Cost of Carport vs Garage: Which Option is More Affordable?

If you’re considering adding a shelter for your vehicle, you may be wondering whether a carport or a garage is the better option. Both have their pros and cons, and the cost is a major factor to consider when making your decision.

On average, carports are less expensive than garages. A single carport can cost between $3,000 and $10,000, while a prefabricated garage package can average $10,000 to $15,000. However, the cost of a garage can rise to $50,000 or even $100,000 once options are added for finishing or enhancing the garage space. There are also different factors that can affect the cost of building a carport or a garage, such as the materials used, size, location, and complexity of the project.

Table of Contents

Cost Comparison

If you are considering adding a carport or garage to your property, one of the most important factors to consider is cost. Here, we will compare the costs of building a carport versus a garage, including the costs of materials and labor.


The cost of materials is one of the biggest factors that will affect the overall cost of your carport or garage. Generally, carports are less expensive than garages because they require fewer materials. A carport is essentially a roof supported by a frame, whereas a garage is a complete structure with walls, a roof, and a foundation.

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The materials you choose for your carport or garage will also affect the cost. For example, a carport made of steel or aluminum will be less expensive than one made of wood. Similarly, a garage made of concrete blocks will be less expensive than one made of brick or stone.


The cost of labor is another important factor to consider when comparing the cost of a carport versus a garage. Generally, the labor costs for a carport will be less than those for a garage because a carport requires less construction and fewer materials.

The cost of labor will also depend on the complexity of the project. For example, if you are building a custom-designed carport or garage, the labor costs will be higher than if you are using a pre-fabricated kit. Additionally, if you are adding electrical or plumbing systems to your garage, the labor costs will be higher than if you are building a simple structure without these systems.


Overall, the cost of a carport is typically less than the cost of a garage. However, the final cost will depend on a variety of factors, including the materials used, the complexity of the project, and the cost of labor in your area. Consider your needs and budget carefully before making a decision about whether to build a carport or garage.

Style and Appearance

When it comes to carports and garages, there are a variety of styles and materials to choose from. The style you choose will depend on your personal preferences, the style of your home, and your budget.

Steel and Metal

Steel and metal carports and garages are popular options due to their durability, affordability, and low maintenance. They come in a variety of styles, from traditional to modern, and can be customized with different colors and finishes. Steel and metal structures are also resistant to fire, pests, and rot, making them a great long-term investment.

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Wood carports and garages are a classic option that can add warmth and charm to your home’s exterior. They come in a variety of styles, from rustic to elegant, and can be painted or stained to match your home’s color scheme. However, wood structures require more maintenance than steel or metal structures, as they are susceptible to rot, pests, and fire.


Fabric carports are a lightweight and affordable option that can provide shade and protection from the elements. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and can be easily installed and removed. However, fabric structures are not as durable as steel, metal, or wood structures, and may need to be replaced more frequently.


Polycarbonate carports and garages are a modern and sleek option that can add a contemporary look to your home’s exterior. They are made from a durable plastic material that is resistant to UV rays and weather damage. Polycarbonate structures come in a variety of colors and sizes, and can be customized with different finishes and designs.

Protection and Security

When it comes to protecting your vehicle, both carports and garages offer benefits. Here are some things to consider:

Weather Protection

A carport provides a roof to protect your car from the elements, such as rain, snow, and sun. However, it does not offer complete protection from wind, hail, or other extreme weather conditions. A garage, on the other hand, provides full protection from all weather conditions, making it a better option if you live in an area with harsh weather.

Vandalism and Security

A carport provides no protection from theft or vandalism, as it is an open structure. A garage, on the other hand, provides a secure, enclosed space for your vehicle. It also offers additional storage space and can be locked to prevent theft. If security is a concern for you, a garage is the better option.

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However, keep in mind that a garage is not completely immune to break-ins. It is important to install proper security measures, such as an alarm system, to ensure your vehicle and belongings are safe.

Overall, when it comes to protection and security, a garage is the better option. However, if you live in an area with mild weather and security is not a concern, a carport may be a more affordable option.

Permits and Building Codes

If you’re considering building a carport or garage, it’s important to be aware of the building codes and permits required in your area. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and even legal action. Here’s what you need to know:

Building Codes

Building codes are a set of regulations that dictate the minimum standards for construction, including materials, design, and safety. These codes are put in place to ensure that buildings are safe and structurally sound. The specific codes vary depending on your location, so it’s important to check with your local building department to find out what codes apply to your project.

Some common building codes that may apply to carports and garages include:

  • Minimum height and width requirements
  • Distance from property lines
  • Fire-resistant materials
  • Electrical and plumbing requirements


Before you start construction on your carport or garage, you’ll likely need to obtain a building permit from your local government. This process involves submitting plans and paying a fee to ensure that your project complies with local building codes and zoning regulations.

The cost of a building permit can vary depending on your location and the size of your project. Some areas may also require additional permits, such as electrical or plumbing permits, which can add to the overall cost.

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It’s important to note that not all areas require a permit for a carport. However, if you plan to enclose the carport and turn it into a garage, you will likely need a permit.

Overall, it’s important to do your research and make sure you comply with all building codes and permit requirements in your area. This will ensure that your carport or garage is safe, structurally sound, and legal.

Size and Installation


When it comes to size, both carports and garages vary significantly. A typical single-car garage can range from 12×20 feet to 14×22 feet, while a double-car garage can range from 20×20 feet to 24×24 feet. A double carport, on the other hand, usually measures around 18×20 feet.

When deciding on the size of your carport or garage, it’s essential to consider the size of your vehicles and any additional storage space you may require. A larger garage or carport will provide more space for storage, but it will also come with a higher price tag.


Installing a garage involves a lot more work than installing a carport. Garages require a foundation to be poured, which can be a significant expense. You’ll also need to have electrical wiring and plumbing installed, which can add to the cost. Depending on the size of the garage, it can take several weeks to complete the installation.

Carports, on the other hand, are much easier to install. They don’t require a foundation, and they can be assembled in a matter of hours. However, you will still need to prepare the site where the carport will be installed. This involves leveling the ground, removing any obstacles, and ensuring that the area is clear of debris.

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Overall, the installation process for a carport is much simpler and less expensive than that of a garage. However, if you require additional storage space or a workspace, a garage may be the better option.

Maintenance and Resale Value

When considering whether to build a carport or a garage, it is important to think about maintenance and resale value. Both structures require some level of maintenance, but the amount and cost of maintenance can vary significantly.


Carports are generally easier and less expensive to maintain than garages. Since carports are open structures, they are less likely to suffer from moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. Additionally, carports do not have doors or windows that need to be maintained or replaced. The main maintenance task for a carport is to keep it clean and free of debris, which can be done with a broom or a leaf blower.

Garages, on the other hand, require more maintenance than carports. The doors and windows need to be checked regularly for proper operation, and any damage or wear should be repaired promptly. Garages also require regular cleaning and inspection to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. Additionally, if the garage has an automatic door opener, it will need to be inspected and serviced periodically to ensure proper operation.

Resale Value

Both carports and garages can add value to your property, but garages generally have a higher resale value than carports. According to a report by Remodeling Magazine, adding a garage to your home can result in a return on investment of up to 80%. In contrast, a carport may add some value to your property, but it is unlikely to have as significant an impact on resale value as a garage.

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One reason for this is that garages provide additional living space that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as a workshop, home gym, or storage area. This added functionality can make a garage more attractive to potential buyers than a simple carport. Additionally, garages provide greater protection for vehicles and other belongings, which can be a selling point for buyers.

Ultimately, the decision to build a carport or a garage depends on your specific needs and budget. While carports are generally less expensive and easier to maintain, garages provide greater protection and versatility, and can add more value to your property. Consider your priorities and consult with a contractor to determine the best option for you.

Additional Features

If you’re planning to build a carport or garage, you may want to consider some additional features to make the space more useful and comfortable. Here are some options to consider:

Electrical Outlets and Solar Panels

Adding electrical outlets to your carport or garage can be a great way to power tools and other equipment. You can also use outlets to charge electric vehicles or run lighting. Solar panels are another option to consider if you want to reduce your energy bills and your environmental impact. They can be installed on the roof of your carport or garage to generate electricity for your home.

Finished Walls and Insulation

If you want to use your carport or garage as a workshop, gym, or other type of living space, you may want to consider finishing the walls and adding insulation. This can help regulate the temperature and make the space more comfortable. You can also add drywall, paint, and other finishes to make the space look more attractive.

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Insulation can also help protect your vehicles and equipment from extreme temperatures and moisture. It can also reduce noise from outside the carport or garage.

Final Thoughts

When deciding between a carport and a garage, there are a few key factors to consider. Cost is often a major consideration, with carports generally being less expensive than garages. However, garages offer more protection and security for your vehicles and other belongings.

If you live in an area with mild weather and low crime rates, a carport may be a good option for you. They provide basic protection from the elements and are often more cost-effective. However, if you live in an area with harsh weather or high crime rates, a garage may be a better investment in the long run.

Another factor to consider is the amount of space you have available. If you have a small yard or limited space, a carport may be a better option as it takes up less space than a garage. However, if you have ample space and want to maximize storage and protection, a garage may be the better choice.

Ultimately, the decision between a carport and a garage comes down to your individual needs and preferences. Consider factors such as cost, weather conditions, and available space when making your decision.


Hello! I'm Nikita, the creator of Abodenation, a blog dedicated to home improvement, troubleshooting, advice, and decor. With years of hands-on experience and a keen eye for detail, I love sharing my passion for creating functional, beautiful, and comfortable living spaces with others. Join me on my journey to transform houses into homes, one project at a time.

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