Constant sun exposure can cause paint to fade and peel and if that paint is oxidised, the damage is accelerated. You might not notice the damage at first, but after a year in the elements, your paint will be noticeably dull and rough.
Unfortunately, faded paint isn’t your only worry when storing a car outside. An unprotected car is vulnerable to hail damage, fallen trees and salt rust, making protection even more important. The bottom line is, protecting your car will slow your car’s depreciation and will keep it looking great for longer. You might even save a buck or two on your annual car insurance.
So how do you protect your car?
For most Australians, protecting your car comes down to one of two choices: the carport or the garage. Either one will provide defence against the elements, but which one do you choose?
A carport is a cost-effective way to ensure your vehicle/s have a permanent undercover base. Usually much smaller than a garage, they require significantly less materials to build, making a carport quick and easy to erect. If you consider yourself a bit of a handyman, you might even be able to construct a carport yourself.
Carport designs are flexible and can be placed just about anywhere on your property. The council guidelines for building a carport are generally less stringent than those for building a garage too, since they are not considered a ‘livable space’. With less construction and quicker approval, your carport can be up in a matter of hours or days.
Carports consist of supports and a roof (either flat or gable) and offer two to four open sides. This can provide extra space for opening doors and loading the car, but because they are open they are not theft-proof. If car crime is a problem in your area, or you own an expensive or collectible vehicle, you may want to think twice about choosing a carport over a garage.
The flooring of a carport can be anything from dirt to grass to gravel, pavers or concrete. Materials used for the structure can be timber, metal, polycarbonate, Colorbond, Zincalume or tiles. You could even add on a roller door should you so wish.
In summary, the benefits of a carport are:
- Quick to erect
- DIY optional
- Fast council approval
The disadvantages of carports are:
- Less versatile
- Not theft-proof
- No storage
- Less protection from the elements
- Lesser value added to property
A garage is a permanent structure for housing your car/s and is fully enclosed. This offers more protection from theft and the elements, such as salt and wind damage. If your property has lots of trees, or you live close to the ocean, this added protection will make a big difference in keeping your car looking great.
Most garages tend to be attached to the home with entry being via a door. This makes moving from the car to the house with kids, shopping, pets and whatever else you need a breeze. A garage can, however, be freestanding and placed at the back of the home, the side of the home, or anywhere else you choose to place it.
A major benefit to a garage is that a garage offers storage space as well as protection for your car. If clutter is a problem in your home, a garage is a great way to clear it. Many households choose to keep a second fridge or freezer in the garage, the washing machine or tumble dryer, gardening tools, the lawn mower, cleaning supplies, Christmas decorations and more. If you take the time to make smart storage solutions for your garage, you’ll be amazed by how much you can store within it while still having room for the car.
A negative to garages is that council approval usually takes longer. This is because a garage is considered a ‘liveable space’, somewhere you can relax and unwind in or set up extra guests. If there ever comes a time when you no longer need to store a vehicle in your garage, you can always convert it into a permanent room.
Garages generally have a stronger connection to the home itself - a more cohesive look you might say. Most builders will use similar materials to that used in your home’s construction and garage doors can be used to either tie together your garage and home, or create interest to your home’s exterior. Bear in mind, however, that this comes at a price, and garages can be significantly more expensive to build than carports. The good news is though, a cohesive and usable enclosed garage can add as much as $20,000 - $30,000 to a property.
In summary, the benefits of a garage are:
- Security from theft
- Added protection from the elements
- Aesthetic appeal
- Adds significant value to property
- Easy maneuvering from the car to home
- Option to later convert to a living area
- Can double as extra living space
The disadvantages of a garage are:
- Initial cost
- Takes longer to build
- Must comply with more stringent requirements
Making the right choice
Every car deserves a place to call home, but what home that will be is up to you. Weigh up budget, security essentials, ease of installation, space and flexibility, roof options, kerb appeal and construction style and your decision will hopefully be made easier. Either way, know that a carport or garage can be a stylish focal point for your property and will keep your car looking its best for longer.