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When building a carport, it is advisable to follow the same general process as when building any other structure or addition. The first step in a carport project should be the selection of an appropriate set of plans. Next, appropriate building materials should be selected with particular attention paid to environmental resistance. Code compliance is also crucial, as most communities require that carports, and especially attached carports, follow the provisions of local building codes. Some additional considerations related to issues such as drainage and insect control also need to be considered when building a carport.
Many sets of carport plans are available, and it is typically wise to make use of a set of plans since this will ensure that the carport is properly engineered. Plans should specify which climate zones they are meant for, as carports intended for use in areas with heavy snow will need to be sturdier. Carports can be attached to other structures or can be freestanding. As a general rule, freestanding carports are simpler to build. Some carports are designed to include electric lights and outlets which add utility but also increase construction costs. One easy way to construct a carport is to use a carport kit instead of building a DIY carport from the ground up.
The materials used in building a carport will determine both the strength of the finished project and its cost. Pressure-treated wood is resistant to water but will eventually begin to rot. Plastic and aluminum materials are more expensive but last for a very long time. Concrete slab floors are handy, especially if any mechanical work will be done on vehicles stored in the carport, but they are also more expensive than gravel floors which are perfectly adequate for basic carports in those areas where they are legal.
Anyone building a carport should make a point of consulting local building inspectors. Code requirements vary widely from region to region, and code compliance is critical. It is much easier to meet with an inspector briefly during the design phase of a project than to modify non-compliant parts of a structure after they have been built. Snow load, drainage, wiring, flooring, appearance, and a variety of other aspects of carport design are commonly governed by local building codes.
Drainage is a particularly important issue when building a carport. All carports have the potential to collect water, and floors should be sloped to ensure that this does not happen. Carports that are attached to other structures require special precautions to ensure that they do not channel water into those structures. The roofs of carports are vulnerable to water damage, too, especially if they do not slope enough to shed water properly.
Insect control is another key consideration when building a carport. As open structures, carports, especially lighted carports, attract clouds of insects. If a carport is going to be used for work after dark, screen walls or other insect control measures should be considered.
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