Is it Cheaper to Build a Carport or Buy One? (Easy Checklist)


In this article, we will be discussing the pros and cons of building a carport or buying one.

We’ll highlight key points for either side of the discussion and give you a good idea of the costs involved in either approach.

As well as looking at the various types of materials carports are made from and when it makes the most sense to use a particular material like wood or metal.

So let’s get into it…

Should I hire someone to build a carport for me? 

For most people, the answer is yes. It’s just faster and easier to leave the work to a professional.

When you get an estimate from your contractor of choice, you’ll probably be dazzled by dollar signs – but not in a good way. But remember, there’s a reason pros charge those prices. You’re paying for their:

  • experience
  • skills
  • tools and equipment
  • time

Most average Joe’s don’t have everything it takes to build a carport in a few days. However, if you have the construction skills, tools, and time on your hands to build a carport from the ground up, then go for it! 

Should I buy a Carport kit? 

Carport kits are a great compromise between DIY and pro installation. If you want to save some money without ending up with a bunch of extra materials you don’t need – or spending half your time running back and forth to the hardward store for items you forgot – then purchasing a kit can be an excellent option. 

Carport kits can be purchased at big-name home improvement stores and smaller retailers all over the U.S. You can also order them online from an even larger number of retailers and have them shipped. 

Carport kits come with everything you’ll need to build a complete carport: 

  • Anchor bolts for fastening the frame system to your concrete foundation (if one is present) 
  • Thick, square base railing that gives the carport a steady base 
  • Straight side wall pieces, plus curved ones for the top 
  • Peak and eave bend components for the roof
  • Sheet metal for the top (and sometimes sides)
  • All the fasteners you’ll need to put everything together

The only additional cost associated with a carport kit is establishing a level area to put it on. This can be done a couple of ways: 

  • leveling the ground, which will cost a few hundred dollars
  • pouring a concrete pad, costing an average of $2500 for 20 x 20 foot slab

If you have a level area to start with, you can keep that cash in your pocket!

You can purchase any style carport you like, from basic to elaborate, made of either wood or metal, so you aren’t limited to a basic design.

In many cases, you can see what the carport will look like fully assembled on-site or, at the very least, online.

This is a benefit that you won’t get if you’re working with a builder who can only show you blueprints. 

Most carport kits can be delivered to your site, saving you even more time and hassle, and it’s there whenever you are ready to begin. 

A word of warning about carport kits: Read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting. Some basic questions before you purchase include the following: 

  • What comes with it? If you’re going to have to buy sheet metal or fasteners, you’ll have added costs and won’t be able to get started when your kit comes in. 
  • What kinds of results can you expect? Read reviews to determine the quality of the product you’re getting when installed by homeowners like yourself. 
  • Can it be expanded later? Needs change over time, so buying a carport kit that can be expanded or repurposed at a later date will give you plenty of options without too much added cost. 

What are the pros and cons of building a carport myself?


  • Customized designs. You can take liberties when you’re building your own carport that might be out of budget if you asked a contractor to do. 
  • Save money. If you’re really confident in your skills and have all the tools you’ll need on hand, installing a carport yourself can save you thousands in labor. 
  • Learn new skills. Doing a project yourself will teach you more than you’ll ever learn on a theoretical level. Just go into the project with plenty of patience and no deadline! 
  • Sense of accomplishment. There’s nothing like the pride you’ll feel when you’ve completed your very own carport, and you’ll keep enjoying it for many years to come! 


  • Takes up your valuable time. A contractor can do the same work in a fraction of the time because they do it every single day. What takes a pro just a few hours could take you days or weeks. 
  • Frustration. A project of this magnitude can’t be done alone, but if you’ve ever installed or built anything with family or friends, you know the process can test your relationships. 
  • It’s dangerous. From pinched fingers to a major medical emergency, constructing a carport of any size can put anyone involved in danger. 
  • (Potentially) lose money. In all fairness, we did say that saving money is a pro of building a carport yourself. But if things go wrong, you could spend a lot more in the long run correcting mistakes or buying tools and extra materials – or, worst case scenario, hiring a professional contractor to come in and finish the project when you give up. 

If you’re enjoying this article then why not check out these related articles after finishing this one:

Which Garage Door Opener Is The Quietest?

What Does a Smart Garage Door Opener Do?! Let’s find out

5 Reasons Carports Protect Your Car From Frosty Winters

Can A Carport Be Built On A Slope (Important Facts)

Are Wooden Carports cheaper to build than buy?

Can A Carport Be Built On A Slope

No. You can just about bet that building a wooden carport from scratch is going to cost more than buying a carport kit.

When you buy a carport, all the materials are figured exactly, so you won’t have to pay for anything you won’t need. 


More specifically, a professionally built wooden carport will run you a little over $7,000 (on average). Here’s what you’ll get for that price: 

  • attached carport with 2 sides (3 total) 
  • 20 x 20 base, large enough to fit 2 cars
  • metal or asphalt roof

The foundation is not included for a project of this size, so you’ll need to figure in the cost of leveling or pouring a concrete foundation. 

You can save up to $3,000 on labor by buying all the materials and building a carport yourself.  


At most home improvement stores and online, you can buy wooden carport kits that you can assemble yourself, or you can hire a contractor or handyman to do the work. These wooden carports start under $3000. 

These kits typically come with the following specs, but the options for upgrades are limitless: 

  • 12 x 16 base, large enough for one car
  • completely enclosed by 3 walls and a garage door on the 4th wall
  • metal or asphalt roof

Flooring is not typically included with these carports, either. And you’ll need to figure in the additional labor costs if you are going to have someone else assemble your carport. 

Going with a roof-only style would obviously reduce the cost of building or buying a wooden carport. 

Are Metal Carports cheaper to build than buy?

No. The trend continues here with metal carports. Buying a metal carport is going to be cheaper than building from scratch, especially if you hire a contractor. 

The following rates are examples based on a 20 x 20 base with roof only (no sides). The cost of a metal carport isn’t affected much by whether its constructed of aluminum or steel, and the materials are comparable in terms of durability. 


A covered metal carport installed by a contractor will range from $3500 to $4000, a good bit cheaper than their wooden counterparts.

Buying the materials yourself and building your own metal carport will save you $500 to $1000 in labor. 


You can purchase a metal carport starting at about $2000, which is a very affordable option. These varieties are going to have a roof but no sides.  

Just like with wood carports, these metal varieties are going to need a foundation. In either case, flooring will cost the same whether you build or buy.

How to floor your metal carport  is a decision you will need to make based on the carport’s intended use and benefits. 

Key takeaways

If you’re looking for an afforadable carport, material matters. Metal is cheaper than wood, but there isn’t a lot of difference in the cost of different types of metal carports (aluminum versus steel).

You’ll also have to allot enough money in your budget to prepare the foundation. This preparation will not be affected by the type of structure you choose. 

DIY is cheaper than paying a pro, obviously, but you’re assuming a lot of risk and responsibility for between $500 and $3000, depending on the carport you’ve chosen.

Building a carport will give you a lot of freedom in the design, but there are a thousands of carport designs that are available for purchase. 

Carport kits can save you even more money by providing you with exactly what you need. You won’t have any excess materials, and your going to get the expected result unless the project goes way off course. 

Hiring a trusted professional or building a carport yourself will give you a functional, attractive carport that increases the value of your property, but buying one can give you those same great benefits! 

If you’re enjoying this article then why not check out these related articles after finishing this one:

Which Garage Door Opener Is The Quietest?

What Does a Smart Garage Door Opener Do?! Let’s find out

5 Reasons Carports Protect Your Car From Frosty Winters

Can A Carport Be Built On A Slope (Important Facts)

Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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