When you own a home, upgrades usually happen over time rather than all at once. And as much as you’d like to ignore it, there comes a time to figure out what to do about the garage. Even if your house doesn’t have a garage, there will come a time to choose between either adding one, opting for a carport or leaving it “for now” and letting the car stay outside. But it’s actually not as simple as yes or no; there are several factors to consider before making your garage-or-carport (or neither) choice.
Location, Location, Location
The cost of a carport will vary depending on the foundation and construction material you need to create it. Since permitting and other requirements differ from state to state, we’ll compare the laws between east coast and west coast.
In Miami, carports and garages are only considered slightly different when it comes to building permits and codes and the threat of hurricanes in South Florida has forced officials to place strict regulations on the construction of a carport. However, 3,000 miles away in California, there are very loose carport regulations that even allow decorative structures that are not affixed to the ground. Between the two coasts, other weather factors like snow, tornadoes and rain dictate the permitting and structural requirements.
Cost vs. Everything Else
For most of us, the decision to take on a large home remodeling project rests on price. Adding a garage to an average home can cost as much as $50k; however, in a cost vs value report by the construction industry researchers at Hanley Wood, it was found that spending $50k on a new garage would only increase the property’s value by $35k. On the other hand, a carport is less expensive to build and could increase property value by $700 to $10,000 depending on location and footers—but, for some, such a large gap in potential ROI may not be enough to start planning.
The cost to install of a carport can be offset by with a little DIY. You can lay the foundation yourself with a rented concrete mixer and cutter, which doesn’t require a lot of skill or manpower. You can also build a garage on your own, but you must have a higher skill level. Specifically for attached garages, roof joints (where the new structure meets the old) are a potential source of leaks for someone without the proper construction know-how.
Protection With Style
Garages offer both weather and theft protection for your car while a carport protects from some weather and offers little theft protection, which may be a significant factor depending on the type of car you own. For most, the additional vehicle protection doesn’t justify the hefty cost of building a garage. If all you really want is to protect your car from the destructive powers of the sun, rain and snow, there are some beautiful, modern carport structures that will do just that and add to the aesthetics of your home. You can even get a carport with a solar panel on it to lower your energy costs and carbon footprint.
The Clutter Factor
If your goal is simply to have a somewhat protected spot to park your car, building a garage could mean too much space for clutter. In 2010, the United States Department of Energy reported that 25 percent of adults with a two-car garage have so much clutter that there’s no room for the car. These people ultimately need a carport because a garage clearly leaves too much room for “storage.” The purpose of the addition, whether carport or garage, will dictate what you add to your home.
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