Your garage is full of stuff: a workbench, bicycles, an artificial Christmas tree -- the list goes on and on. There's really no room for your cars, trucks or motorcycles. Or perhaps you've just bought a new car, and one of your cars has to sit outside. But you paid good money for those vehicles -- you don't want to let the elements destroy the paint job. And who wants to scrape ice-encrusted windshields first thing in the morning?
A carport offers a possible solution. Made of metal -- most often aluminum or steel -- carports protect vehicles from storms and sunlight. At the same time, because they're just a frame and a covering, they have an open feel. It's also more economical to build a carport than it is to build an addition on a garage. So whether you have a car, van, trailer or boat to protect, a carport may offer the perfect solution.
If you decide to install a carport, you'll be using a form created by Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous 20th-century architect. In 1936 Wright used carports in his Usonian homes, which were single-story homes lacking in storage space [source: Bagde].
Carports don't have to be dark. Suppose you work second shift or do a little night fishing -- you're probably concerned about being able to see when you come home at night. Not to worry; you can attach a light fixture to the carport so that you aren't stumbling in the darkness.
One word of caution: Be sure to check local zoning restrictions before purchasing or installing a carport. Most communities have rules about setback distances, and building permits may be required. Don't get caught in the misery of purchasing a carport only to discover that you are in violation of a local policy or building code.
Let's first take a look at metal carports as a possible solution to your storage or weather-protection problems.