What To Consider When Buying A Carport / RV Cover

What type of vehicle are you looking to store?

Selecting the right metal carport for your needs is important. Whether you are looking for something to simply protect your car or RV from the elements, or provide a secure storage solution, Carport Central can help. We offer single carport design plans and 2 car carport options. We can always customize our metal carport to fit multiple vehicles or even taller steel carport plans for trucks and tractors. Read more about the different size metal carports and RV carports we offer and some of the customization options below.

Where will you install your new metal carport or RV cover?

Do you know where you want your metal carport or RV carport to be installed? Our installation team will need enough space to set-up and install your carport or RV carport, and space to access the installation site. Working with our trained customer service representatives we can help you. One of the most important things to remember is that custom metal carports must be installed on a level surface. Do you have enough level space for the size metal carport you want?

Does it need to be certified?

Many local building regulations also require that the metal carports be certified when installed. Certifications are required to make sure the custom-built carport can withstand a specific amount of wind and snow. A local inspector will review the build site and the building plans to make sure the structure is sound. Work with our trained customer service representatives to learn more about what Carport Central provides when you need to certify your building, and what you need to do before your metal carport installation.

How’s the weather?

Your perfect custom carport may depend on the local weather forecast. Many first time carport buyers don’t take into account the local weather and only expect the carport to keep the rain and sun off of their vehicles. If you live in a climate where you get heavy snowfall or driving rains that blow sideways, consider getting a structure that is more enclosed to protect your vehicle. Anchoring structures on concrete slabs is also recommended for high wind areas.

How about style?

Carport central offers many different metal carport styles to fit your needs. Not only can we customize roof options, but we can also provide you with the choice of colors so it will fit with the look of your home. Call our customer service representatives to learn more about Carport Central metal carports for sale.

Roof Style

Finish your custom carport with something sturdy that will stand up against the elements. All roof styles can be certified for structural integrity, but finding the right roof type for your climate and need is important. We have many different metal carports for sale and many options to customize your metal carport. You want to find a strong roof type that fits with your home and will stand up be st to the elements. Talk to our customer service representatives to learn more about which roof type is best for you.


If you live in a climate with heavy snowfall or heavy rain, Carport Central recommends the vertical roof style carports. The vertical roof panels allow snow and rainwater to exit off the sides. This is an A-frame designed roof with panels installed vertically, with the corrugated ridges running from the highest point on the roof down the side of the building. We also recommend that all buildings longer than 36’ use a vertical style roof.

Choosing The Right Size For Your Needs

Width Sizing Chart

Selecting the right size is important. You want to make sure that the custom carport will be wide enough for your vehicle or equipment for which you intend to use it.

Carports come in standards widths of 12’, 18’, 20’, 22’, 24’, 26’, 28’, 30’, 32’, 34’ 36’, 38’, and 40’. For reference, if you plan to store a single car, truck or RV the standard width of 12’ will work. However if you plan to store more than one car, or larger equipment, see the approximate guide below to help you determine your needed width:

  • 12’   Single car, truck or RV
  • 18’   Two compact cars
  • 20’   Two midsized cars
  • 22’   Two full sized cars, trucks or SUV
  • 24’   Two full or oversized cars or trucks
  • 26’   Three midsized cars or trucks

Work with our customer service representatives to find the right custom metal carport or RV carport for your needs.


Again, how will this be used? Will you store only one car, or multiple cars in your new metal carport? The industry standard length for prefabricated carports are 21’, 26’, 31’, and up in 5’ increments. If you plan to use the steel carport for any purpose other than storing cars, like storing family bikes or other sports equipment, you may want to consider a longer custom steel carport. If you are looking to just store a standard mid-sized car, 21’ should suit you just fine.

Note: The roof of every structure is always longer than the base due to a 6” overhang on each end of the roof.

Side Height

Remember you still need to be able to get your vehicle into the custom metal carport! Steel carport height is measured by the side height, meaning the height on the sides of the structure, not from the very top point of the roof to the ground. Side height is used to make sure a vehicle can clear the lowest point of the carport. The standard option offered on metal carports is 6’ height with the height requirements increasing to 8’ for any structure 32’ or wider. If you have plans to enclose your carport in the future, it is best to get the necessary height now so the structure is tall enough for the garage door to be installed. Work with our customer service representatives to find the perfect height carport or RV cover for your needs.

Take a look here to learn more about measuring for your custom steel carport plans.

Steel Gauge Framing

What’s the difference between 14 gauge and 12 gauge framing?

Many first time carport and RV cover buyers ask about the difference in the 14 and 12 – gauge steel framing.
Our most economical option is the 14 gauge steel framing. This is the industry standard, measuring 2 ½” x 2 ½” in diameter.

The lower the gauge, the thicker and stronger the material. Our 12-gauge framing is 2 ¼” x 2 ¼” in diameter and has a higher tensile strength that provides higher snow load and wind load ratings. Which is why we recommend the 12-gauge steel for areas with heavy snow and high winds, as well as carports 10’ and taller.

The 14-gauge steel is the industry standard of frame thickness and the most nationally accepted gauge for carport and metal structures.
Both gauge options are structurally sound and will allow you to use the custom metal carport or RV carport structure safely. All of our gauge options can be certified, but we can only offer our extended warranty when you select the 12-gauge steel option.

Certification Considerations

Certified v. non-certified buildings

A certified building has been designed by an engineer and has ratings for wind and snow load. Some local ordinances require that you certify any building that you construct. The objective of the building codes is to insure safety and to protect the public. Some states, don’t require buildings to be certified because they may not have to worry about heavy snowfalls and high winds. Certain states require that any new structure constructed be certified. Some require all structures to be inspected, while others only require that occupied structures be inspected prior to people living or working inside. We are able to prepare and install custom metal carports and RV carports to meet the criteria for certification. When preparing your base for your carport or RV carport installation, please be sure that the ground is level and the concrete slab or asphalt slab poured is wide enough to support the carport and anchors. Please note there is no additional warranty on certified buildings. A certified building simply means the building is built to specifications and certified by a professional engineer to meet local building requirements.

If you do need to certify your building, you will likely need a copy of the blueprints for the inspector to review. Please speak with our customer service representatives to learn how to get a copy of the blue prints.

Additional Option

Additional options can be added to customize the carport for particular situations - customizations include:

GABLE ENDS – gable ends increase the appearance by concealing the frame and braces. It provides additional strength by added framing support and provides better protection for your vehicle. It’s much more expensive to add gable ends on after installation, so it’s important to consider adding them in right away.


Gable ends provide you with a nice finished look on your carport and will help reinforce the structure against harsh winds and weather conditions. All of our steel carports for sale can be customized with gable ends. The gable is the triangle of material that helps to enclose the very top portion of the metal carport. The enclosed roof helps to better protect your car and gives the custom carport a nice finish. This additional option can be added after installation, however Carport Central recommends adding a gable to your steel carport order before installation to save the additional installation trip and fees.


SIDE PANELS – panels can be added to the side of your custom carport to better protect the vehicle and provide extra strength to the framing. If you are purchasing an RV cover, taller than 10’ you should have at least one panel on each side of the unit for extra strength and stability.


Side panels add extra strength and support to your custom metal carport or RV carport. Side panels extend the roof and cover a portion of the steel carport sides. We recommend side panels for anyone who lives in areas of high winds, as the sides will help protect the structure and stabilize the metal carport. It is custom in the industry to install side panels on any structure over 10’ high, as the structure should be reinforced. Customers with units over 10’ high should strengthen the RV carport or custom steel carport by ordering at least one panel for each side of the unit for extra strength and stability. Our customer service representatives can help you pick the right side panel for your metal carport or RV carport.


J-TRIM – decorative trim applied to the edges of panels so they are not exposed for safety and it also gives the unit a nice finished look.


Add the perfect finishing touch to the custom steel carport or RV carport with J-trim. Not only does it create a nice finished look, but it also covers the edges of the panels for safety. We recommend this feature for homes with young children to increase the safety of the carport. All of our steel carports for sale can be customized with safety and style in mind.


BOWS AND TRUSSES – extra bows and trusses can be added to your custom metal carport or RV carport to make it stronger. Click here for more information.


Bows and trusses are another option to add strength and stability to your metal carport. Bows and Trusses are the structural supports that fit inside the roof of the structure and along the sides to better support and stabilize the metal carport design. If you live in an area of heavy snow or intense weather, you should consider adding the additional strength to your metal building. All of the metal carports for sale up to 24’ wide will include a bow, and all units wider than 24’ have a truss. Take a look at the additional ways to customize and strengthen your structure. Bows and Trusses can be added later to the custom metal carport but will include an additional fee to pay for the return trip.


ANCHORS – very important option, and can vary depending on your installation type.


Carport Central carports and RV covers can be anchored to concrete slabs, poured asphalt, or to solid ground. If you wish to certify your structure, anchoring your carport to a level concrete base is the best option. You will need to have a base ready at the installation site so our installation team can anchor your carport. To learn more about the different anchor types and ways in which our installation team anchors your structures, check out our blog post, or call our customer service representatives today.

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We offer 17 colors to customize your metal carport or RV cover.

Call our customer service representatives to see what colors are available in your area. You can customize the color of the roof, sides, and trim of your structure. Click on the colors for a closer look!

Installation & Site Prep


Make sure that you have leveled the installation area. If you are installing a certified building, the site must be level to within 3” front to back and side to side. If the site is not level when the installation team comes out to install the structure they may have to reschedule the installation for a later date, which will mean an additional fee for the return trip.

Overview of delivery and installation process

Our customer service representatives will contact you to schedule a delivery date and time. Please be sure to clear all debris and level the area on which you would like your new metal Carport or RV cover installed. On delivery day, our installation team will arrive with all tools necessary to install the custom carport on the level prepared site. They will drill the anchors, and construct the building. If you need to have your building certified, please let us know before the date of installation so we can get everything ready and have the blueprints to you before the metal carport or RV cover is installed on your leveled lot.

Site Prep Checklist

  1. Make sure the area is clear of debris
  2. Make sure the site is level, this is especially important if the building will be certified, as the building cannot be more than 3” off level from front to back or side to side in any application. If the site isn’t level the installation team will attempt to level at an additional charge.
  3. Make sure the installation team will be able to access the installation site, if there is more than a 50-foot difference between the installation site and the truck; you may be charged an additional service fee due to the additional time needed to complete your installation


Q: If I buy a carport just for weather coverage, why would I need side panels?


Purchasing side panels will give you better protection from the sun, wind, and rain. The side panels will give the structure more support and strength from back to front. Additionally, if you are purchasing a carport taller than 10’ or an RV cover taller than 10’ you should have at least one side panel for structural support. Panels can always be added later, however if you add panels after the initial installation, you will be charged a return trip fee. Take a look at the carports for sale and a few of the available side panel options, then talk with our customer service representatives to learn more about the benefits of the side panels.

Q: What can I customize on my carport?


We offer many customization options. Not only can you customize the roof, height, length, and width, but you can also find the color that best fits with your current structures. We offer many colors, but check for local availability by calling our customer service representatives.

Q: What carport height will I need?


That depends. If you intend to enclose your carport later and include a garage door, you will need to have a carport that stands at least 8’ tall at the leg height. If you have no plans to enclose your garage, you just need to make sure the vehicle you plan to store under the carport can fit. We measure height by leg height, not the roof height (tallest point in the structure). Talk to our customer service representatives to learn more about how to measure and get the correct height for your carport before ordering.

Q: What do I need to do to prepare for the installation?


This is a question frequently asked by first time buyers. To make sure the custom carport is installed in the safest and securest possible manner, it is important to prepare the surface and the foundation on which that the carport or structure will rest. The surface must be flat an easily accessible. If you are certifying your structure, we recommend the foundation be level within 3 inches from left to right and front to back. Be sure to remove any debris or vegetation from the area as well. Read all about installation here, where we discuss the best type of foundation, installation methods, and what to expect the day of installation.

Q: What is the difference between a carport and a garage?


A carport is generally not fully enclosed and can be reinforced using gables at the front and back of the carport. Most carports can be installed on either a concrete slab or on packed earth. A Garage on the other hand is an enclosed metal structure that can either have a large opening at one end for a manual or electric garage door. Even if you do not have a door on your garage, it is still considered a garage rather than carport. Many of our customers purchase carports and later fully enclose them to create a garage.

Q: Can a carport be enclosed into a garage later?


Yes, you can make additions to a building after it has been installed. If you know when you purchase your custom metal carport that you will want these add on features later on, please talk to the customer service representative to learn of what sizing provisions need to be made now and additional cost that will be involved in the future. All of the products listed can be customized to fit your needs at an affordable price. Take a look at some of the garage options available should you decide to upgrade.

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