Garages Vs. Carports: Everything You Need to Know!

When it comes to metal carports and steel garages, most consumers just aren’t that knowledgeable when they purchase these products. This isn’t out of ignorance, but rather a reasonable assumption that the manufacturers, resellers, and authorized dealers of steel carports, enclosed garages, and steel buildings would have most of the information readily available to the customer, informing them of the requirements for installing those products and what configurations and options are available. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, leaving customers in the dark when it comes to their options and what product is best for them.

We here at Bargain Barns USA are dedicated to providing our customers with all of the information they need to make an informed decision and find the right fit for their specific needs. In today’s post, we tackle some of the most common questions first-time buyers have, as well as potential issues that can be easily avoided.

When it comes to metal carports and steel garages, most consumers just aren’t that knowledgeable when they purchase these products. This isn’t out of ignorance, but rather a reasonable assumption that the manufacturers, resellers, and authorized dealers of steel carports, enclosed garages, and steel buildings would have most of the information readily available to the customer, informing them of the requirements for installing those products and what configurations and options are available. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, leaving customers in the dark when it comes to their options and what product is best for them.

We here at Bargain Barns USA are dedicated to providing our customers with all of the information they need to make an informed decision and find the right fit for their specific needs. In today’s post, we tackle some of the most common questions first-time buyers have, as well as potential issues that can be easily avoided.

What is your need?

The first thing you should ask yourself is, “What is my need?” Do you simply need a metal carport to park a car, two cars, RV, or a boat? Do you need a fully enclosed garage to store antique cars? Do you need a large steel garage to be used as a workshop? Any reputable company or dealer should ask you about the intended function or use of the building that you plan to purchase. Below are a few examples of what we’ve experienced over the years and how we make every effort to assist and the customer to make the best possible buying decision.

Carports and Garages – Top 10 Things You Should Know Before Buying

Having worked in the industry for almost sixteen years, we’ve come across most of the common questions, issues, and problems and we’ve prepared a Top 10 List of things to know, along with the reasons why you should know these things.

Here are the top 10 things you should know before buying a steel or metal carport or steel garage:

  • What are your needs and what are you buying?
  • Where are you buying it from?
  • Can the carport or garage be on your property, or are there zoning restrictions?
  • Is the installation site already level, or do you need to hire someone to do so?
  • Have you mapped out utility lines and underground objects that would be affected by the project?
  • What do you need to know when you place your order?
  • What happens next after you place your order?
  • What will the process of the installation of your new structure look like?
  • What will the finished project look like?
  • Does your warranty cover damages due to wind and snow?

Most manufacturers sell their metal carports and garages through authorized dealers that have retail locations. Most of those dealers are selling other products and are not specialized in any one area. For that reason, not all authorized dealers have excellent product knowledge. At Bargain Barns USA, our focus is our customers and ‘just buildings’.

Through our many years of experience with this product and with our customers, we will share with you what we have learned along the way.


Garages vs. Carports; Which One is Right for You?


One of the best things about our steel barns and buildings is that they can be used in a wide variety of different ways. Though you might think that a barn has limited applications, the truth is that a well-constructed, high-quality metal outbuilding is only limited in use by your imagination. In order to show you how useful these buildings can be, here are a few of their many uses:

Additional Storage

The first and most common use for a metal building is increased storage space. However, this storage isn’t limited to farm or yard equipment. A high-quality metal building is durable enough to protect just about anything you keep inside it. Including clothing, tools, seasonal decorations, and more. Many people are concerned about leaks or damage. But in truth, a metal building offers just as much protection as storage inside your home.

A Second Garage

If you like to tinker, or if you have three cars but only a two-car garage, you would probably appreciate some extra room to protect your vehicles from the elements. A metal building makes a perfect garage for a seasonal car, motorcycle, or any other vehicle. Because they’re stronger than wooden sheds, they can protect your cars from extreme weather like hail, ice, and wind-blown debris.

Extra Living Space

Perhaps your lack of space isn’t in your garage but in your living room. If that’s the case, a steel building can be made into a surprisingly comfortable detached living area. With the right size building, you can make a private office, a game room, or even a guest bedroom. Metal buildings are easy to turn into finished rooms, and they’re far cheaper than building an extension onto your home.

Attached vs Detached Garages & Carports – What’s the Difference?

There are many things you’ll need to consider when you’re looking at installing a garage or carport on your property. One of the biggest choices you’ll need to make is whether you want an attached unit built onto your house or a detached unit that stands alone on your property.

Both attached and detached carports and garages have advantages – keep reading to find out which one might be right for you.

side entry custom garage

Considerations for Attached & Detached Structures

Before looking at the pros and cons of attached and detached metal buildings, it’s important to think about the different factors that can influence your choice.

Lot Size and Shape

One of the biggest factors in choosing an attached or detached building is which one best fits your property. Depending on the size of your property, the level of access you have, and the aesthetics of your home and yard. You might find one choice far more appealing.

Here are a few things to consider:

Homes without any secondary access – like suburban homes with only one driveway – may be forced to consider attached garages or carports.

Large properties with plenty of room make good candidates for detached buildings, as do lots with access from an alleyway or secondary driveway.

Detached buildings can take up a lot of space, so if you have a small yard you may want to consider an attached addition instead.

Building Uses

Along with logistical and aesthetic considerations, you’ll also need to consider what you plan to use your new building for. Attached and detached structures are each better suited to particular uses, so you’ll need to think about why you want a new building on your property.

For example, if you want a garage or carport to protect your vehicle and to avoid walking through inclement weather, an attached carport or garage would be a better choice. However, if you want a garage or shed that can double as a storage area or workshop, a detached model can offer more privacy, additional space, and reduce the amount of noise inside your home. Detached garages are also safer than attached ones because they keep the risk of fire and other problems away from your house.

Home Style

Finally, you’ll want to think about the style of your home and of the homes in your area or neighborhood. Building a structure that is noticeably different from other homes in your area can reduce your property values and turn buyers off when they consider your home.

On the other hand, if you have a larger property that is farther away from other homes, you have the option to do what you like with your land. It’s important to build a structure that is good-looking and long-lasting in its own right. Whether it’s attached or detached.
Pros and Cons of Attached and Detached Structures.

Both attached and detached garages and carports have benefits and drawbacks. If you aren’t sure which one to choose, consider these pros and cons:

Attached Buildings

The attached buildings have several advantages, such as:

  • Being able to access your vehicles or storage from your home without needing to go fully outdoors.
  • Building onto your home allows you to use existing structural supports for strength and stability.

However, attached buildings can also have some negative aspects, like:

  • The need to secure permits and planning approval for your building before you construct it.
  • Having to match your building to your existing home in terms of style, which can increase construction costs.
  • The possibility of leaks and structural damage to your home from construction or due to gradual wear.

Detached Buildings

Just like attached buildings, detached structures like standalone carports and garages have several benefits:

  • Freedom and flexibility to build the structure that best fits your needs without needing to plan around an existing structure.
  • An overall increase in safety due to lower risks of fire and structural damage.
  • Less noise in your home from operating the garage door or from using tools.
  • Generally less expensive than attached buildings because you can use pre-engineered structures rather than needing a custom solution.

However, detached buildings do have a few potential downsides as well:

  • Being removed from your home requires you to go outdoors to get to your car or anything stored inside.
  • Detached buildings can require their own foundation and utility connections, depending on your needs.
  • Detached buildings take up more room on your property, which can reduce the available space for kids, pets, or outdoor activities.

Can an Oklahoma Carport Be Converted Into a Garage?

One of the most common questions we get about our steel carports is whether it is possible to convert them into garages. The answer? Of course, it’s possible – but it’s a bit more complicated than putting up some walls on the sides and calling it a day.

We frequently enclose carports we build for customers that want a full garage, but we also know that our carports are highly capable and very protective on their own. Read on to learn about why and how you can convert a steel carport into an enclosed garage.

custom white double garage

Why (and Why Not) to Convert Your Carport

Both carports and garages add a lot of value to your home – they’re great for protecting your cars and other property from the sometimes harsh Oklahoma weather. So why are so many people keen on converting a carport into a garage? Below are a few of the most common reasons, along with our expert view of these opinions:

Idea: Garages offer better or more complete protection for cars and other vehicles than carports do.

Reality: Carports protect most vehicles just as well as garages do. It’s very rare for a car to get snow or ice on it while under a carport, or to be struck by any debris.

Idea: Garages offer private, enclosed storage for personal belongings.

Reality: While garages are inherently more private than a basic open carport, many carports come with attached storage sheds that are perfect for keeping tools or other belongings inside.

Idea: Garages are stronger and last longer than carports do.

Reality: A well-made steel carport is every bit as strong and durable as a garage. Steel carports can handle literal tons of snow and ice and will stand strong for years throughout any kind of weather.

Idea: Garages match the look of houses better.

Reality: This is mostly a matter of personal opinion. However, steel carports do come in a wide range of colors and styles to match almost any home with ease.

In the end, a carport fulfills most of the same functions as a garage – it keeps your car safe from the weather and it allows you to access your vehicles without exposing yourself to rain, snow, and hail. Both carports and garages add value to your home. Most of the time it’s not too hard to convert a carport into a garage, but it’s also not always necessary.

So why would you want to convert a carport into a garage? The most common reasons for pursuing the conversion are because garages are often used for more than just car protection – they’re a “utility room” where you can fix things and store bulky items. It’s tough for an open carport to offer this same utility, which is why many homeowners think converting their carport is a good idea.

If you’re considering converting your carport, think about why you want to do it. If you’re simply looking for more protection for your car from sun and rain, a carport is probably going to do the job just fine. However, if you’re looking for a workshop or a storage area you can use for your car, tools, and household clutter, you might be on the right track.

How to Convert a Carport Into a Garage

In most cases, converting a carport into a garage isn’t difficult. In fact, we regularly convert our own carports into garages for buyers who find their needs have changed over time. If you want to convert your carport, you’ll need to take care of the following steps:

First, contact your city or township planning commission and see if you need a permit to convert your carport into a garage. The rules for which construction jobs require permits are different from place to place and they can also be difficult to understand. Talk to a planner or a knowledgeable contractor before starting work to see what permits or permission you need.

Speaking of permission, if your house is part of a homeowner’s association, be sure to clear your project with them before you begin. It’s much easier to use a little foresight and get your project cleared than to tear it down and redo it after the fact when it doesn’t meet regulations.

You’ll also need to consider building codes, especially if you’re attaching your garage to your house or installing electricity or water in the structure. These are situations where an experienced contractor can help since they’ll know what codes to follow and how to do the work efficiently.

Remember that a garage is more than just a few walls and a big door. If you want your garage project to turn out right, you’ll need to consider:

  • Insulation to keep the space warm during the winter and cool during the summer.
  • Electric lighting to find your way around inside the garage after dark.
  • A strong foundation that will keep out moisture and other elements.
  • Additional support for the walls and garage door – a carport is meant to hold up its own roof, not its roof plus heavy walls.
deluxe metal garage with enclosed steel

Deluxe Metal Garage

At this point, we would like to promote our newest garage, the deluxe garage.

A new line of deluxe metal garages has been added to Bargain Barns USA’s products. At no additional cost, customers can choose to have our new wainscoting style garages with horizontal sheeting on the sides and ends.

These enclosed garages usually have 9′ sidewalls, but can customize to any size. The bottom 3′ panel is typically a darker color, matching the roof panels and the trim color. The upper 6′ section is a lighter color. Customers can choose from any of the 13 colors that we offer at Bargain Barns USA.

Regular Maintenance Tips for Your Metal Garage

When you buy a metal garage or steel building, you expect it to last for a long time. Even though steel is one of the most durable and economical building materials you can use, regular maintenance can help extend the life and condition of your metal garage significantly. Here are a few simple tips and ideas for keeping your steel garage in great condition.

Tip 1: Check and Replace Weather Stripping

One of the most frequent points of failure in any building is the weather stripping or weather seal around the edges of doors and windows. This rubber or plastic seal helps keep out cold air, moisture, pests, and other problems. However, it can degrade over time and become brittle, cracked, or worn down, which in turn can lead to leaks, drafts, and unwanted invaders. It’s always a good idea to check the weather stripping on your doors and windows at least once a year. If you find that any is starting to crack or go bad, replace it with new stripping from a home or hardware store.

Tip 2: Check Your Garage Doors

You depend on your garage doors to keep your car and stored items safe while also allowing you to access it all easily. That means it’s very important for you to keep an eye on your garage doors and make sure they’re functioning properly and in good condition. If you have a sliding garage door, make sure it’s traveling along the rails smoothly and that all the wheels are turning easily.

If it’s a swing-open or lift-open door, ensure that the hinges and other moving parts are well-oiled and moving freely. In both cases, don’t be afraid to use some grease to free up stuck parts and keep everything smooth. In the case of motorized garage doors, you may need to call a technician to help you fix problems that arise.

Tip 3: Examine the Interior and Exterior Walls

With a metal garage, it’s important to pay attention to the condition of your interior and exterior walls to catch any signs of rust or other damage before they become serious. It’s a good idea to do a regular walk around your garage and look for any signs of staining, wear, or rusting, especially near corners and at the base of the garage. On the interior, look around any shelves or mounted brackets you have in the walls for potential corrosion or other problems.

Tip 4: Keep an Eye Out for Moisture

Moisture problems in metal buildings aren’t uncommon, since metal surfaces provide a good place for water to condense inside the building. This condensation can lead to mildew or damage to items stored inside the garage if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, moisture problems in metal garages aren’t too difficult to fix – ventilation and insulation are often the best ways to prevent moisture problems from occurring.

Tip 5: Check Your Garage’s Floor

Oil stains, mud, water, and other products like paint or cleaners can make your once-pristine garage floor look tired and dirty. It’s a good idea to regularly clean your garage floor with soap or a gentle chemical. If you do have stains from oil or other products, you can use household items such as kitty litter and oven cleaner to break down and absorb the oil, leaving your garage floor looking new again. You may also want to think about garage mats or protective finishes to keep your floor looking good once it’s clean.

Does Your Garage Roof Style Matter?

Sometime back, we had a customer come in to purchase a garage from us. She had just purchased a home not too far from our company and she wanted a garage to store her car, lawnmower, and some storage. She told us that she had purchased a 20′ wide x 26′ long x 9′ side height garage from another company and it worked just fine. This customer already knew the size that she wanted.

Since we didn’t know the roof style that she had purchased, we informed her that we had three roof style options and explained the features and the benefits of each roof style.

We advised her that our vertical roof garage was the best and explained that it would take the water, snow, trash off to the sides of the building as compared to the boxed eave garage or the regular garage that has the roof panels turned horizontally.

At that very moment, a light bulb went off with the customer. She said that she had no idea that a vertical roof was an option in the garage. The company that she purchased from some years ago never took the time to tell her that was an option. She also said that twice each year, she hired someone to remove the leaves and trash from the garage because it just looked bad and she knew it would help the roof panels last much longer.

We agreed with her, as the acid from the leaves and the additional moisture being held on the unit would indeed shorten the life of the panels. We also explained that while we do offer those horizontal roof styles, we always recommend the vertical roof for the optimal life of the panels and ease of cleaning.

What Sets Us Apart?

You’ve heard the old saying, “How does it compare, apples to apples?” When it comes to vertical roof carports, garages, and barns, there is no comparison!

Our trim for those buildings is the best looking in the business. In this industry, most metal carports and steel garages are advertised as 18′ x 21′, 20′ x 26′, 24′ x 41′, etc. That measurement is the roof canopy.

Many competitors, on the vertical roof style buildings, cut off that overhang on each end of the building because they are using and installing a cheaper piece of “corner trim” or “eave trim” on that end of the building. When they do that, their roof canopies are only 20′ long when they advertise 21′ long.

metal carports

What is the difference?

We used a special piece of trim that we make in-house that we call vertical roof trim. It covers both the tube and the hat channel used to support the steel panels and gives a much better appearance than the cheaper corner trim. When you buy a 21′ roof canopy from us, you are getting a 21′ roof canopy. Our vertical roof trim is more expensive to make than the corner or eave trim but it looks so much better as shown in the photos. We provide this at the same prices (or better) than our competitors.

We appreciate your business and we are committed to providing a superior product at the same price as the inferior products!

Why we help

A couple of years ago, a gentleman came to our retail location and pointed to our most basic regular carport and said, “I want that carport right there.” We told the gentleman that we could get one exactly like that unit out there to him. The carport that he had selected was an 18′ wide x 21′ long x 5′ side height, regular carport.

We then asked the gentleman what he would be storing under the carport. He explained that he wanted to park his extended cab work truck and his wife’s SUV in the carport. We asked him what the vehicles were and he pointed out to his work truck that was in the parking lot and he said his wife owned an Expedition.

He hadn’t walked around the carport that he had chosen and the only thing he saw was the price and he liked it. We explained that he really needed to consider a wider and longer carport since 21′ would just barely cover their vehicles and a 5′ side height certainly wasn’t tall enough.

It was my obligation to tell the customer the unit that he had chosen simply wouldn’t meet his needs. If he got the two large vehicles in the carport, he would likely have a difficult time getting out of the vehicles because they would be so close together. Even more concerning, if he could get out he would likely be beating up the vehicles with their own doors… for the next 20 years or so!

We, as a company, ask our customers why they need their building so that we can explain all the features that might interest them. Just imagine if we had not asked the right questions and the customer had a carport that was way too small to meet his needs. The unit would have been almost worthless and the customer would not have been happy with a brand new product!

Let Us Help You

Our point here is that any metal carport or steel garage company can sell you a unit. At Bargain Barns USA, we would like to sell you your next carport or garage but if we don’t, we hope that you either know exactly what you need and know each feature or we hope you find a company that will take the time to ask questions and to explain the product to you. Rest assured, we always will!