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What to look for in a Carport or Garage

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What to look for in a Carport or Garage

By Justine Northcott

Need a new home for your car? Your choices range from budget to 4-star, but like any renovation project you’ll need to consider how much money you have to spend and what use you want from your garage or carport.

Carports are a cheap alternative to garages and can double as a covered entertainment area, but they don’t have the security or storage advantages of a garage.

Whether you decide on a carport or garage, here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Council approval

You will need council approval to build a new garage or carport, which means submitting plans (at a fee) to council before you start building. There are usually strict building regulations that must be followed, such as the height of the structure or how near you can build to the neighbouring boundary, so be sure to get this information off council before planning your project.

Size

Depending on how much space you have available, you can choose between single, double or even triple carports and garages. Make sure there is ample space for opening car doors and unloading groceries or bulky items.

If it is a garage, you need to consider what other uses you might want it for. Do you want it to double as a workshop or games area? Will you use it as a home gym or even a home office? Can it be used as a storage area?

Design

Designing your carport or garage to match the design of your home will add value to your property. Architectural details like a similar roof pitch, key elements such as gables, and details such as decorative columns, will help a carport or garage match your house.

When thinking about design, you need to consider whether you want a free-standing or attached structure. If attached to your house, even more reason to ensure its design compliments your home.

If you can’t extend your budget to a custom-built design, there are many kit garages and carports that can be bought at a cheaper cost and installed by a licensed builder or home handyman.

Base your garage design on what you want to use the space for. If you are going to be spending time in the garage, you may want to insulate the walls, install power and communication cables, and ensure there is plenty of natural light by including windows or even skylights.

Materials

You usually have a choice between steel, timber, polycarbonate and fibre glass sheeting, with timber the cheaper but less durable option.

Polycarbonate roofing is a popular choice as it is inexpensive and comes in a range of decorative colours, allowing for light penetration without the heat and UV rays (which is especially useful if you plan to use your carport for entertaining).

Drainage

Don’t forget that you need to ensure your garage and carport has a drainage system to collect rainwater, with the gutters and downpipe linked to the house or stormwater outlet

Flooring

Concrete is usually the material of choice for garage and carport floors, but you still need to choose what type of finish you want, from an anti-slip to a patterned design. If you are using your carport as an entertainment area, you may want to consider the concrete effect ‘stencilcrete’ (stencil concrete) that adds colour, pattern and texture to a plain concrete slab.

Doors

When it comes to the garage, doors are one of the most important investments because they are so susceptible to wear and damage.

Steel and wood are the most popular choices for garage door material, with steel the stronger and more secure alternative. Wood is preferred for its appearance and affordability, but as wood expands and contracts, it can warp or crack as it weathers (be sure to have all exposed timber treated or painted).

Regardless of what material you use, you will need to maintain and service your garage door regularly to ensure a long working life. Also ensure that rainwater does not have the opportunity to build up and drip around the door as moisture is the most common culprit in many a warped or rusted door.

The type of material you choose will also have a bearing on your door opening choices. Roller doors can only be made out of steel, whereas sectional or tilt doors can be made from a range of materials including timber or fiberglass. Tilt ups are the cheaper option but are not as easy to operate and cannot be opened if the car is parked directly in front of it.

Security

If you’ve chosen a garage over a carport, chances are that security is an important consideration. There are a huge range of security options, ranging from simple keylocks, padbolts and deadlocks to automatic openers and wireless keyring remote controls.

For the full bells and whistle security systems, look for those with an infra-red beam that allow the garage door and light to operate automatically as you approach or leave.

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