Carports are wonderfully convenient, but most of us don’t use them to the fullest extent possible. If you have been wondering how to prolong the warmer weather and spend more time outdoors, consider turning your carport into a living space!
If you hope to head outdoors as the autumn progresses or the spring arrives, these tips can help you succeed:
Begin with Plans
If you are like most homeowners, you have a budget and if you want any project to be a success it will mean remaining within the budget. That requires a plan – actually, an in-depth plan. And before you start drafting them, ask yourself one big question:
Can we give up the carport during the warmer season? Is it okay to use it for cars only during cold winter months?
If the answers to both are “yes”, then you can dig into the planning stages.
The next part of planning is to map out the actual living space, and to do so by first calculating what you will do with the three walls and the main opening into the driveway or parking pad.
Simply ask yourself a few questions to determine this part of the project:
- Will there be walls or windows on the three walls?
- Will it be better to use garage doors on the front AND back walls instead of installing a regular entry door into a side wall?
If such questions throw you, consider working with an architect or architectural technician as they can detail your options, organize and structure the work to be done, and prevent you from going over budget. And speaking of budgets…
What Can You Spend?
There are no universal budget amounts, and it is really up to you and your finances. However, lots of homeowners’ budgets amounts between $10,000 and $20,000 for turnkey projects. If you want to reduce costs, you can consider these tips and tactics:
- Do not do any extensive electric wiring or plumbing
- Leave the flooring “as is”, i.e. a concrete pad
- Do not pour concrete walls or additional footings
Typically, you can use the 40/60 rule. This would mean that 40% of the goes to materials and 60% for labor. Naturally, this might inspire you to do some of the work on a DIY basis if you are handy. For a more extensive explanation of the work that goes into turning a carport into a garage, refer to this text.
Do You Plan to Use Lots of Natural Light?
As a building set outdoors and meant to extend the season, you will want to make the most of the natural light. To do so, you’ll first need to consider the ease of access and the traffic flow. For example:
- A front wall or opening can be fitted with an all-glass garage door, like the California model from Garaga. Another option is to select a contemporary style door with wide 40″ x 13″ (102 x 33 cm) windows available for all Garaga door models. This is like turning a full wall into a window.
- For wider carports, such as those with façades 12 ft. (3.6 m) wide, you might get a lot of light when you opt for a 9-foot (2.7 m) overhead garage door both in the front and back. And depending on the amount of privacy you desire, you can close the front garage door and leave the rear one open to enjoy fresh air and views of the back yard.
- You can install a garage door rather than a full rear wall. This allows you to maintain plenty of foot traffic and access into the back yard and make the most of the light and air. Based on the size of each garage door, you can place these two doors back to back if your space is at least 22′ (6.7 m) deep, especially if you want to put electric openers on both doors.
- Keep in mind that a garage door opener has spatial requirements. The depth (backroom) for it is the height of the door plus 48″ (1.2 m). With no door opener, only 28″ (71 cm) would be needed.
- For side walls, you can enjoy plenty of light when add a bank of double-paned windows. The rear wall in addition can be finished like the side walls, with double-paned thermo windows, too. There are options that include clear, satin, or gray tinted glass as well as translucent polycarbonate windows and doors to meet all needs.
Can You Make the Change?
If you wish to convert a carport to a multi-season space, your next step is to contact us at 416-239-7777. We will explain how to best tackle the project, and since we know garage doors better than anyone else, we can advise you about the best choices within your budget. We can send you a quotation by email, but encourage you to come and meet us at our showroom. Feel free to use our Design Centre to sample a few styles on your building, or visit the image gallery for inspiration.