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March 10, 2022Now Trending

If you aren’t lucky enough to have ample garage parking spaces, you aren’t alone. What many older homes have in character, they often lack garage space. Or, maybe you have garage space for vehicles, but not enough room for lawn equipment or recreational “toys” (e.g., boat, RV, snowmobiles, etc.). If you’ve ever researched the cost of adding a garage, you know that it’s not a small investment. In fact, you can expect to spend at least $20,000 for a basic two-car garage. Fortunately, a frame tent carport can serve essentially the same purpose at just a fraction of the cost.

Types of Carports

Carports come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main difference between a carport and a garage is the walls. Generally speaking, garages have four exterior walls while carports are freestanding, detached open structures, although they can be attached to a wall. Keep reading to learn more about the differences and benefits of an enclosed carport vs a garage.

Fabric and Vinyl Carports

An open-sided car tent can be constructed of either fabric or vinyl. Although most would describe a carport as a garage without walls, your open-sided tent can be enclosed with sidewalls. Tent sidewalls are the next best thing to walls and can provide nearly equivalent shelter at a much lower cost.

Full-Metal Carports

Another option for a portable car shade canopy is metal. A well-constructed full-metal carport is worth the investment when you consider the wear and tear that weather can take on your vehicles, boats, yard, and farm equipment. The structure can be freestanding or attached to your garage and come in a wide variety of sizes. 

Open Sided Carports

Obviously, an open-sided carport needs a carport car cover for protection against the elements. But it can also add convenience to your life. For example, if you have a small garage with limited space, an open-sided carport makes it much easier to get in and out of your vehicle, especially if you’re unloading groceries or other supplies.

Open Sided Carports

Attached Carports

If space allows, an attached carport is the closest thing to an actually attached garage. If you already have an attached garage, an attached carport is an economical way to add storage or parking for additional vehicles. You can also add lattice or other sidewall materials to help it feel more like a permanent structure. 

Benefits of Having a Portable Carport vs Garage

More Versatile Appearance

When making garage and carport comparisons, one major difference is versatility. With a garage, your options are fairly limited in terms of appearance. Carports, however, have nearly endless design possibilities. Because of their versatility, you can get creative and think outside the box with carports. For example, you aren’t limited to any one building material. Think about ways you can incorporate stone, wood, aluminum, or even brick. When thinking about carport design ideas, consider the style of your house. If your home is a traditional craftsman, colonial or farmhouse style, you probably don’t want an ultra-modern or industrial style carport. Conversely, if you live in a contemporary home with clean lines, you probably want to stay away from rustic-looking materials and accents. 

Carports Are Easier to Install

American Tent knows a huge advantage of carports versus garages is time and ease of installation. Carports are relatively structures and are basically made of a frame and a roof. Time-consuming architectural features such as windows, entrances, and a garage door aren’t an issue with carports. You simply need a concrete slab to get started. A carport can be built in just a few hours or a few days, depending on size, complexity, and whether it's a DIY job or you have expert contractors. The time to install also depends on whether you are using a kit or designing a custom structure, which may take more time to install. 

Carports Are More Cost-Efficient

Probably the greatest benefits can be seen when you compare carport to garage cost. Garages cost considerations include:

  • More expensive finishing materials, including shingles, siding, and trim
  • Must match the existing home structure
  • Potential zoning restrictions
  • Increased labor costs

Considering that you can buy a carport kit for as little as a few hundred dollars, the difference in price between garages and carports can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars. If you are a DIY enthusiast you can potentially save on labor costs and do the job yourself. If you do need to hire professionals, time is money and carports take a fraction of the time to construct compared to a permanent garage structure.

carport vs garage

A Carport Doesn’t Require a Permit

One of the major considerations for any construction project is permits. For a permanent garage addition, you’ll most likely need to apply for a building permit.

Your new construction may also be subject to a building inspection. That means everything will need to be up to code to get approval. Code compliance will likely include:

  • Flame retardant materials
  • Sufficient insulation
  • Correct electrical wiring
  • Proper plumbing and drainage
  • Adequate foundation

However, most, if not all of these requirements don’t apply to a canopy carport. That also means you won’t have to hassle with permits and can construct your carport at any time.


It stands to reason that since it’s fairly easy to put up a carport, it’s also not too difficult to deconstruct and relocate it. That means if you move, you can take it with you. Or if you want to move it to a different location and repurpose it for special events like birthday or holiday parties, it’s not an issue. 


Clearly, a carport offers many advantages compared to building a new permanent garage structure. That said, building a new garage does have a few advantages, the primary one being that it can increase the resale value of your home. Of course, you’ll have to look at upfront costs and compare those to what you’ll recoup at resale. Carports, on the other hand, require minimal investment and can move with you if you choose to relocate. If neither a carport nor a garage is within scope for your storage needs, we can help! American Tent has a broad selection of American-made tents for sale that can provide affordable, attractive protection. Contact us today and let us know how we can help! 

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If you enjoyed today’s entry, be sure to bookmark our blog page and check back frequently for the latest updates.

We regularly post helpful resources that can help you plan great events and learn more about our event tents.

Our friendly customer service team is always happy to answer any questions you have about pole tents, frame tents, and sidewalls, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need more information!

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