Step By Step Guide To Building A Carport
Do you need to protect your vehicle from the elements but can’t afford a new garage? Why not add value to your home and build your own carport from scratch?
Don’t worry, this isn’t a huge project likely to be left unfinished, because building your own carport isn’t that hard to do. As long as you have a basic understanding of DIY work, the right tools for the job, a friend to help with the heavy lifting, and this straightforward guide from Titan Lite, your car will be cosy in no time.
Things to consider before building your carport
Before you begin constructing your carport, you will need to take care of a couple of important preliminaries.
Location on your block
Where you’re going to build your carport will be determined by where your utilities are located. It’s important to learn where your utility lines (electricity, gas and water) are situated underground to ensure that you don’t build a structure above them or dig them up during the building process.
Your carport is classed as a structure and must conform to local council requirements as well as the National Construction Code (NCC) developed by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). Regulations will vary depending on the council, so make sure you visit your local council offices before erecting your carport to avoid any nasty surprises down the track.
Have the right tools
Before you start building your carport make sure you have all the right tools on hand. If you think you might not get enough use out of the tools (after building your carport) or you can’t afford them brand new, consider borrowing them off friends or hiring them for the day as you need them. Tools required for building a carport can include basic things like a shovel, measuring tape, hammer, hand saw, carpenter’s square, string line, adjustable wrench, G-clamps, spirit level and a ladder (preferably 2). Power tools you may need for the job can include a circular saw, angle grinder, rivet gun, nail gun and hammer drill.
Keep in mind that safety is extremely important. Make sure you do it yourself safely by identifying and preparing for any potential hazards, and wear Australian Standard (AS) approved protective gear during construction including, but not limited to, gloves, ear and eye protection.
How to build your carport in 11 steps
Whether you are making your carport from timber or steel, here are the basic steps involved:
1. Set out the perimeters
Clear the area where the carport is to be erected and set out the perimeters. Start by measuring out from the wall of your home to the desired width (3 metres is standard) and measuring parallel to your home (6 metres is standard), and then driving pegs into the ground to mark each of the four corners. Then, insert simple hurdles into the ground just a little further past each peg in preparation for your string lines.
2. Attach string lines
Stretch string lines from one hurdle to the next (each string line should be touching two pegs—if not, adjust accordingly), creating a rectangle the size of the carport. Remove the pegs, and the corners created by the string are where the concrete post footings will be located.
3. Check the space is square
Measure diagonally from one corner to the other to ensure the pegs are square, and if not, adjust accordingly.
4. Dig holes for posts
Dig a hole at each of the four corners to house your posts. The dimensions and depth of your holes will be determined by your soil type and are normally covered in your building permit.
NOTE: If you are using steel posts, these will normally be secured via mounting plates on a cement slab using a hammer drill to make the bolt holes.
5. Pour the cement
Mix enough cement for one post hole at a time, and pour it in the hole. Take a post saddle (a U-shaped metal saddle with a ‘standoff’ underneath to help prevent the post from rotting) and push it down into the centre of the hole, ensuring the saddle part remains 25mm clear of the wet cement. Use a spirit level to ensure it is completely level, and then repeat the process for the other three holes.
6. Put up the posts
After leaving the cement to set over a week or so, you can then put up the posts. Have a friend hold the post in the saddle while you make it exactly vertical using the spirit level. Then, drill a hole through the saddle holes and right through the post, insert a coach bolt and nut and tighten to hold the post upright. Repeat with the other three posts.
7. Create a datum line
This is a line to ensure the roof of your carport is level. Mark one of the upright posts with a pencil at the height you want the roof to be, then, use your spirit level to mark the exact same height for all four posts. Then unbolt the posts and cut them all to the desired roof height.
8. Attach the beams
While you have the posts on the ground, cut out the housings (notches) for the beams with your saw. Put up the posts again and with the help of a friend. Then, using ladders, place the side beams horizontally so they are resting in the housings, flush with the outside of the carport. Drill two holes and secure the side beams to the posts with coach screws.
NOTE: With steel beams, you would join the centre beams to the edge beams via bolts through the splice plates, and then join the edge beams to create a box frame.
9. Attach the rafters
First, set the fall of the roof for rain to run off. Do this by hammering a nail at the front end of one of the side beams, and running a string line down to the other end and attaching a nail 40mm lower than the other nail (this is your run-off level). Repeat on the other side beam, and then nail a batten down on the inside of each side beam along the string lines. Then, cut your battens to the width between the side beams and fit one every 900mm or so by nailing them securely.
10. Fit the gutter and downpipe
Begin with the gutter which will go along the lower end of the carport (the back). Attach it to the back beam using gutter clips and make sure it has a slight run-off to ensure the rainwater runs down the downpipe. Then, connect the downpipe to the nearest stormwater drain.
11. Construct the roof
Lay your steel roof sheeting across the rafters whilst making sure it’s inside the side beams, then attach it with appropriate fasteners. Finally, apply cap flashing over where the roof meets the edge of the beam for a totally waterproof edge.
Things to keep in mind when building a carport
As with all DIY jobs, there are tricks and tips for doing things more efficiently and effectively. These are a few tips to bear in mind when building a carport from scratch.
- Make sure you have everything you need onsite before starting the job. Running out of materials halfway or not having the right tool handy can turn a day job into one that takes several more hours or even days to complete.
- If you’re using timber for your carport make sure it is covered and stored off the ground before use, particularly if it is likely to be exposed to bad weather.
- Always measure twice before cutting anything, because mistakes do happen and replacements can be costly and time-consuming.
- Don’t put your carport under any trees if possible. If you intend on pruning or removing any existing trees make sure to contact your local council before doing so.
- Clean out your carport gutters regularly to reduce the fire risk.
- You may not need a building permit if the carport you are constructing is replacing an existing one of approximately the same size, but always check with your local council to make sure.
- Wear appropriate safety gear when cutting and drilling metal and always get help when there’s heavy lifting involved.
Protect your vehicle with quality equipment
Finally, while a timber carport can be cheaper to construct, it will not last as long as a steel carport. So, it might be a good idea to consider putting in a few extra dollars for steel materials to end up with a stronger, more durable and long-lasting carport that will pay dividends over time.
For more information about building a carport from scratch, please contact us at Titan Lite. If you’re looking for the materials to get started, Titan Lite provides a comprehensive selection of all the steel carport components needed. Click here to explore our site and view our products.