you just want shade cloth to keep it cooler and free of bird excrement or if you need a carport with enclosed sides.
3. Decide on the suitable materials and structure
The level of protection you are looking for influences the materials you will make it out of. If you are looking for a 5-year fix, you may be happy with a flat corrugated iron roof on wooden beams. However, if you want this to last 25 years and need minimal touch-ups, you may look into a slanted, tiled roof, a more robust frame, and a better overall design.
Be sure that the floor of your carport can hold a lot of weight and drains efficiently. The same goes for your roof; you do not want water or debris collecting on top of it.
4. Plan your budget
Of course, if you have a strict budget, you will be more limited in your design and materials options. A professionally built single-car carport will cost around R7 000. Alternatively, you can look at pre-cut DIY kits for about R5 000. The cheapest option is usually to build it yourself, but that is only if you are proficient with tools and experienced in building. If you have any doubts about putting one up, it will likely be cheaper to call in a professional - they make fewer costly mistakes.
5. Check the regulations in advance
Check your local regulations and get signed permission from your neighbours (if it blocks their view or could be considered an eyesore). Search your municipal website or enquire at the nearest building inspectorate for the rules around Minor Building Works (MBW).
6. Decide on the aesthetics and placement
Try to match the materials - flooring, roofing and overall structure - to your house and garden. Search Pinterest and the web for different designs (A-frame, arch, flat-topped, traditional etc.) and consider whether you want your carport to be freestanding or attached to your house/garage. The placement will affect pricing - depending on what materials you use.
7. Think about the security
Lastly are security concerns. If you are looking to be highly secure, then you may want to keep your carport around the back or put sides on it so that the inside cannot be seen from the road. Furthermore, keeping it well lit will aid both aesthetic and security.