Carport vs Car Park – What You Need To Know (Pros & Cons)

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Carport vs Car Park – Which to choose? If you are looking for a place to keep your car, and you don’t have a garage, there are basically two options: a carport vs a car park. Both carport and a car park have their own benefits and drawbacks, but which one is right for you? Should you go to the trouble and expense of buying or building a carport, or should you just keep your car in the open in a car park?

In this article, we will compare the two approaches to storing your car, look at the pros and cons of each, and give some advice on how to make your decision easier.

Carports, whilst cheaper than a garage, involve expense and planning. A car park, or your driveway, don’t have this cost. However, a carport gives a degree of weather protection and security and can be used for storage and other activities which require to be undercover.

What Is a Carport?

carport vs car park

A carport is a covered structure that provides some weather protection for your vehicle. Carports are typically attached to the house and look like an extension of the roofline, although detached versions can also be purchased and installed separately.

Carports come in many standard sizes: two-post designs with square footprints and four-post designs with rectangular footprints support around 20 feet of overhead space.

A carport, unlike most buildings, does not have four walls and is generally smaller than a garage. Carports provide less protection than garages but allow for greater ventilation.

Modern carports are usually made of metal or vinyl, but traditional carports are often made of wood.

Find out more – check our Buyers’ Guide to Heavy Duty Carports.

Carport Pros

1. Weather Protection

Carports protect your automobile from the weather, reducing wind, rain, frost, and snow damage. On chilly winter mornings, you’re less likely to have to spend time thawing your windshield, or clearing snow off your car.

2. Provides Some Security

Carports provide some additional protection from thieves and vandals, especially one that is attached to your home, compared to a car parked on the street, or in a distant car park.

3. Cheap to Build

Carports are typically cheap to build and easy to erect, or temporary versions can be bought as kits.

4. Easy to Set Up

Most carports can be set up in a day with just two people because they do not need to be as sturdy as a garage. Carports usually come with installation plans and instructions, making them easy for the DIYer to install without professional help.

5. Add Value To Your Home

Carports can add value to your home if you ever decide to sell, or at least make your house more attractive to a purchaser.

6. Fast Council Approval

Council approval is usually quick and easy. Carports can be built to conform with most council’s town planning regulations, especially if they are not attached to a house or any other structure on your property.

7. Solar Carports

Solar carports, or carports that have one solar panel or more on their roofs, are becoming a popular way of generating energy for both charging electric vehicles, and for powering the home. Solar carports can be either bought as kits or built from scratch.

A solar carport installation may, however, be less straightforward, and may require expert help.

8. Under-cover Activity Area

A carport can an provide under-cover activity or play area for the family. For example, you could set up a gym in a carport.

Carport Cons

1. Limited Security

Carports are not especially secure when compared to a garage, but more so than a car park. Your vehicle is on view for all to see, and there are no locked doors or windows that protect it from thieves.

2. Can Make Backyard Dark

An attached carport can make your backyard dark because the overhang of the roof blocks out the sunlight. This can create an undesirable atmosphere in your backyard and affect your outdoor living space.

3. Not Suitable in All Areas of the Country

Carports are not suitable in all areas. Some areas have more severe weather conditions, particularly wind, than others and may require a garage for protection, rather than a carport.

Having said that, some carports do have removable sidewalls & doors, making them into a poor man’s garage, but could be a viable option for those on a tight budget.

4. Maintenance is Necessary

A carport requires annual maintenance such as re-painting and fixing rusting metal on the roof and posts.

5. Unstable at High Winds

Carports tend to be unstable in severe weather areas such as those that have a strong wind, which may cause damage. Weather durable carports are available, though.

What Is a Car Park?

carport vs car park
A typical parking lot

Car parks can come in all shapes and sizes, but basically, it’s an outdoor parking space, and the most common type is your own driveway or the street outside.

There are also surface car park options that are flat and compact in parking lots, allowing parking for more than one vehicle in a smaller space in the neighborhood, and enclosed parking garages, which are usually multi-story car parks where you can drive in, and park your car. 

carport vs car park
Covered multi storey car parking

There may also be a local single level parking garage in your neighborhood or even an underground parking garage nearby.

Whatever, you will need accessible parking if you use your car regularly. 

Car park Pros

1. Cheaper

A car park will be cheaper than building or buying, your own carport. Unless, of course, you have to pay to house your car in a car park off your lot. The cost of commercially parking your car could mount up.

2. Suitable For All Vehicle Sizes

Car parks can accommodate all types of vehicles, regardless of size.

3. Central Location

Car parks are usually located in the city center or close to public transportation, making it easy for you to get to and from your car park.

4. Security System

A security system is usually in place to keep any anti-social elements at bay, making your car park a lot safer.

6. Easy to Build a Driveway

Car parks can be easily built into your driveway and don’t require any planning permission.

Car Park Cons

1. Not All Car Parks Are Secure

Not all car parks have a security system in place, so there is always the risk of your car being vandalized or stolen while parked.

According to data compiled by the NICB, on average, 215 vehicles are stolen every 100,000 people each year and many of them happened in car parks and parking spaces.

if you do park your car in a car park at a remote location, be sure to check out the car park operators, and their security credentials.

2. Less Privacy

Most car parks are outside and on display for all to see, which can be a major inconvenience if you have personal items in your vehicle.

3. No Weather Protection

An open car park will not provide any shelter for your car, unlike a carport or a garage. If you do go for a car park, your best bet is to use either a car cover, or an outdoor car cover tent (often called a durable car tent or a temporary carport).

Carport Vs Driveway

carport vs car park
Typical driveway parking

A carport is similar to a driveway in that they are both used for parking vehicles. However, there are some key differences. A carport has a roof and is usually attached to a house or garage, whereas a driveway is just a paved area without a roof.

A carport is a great option if you don’t have a garage because it provides some protection from the elements. A driveway is a good option if you have a lot of parking spaces to fill or if you want to create extra outdoor space for your home.

Does a Carport Protect Your Car?

A carport will protect your car from adverse weather to a degree. It will stop the car being covered in snow, and prevent rain and hail from affecting the paintwork. 

However, as a carport is usually open sided, your car will be exposed to wind, and extreme temperatures, and you may want to use an outdoor car cover.

Final Thoughts – Carport Vs Car Park

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of carports and car parks, it is clear that a carport is the best choice for most people if they can afford the initial expense of building or buying one.

Car parks are cheaper than carports and more versatile. Carports provide better protection than car parks like driveways or surface car parks but involve more expense.

The decision will depend on your budget, and how important you feel protection for your car is. In the meantime, check out a DIY portable garage, here, which may suit your budget better.

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