Carports are inexpensive to build, but they aren’t nearly as useful as garages. If you would like to convert your carport into a fully enclosed and secure garage, here are some tips on what to look for and think about.
- Check your local building code and HOA regulations. Find out if the project is allowed and what you may need to do to get a permit. For example, an attached garage will likely need a fire-rated wall on the house side.
- Measure the slab. At a bare minimum, a garage should be 20-ft. deep, with a width of 10 ft. for one car and 18 ft., 6 in. for two cars. A more comfortable garage would add 2-4 ft. to each dimension.
- Check the height. Will there be room for a header above the garage door opening? A standard garage door requires a rough opening 8 ft., 1 in. high, with a 2x8 or 2x12 header spanning the opening.
- Carports are built with gable roofs and shed roofs. Try to imagine what the converted space will look like with the existing roof. A shed roof may look fine for your carport, but not particularly pleasing when it is enclosed.
- If you plan to keep the existing roof, have a contractor, home inspector, or structural engineer examine it. If the roof is in poor condition, you might want to remove it and start your garage project from scratch.
- Check the slab. Is it structurally sound? Is the footing wide and deep enough? Though the slab surface may seem fine, it may not necessarily meet current code requirements. Once you apply for a new building permit, you may be required to address that issue.
- Determine in advance how electrical service will be delivered. And if you want to add plumbing for laundry or other purposes, talk to a plumber about your options before proceeding.