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Carports vs Carriage Houses - Which is Best?

Choosing the Most Suitable Parking Option for Your Vehicles

There’s a fair amount of confusion out there as to what carports and carriage houses are precisely and how they differ. With many blogs, publications and even estate agents referring carriage houses to carports and vice versa, it’s easy to see why there’s uncertainty. However, once you understand the distinctions between the two structures, you realise there are many fundamental differences, with advantages and disadvantages of both.

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What is a carport?

A carport is a covered structure that is usually supported by posts on each corner. Usually, a carport is open ended on all sides and is effectively a solid canopy that is used for parking and protecting vehicles. In many instances however, carports take the form of lean-tos and are attached to the side of a building such as a house, with supporting posts taking the weight of the frame at the opposite ends.

The roofing or covering of a carport can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. Some are made from polycarbonate, whilst others in warmer climates might use tarpaulins or canvas coverings. Some more expensive models may use tiles or corrugated metal although this is not often seen in the UK.

Essentially, carports are designed to be a quick and convenient way to park vehicles and protect them from the elements above. However, their structures can sometimes be a little flimsy and cheap looking and overall, the metal tubular designs tend to age and date fairly quickly. Some can damage easily in extreme weather.

They offer basic protection from weather as they’re generally only covered from the top so help to reduce frost, UV damage to paintwork or extreme weather but seldom protect cars fully. They are however relatively cost effective and cheap to install although are never guaranteed to add significant value to a property.

Advantages

  • quick and easy to install
  • relatively cost effective
  • easy and convenient to use
  • offer good level of vehicle protection
  • good ventilation

Disadvantages

  • easily damaged in extreme weather
  • can age and date quickly
  • can look cheap and unattractive
  • can lessen a property’s curb appeal or value

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What is a carriage house?

A carriage house (sometimes referred to as a coach house or cart lodge) is typically a timber framed structure that in the past was traditionally used to store a horse-drawn carriage, but nowadays is used to park vehicles away from the elements or converted into a dwelling.

Modern carriage houses are usually free standing structures and are erected as a long term solution to park vehicles in a more solid and sturdy structure than a typical carport. Like carports, they are supported by posts on each corner however many may have one, two or even three enclosed sides, making it a much more secure space that protects better from harsher weather conditions.

Carriage houses are considered a more attractive option in terms of aesthetic appeal and value. Made from beautiful hardwoods or pressure treated softwood timbers and brickwork, and covered with traditional peg tiles, felt or corrugated metal; they are designed to add a character feature to a property and ultimately, convenience, practicality and value.

Like their carport counterparts, they offer a quick and convenient way to park vehicles and protect them from the elements, without the hassle of opening and closing garage doors. Their structures are usually very robust and sturdy, and are expected to last for many years. With many featuring lock up storage areas, they also have the added benefit of offering a clean, dry place to store more delicate or damageable items securely.

Advantages

  • convenient parking for vehicles
  • keeps vehicles dry all year round
  • stylish and aesthetically pleasing
  • adds value to a property
  • longer lasting

Disadvantages

  • can be expensive to build
  • requires concrete foundations
  • requires more space to install
  • may need planning consent

Which option is right for you?

Ultimately it comes down to a few key choices and priorities.

Carriage houses are naturally more expensive than some cheaper carport options but are generally considered to be a better investment as they add property value and are less prone to damage, requiring repairs or replacement. A carport may seem like a better option short term, but with their tendency to damage and age faster and fall victim to extreme weather, a carriage house looks like a better longer-term decision. A carriage house will undoubtedly protect your vehicles from all weathers far better than a carport and in most instances, will last far longer.

At face value, carriage houses tend to win the battle in most head-to-head decisions except initial cost, but as previously highlighted, longer term most would agree you’d get a better return on your investment with a carriage house.

Written by: Yolanda Noble

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