How to Build a carport

Posted by Hugh Frame on

How to build a carport gives good guidance on the subject. We strongly suggest that a fully certified carport kit be purchased rather than trying to do it yourself from scratch. Always follow the suppliers’ instructions if the differ slightly from the instruction given below.

Most Australians live in cities or towns, I know how important it is to protect your vehicle from the elements and thieves so it might help if you know how to build a carport. It's also good for resale value: when you come to sell or trade in your car, a carport will make it look like you take care of it even when you are sometimes “careless”! So I built my own in two homes I owned! Here's how:

Plan your carport, best with a carport kit

To start, you'll need to determine the size of your carport. How many cars do you have? Are they small or large? Do they have trailers attached to them? If so, how big are those trailers? You'll also want to plan where on your property the carport will go and how it will be oriented. Is there enough space between trees or other structures (like houses) for this structure to fit in

How to build a carport - carport frame being erected

comfortably without being too close or too far away from anything else nearby. Your carport will need certification to ensure it is up to the Australian Standards in your area. Do you have an architect or designer to do your plans, or you must have engineering certification for your council which can be quite expensive. Once these questions are answered, move onto material selection!

Finally, consider cost--how much money do you want/need spend on building this thing? Generally it is much easier and less expensive to buy a carport kit complete with plans and certification.

Get the right materials for your DIY Carport

When you're building a carport, you need to make sure that you have the right materials. There are diverse types of materials that can be used for this project, so it's important to consider which one will work best for your situation:

  • Wood- This was once one of the most common choices because it's easy to find and most DIY’s are comfortable working with wood. It is now quite expensive and needs maintenance over the years. Wood is strong enough for most projects like this one!
  • Steel Carport - If you want something stronger than wood but less expensive than aluminium or steel may be just right for your needs. Steel is great because it doesn't rust easily and is exceptionally limited maintenance.
  • Aluminium- This material offers strength while being light enough so that it isn't too heavy to manage. In many areas, however, it needs to be a thick aluminium with the strength to stand up to Australian weather conditions. It would not be recommended for cyclonic areas.

Lay the concrete slab - How to Build a carport

A concrete slab is desirable as a base for most carports. A carport legs should be cemented into the ground at least 600mm but in wind regions A and B you can build your carport ‘on-slab’ using brackets or base plates. It is possible to install the posts in each corner and have an area for the car that is not concreted. The use of pebbles for the floor can turn out quite well but a solid concrete slab is more desirable.

Concreting is a heavy and skilled job, and it is often best to get professional concreters in to do this job. The base can be as expensive as the carport kit you decide to use. Always remember to leave the pole positions un-concreted unless you are using base plates. You don’t want to be digging up newly laid concrete to fit your poles.

Check your plans and your bill of materials.

The first step is to check over your plans and understand the steps you will take and in which order. You will also be able to check that you have all the tools you need. This is the time to check your bill of materials to ensure there is nothing missing. In most carport kits you will find everything you need, including some silicone sealant, in the carport kit.

Install the Posts and the frame.

Once you have your materials, it's time to build the frame. Place the main beams on the ground in roughly the position they will sit on top of the legs. You now know which side each will go. Remember, if there is any cutting to do, measure twice, check, and cut once!

Dig your footings after measuring out very carefully. Check that the width and depth of the holes are correct according to your certified plans. If your posts need any cutting, now is the time to measure and cut. Remember that 2 posts will be shorter to allow the necessary fall on the roof for water run-off. You will usually have connectors to fit at the top of the posts to hold the beams. This is the time to add them to the posts.

Now the posts can be placed in the holes. Some form work or bracing is a good idea to hold them in place. You can now proceed with the outside beams which will also assist in holding the posts straight. (On larger or heavier structures, the posts can be concreted in before adding the beams). ALWAYS check with your level at all stages to ensure everything is square and the fall is correct.

You can now mix your concrete and pour into the holes ensuring again that the posts are plumb in all directions. Leave the concrete slightly raised ensuring that any water can run away from the post bases.

Sit Down and have a Coffee or a beer! How to Build a carport

Leave the concrete to set overnight before doing anything else. Have a break, check your work with a level again and relax until the next day.

Complete the Carport Roof Structure and build the carport roof.

You will probably have purlins and maybe a couple of other items to fit on your roof frame before installing the sheeting. This is the first job to do on your second day. You can now start on the roof sheeting once all purlins are installed.

Roofs are made from waterproof material that can withstand rain, hail, snow and wind. In Australia Colorbond roof sheeting is the most popular. Less expensive imported sheeting which looks like Colorbond is also in common use. While the imported steel sheeting is thinner than Colorbond, it usually comes with a 10- or 15-year warranty. Colorbond has up to 35 years warranty.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install your sheeting. First lay out your sheeting level on the head beam on the roof to check the lengths. Colorbond has detailed instructions on how to fix including the lapping necessary to ensure a water-tight roof. Follow these instructions! You should always have your first sheet of roofing at the end of the prevailing wind at your location and work forward from that sheet. Fix each sheet in place as you move along your structure. Do not overtighten screws as this can crush the ribs and spread the sheet wider.

Fix the Gutter.

 The gutter is fitted along the low side of your carport. Measure and cut the gutter to the correct length if necessary. You can then silicone the end pieces to the gutter to ensure a good waterproof finish. It is often necessary at this point to measure exactly where your downpipe will be and drill a hole in the guttering to fit the downpipe. You can now lift the gutter and fix to the head beam with the appropriate fasteners making sure that you have an appropriate fall to allow the rainwater to run.

Your gutter is up so fix a suitable nozzle to the gutter hole with silicone, (and usually rivets), and then fix your downpipe. Now complete the gutter installation by fitting gutter straps at the suggested intervals.

Final additions - How to Build a carport.

Your carport is almost complete, just a few more things to ‘tidy up.’ You will need to add some ‘flashings’ or side capping’s just below the roof sheets and once this is completed, fix the barge capping’s to the top profile of the roof sheeting on the three sides (not guttering) making sure it

How to build a carport - A Cantaport

sits flush.

A Cantaport, as illustrated, is a simple DIY construction.

Adding walls or doors to a carport 

A carport kit is designed and certified to hold its own weight. When doors or walls are added, that will nullify your certification. Almost all carport kits made in Australia are barely capable of supporting their own weight as defined in the Australian Standards. An exception to this is Professional Choice Carports. You will see in any quote that Professional Choice are usually around 40% heavier than most carport kits. A Professional Choice Carport designed for solar panels is even stronger. Doors can be added but it is best to inform us at the design stage that doors are needed and the additional strength necessary can be added. It is not advised to add walls to a carport. Under the Australian Standards you need to purchase a shed structure with open ends.  

Summary - How to Build a carport.

A carport is a fantastic way to protect your car from the elements and offer more security. It's also an easy project that most people can do, even if they don't have much experience with carpentry, metal work or construction work. If you follow these suggestions and use good materials, your carport will be built to the necessary Standards and last for years!

Finally, for ease of installation, you can buy a portable carport. This will not add value to your home and they are expensive but they can be installed by almost anyone.

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