How to Build Carports
If you are looking for some shelter for your vehicles but don’t want the hassle of building a garage, carports are a great alternative. You can buy some carports premade, but with a little ingenuity, you can actually build your own!
Step 1 - Plan
Before you can begin to construct your carport, you need to check to make sure that you aren’t breaking any local building codes. Also, make sure that the spot you plan to put the carport doesn’t interfere with any gas or water lines or sewer pipes.
Mark out the area using string and stakes. Once you have plotted it, double check to make sure it is square by measuring your diagonals.
Step 2 - Set Posts
Dig post holes at the edge at least one foot wide and one foot deep. Mix your concrete in accordance with the packaging instructions, pour into the holes, and then set a stirrup bracket in the center of each of the concrete pads. You will need a minimum of three inches of clearance between the ground and the bottom of each post. Make sure the brackets are level, and then place a piece of plywood over the concrete. Allow two days for the concrete to dry.
Cut 2x6-inch notches (rebates) in the top of each post for the bearers. Place the posts in the brackets, checking to make sure that they are perfectly vertical. If the posts are wobbly, you can use stones or wooden braces to support them while you work. Drill holes for the carriage bolts and secure the posts to the brackets.
Step 3 - Plan the Roof
Using a string line, measure out the height that you want the roof to be, cutting any excess on the post. To prevent the roof from gathering water, you should have a slight angle to it, allowing it to slope away from your house so that snow and water can run off.
Step 4 - Secure Bearing Beams
Cut a bearing beam to fit the length of your car port and set it into the rebates you’ve cut. Bolt the beam to the rebates with galvanized 4 ½-inch coach bolts.
If attaching the carport to your house, measure and cut another bearing beam and, making sure that it is parallel to the first, attach to the side of your house. For a wooden wall, use coach screws. If the wall is made of masonry, dynabolts are best.
Step 5 - Hang Rafters
Following your local building code for carports, measure and cut the appropriate number of rafters and attach them between the two bearing beam with joist hangers, spacing them apart approximately every three feet. Attach the rafters to the beams using galvanized nails.
Step 6 - Attach the Roof
Once you have measured and cut your roofing, attach it to the top of both the bearers and the rafters. Make sure that the roof screws are fitted with rubber washers before tightening them. You will also want to make sure that your carport roof extends several inches beyond the frame for rain and snow runoff.
With the structure complete, you can choose to paint the wood to make your home, or to coat it in a protective finish. Either way, it is best not to leave the wood exposed to the elements.