How To Raise & Jack up Carports (Metal & Wood Varieties explained)

You own a carport, and now, for whatever reason, it isn’t tall enough to meet your needs.

You should know that it isn’t necessary to tear it down and start over with a new carport.

Instead, you can raise it so that you can avoid the cost of a replacement!

Read on for information about carports and advice on how to jack up yours…

What’s the standard height of a carport?

The standard height of a carport is 12 feet, but this can vary. The precise center height of your carport will be determined by the height of the carport’s side support poles, the width of your carport, and its roof style.

The wider the carport, the greater will be its center height.

Twelve feet high is sufficient to easily accommodate standard cars and small trucks. This size of a carport will also handle most other vehicles because Class A RV’s and Class C Motorhomes typically have an average height of only 10 feet.

Class B Motorhomes are a little smaller with an average height of between 7 and 9 feet.

If you are thinking about buying a carport, think about what you are going to be using it for to make sure that you get one with enough height to meet your needs.

If you are considering raising your existing carport, make sure that you have considered all your needs before embarking on this project.

Side note: Height is important, but spend some extra time thinking about the width of your carport, too, because its width will determine the amount of working space you will have for cleaning, maintaining, loading, and unloading if you want to do these things under roof.

As mentioned earlier, it will also influence your center height.  

What types of carports are there?

Most carports are made from either wood or metal. There are advantages to both, so in most cases, it gets down to your personal preferences.

Advantages of wooden carports

Wooden carports definitely cost more, but they are still favored by many people for these reasons:

  • They tend to be more aesthetically pleasing. Wood looks warm and natural and the carport can be designed to complement your home.
  • They are versatile. You can determine the size, color, and shape of your structure as you see fit. And, if you grow tired of its appearance or decide to change the color of your home, you can simply paint or stain your carport to match.
  • Wood has great strength. Wooden structures last a long time, and may outlast you!
  • Wood is durable. A wooden carport will hold up against the roughest wind and most inclement weather. Another benefit is that it won’t get dings and dents from the doors of your vehicle.

The only potential downside to wooden carports is that you have to maintain them every few years with a fresh coat of paint or stain, and depending on your climate, you may have to occasionally remove mildew or mold.

Advantages of metal carports

Metal carports are your most popular and least expensive choice for carports. Here are some of the other reasons for their popularity:

  • Metal carports require very little time to erect when compared to wooden carports.
  • Metal is a strong material. If you choose the right metal your carport can withstand heavy winds.
  • Metal holds up. You don’t have to worry about cracks, insects, rot, mildew, or mold.
  • Metal isn’t flammable. Metal carports are resistant to fire.

Many people choose metal carports because they are virtually maintenance-free. If you want to wash them, all you have to do is hose them down.

Why would you want to raise a carport?

Carports are wonderfully versatile structures. Consequently, the ways that you use them can change over time.

When that happens, you may find yourself needing a taller structure. Common reasons to raise a carport might include:

  • It had been used only for equipment storage, and now you want to put a car or small truck inside
  • It had been used for a car, and now you need to protect an RV or larger truck
  • It had been used for a car, but now you also need storage space on top

Whatever your reasons for wanting to raise your carport, you should know that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do by yourself.

You will want to have at least one, but preferably three helpers.

How to raise a wooden carport

Increasing the height of a wooden carport can be more challenging than raising a metal carport.

The approach you choose will be influenced by the design and complexity of the structure.

A standard, open-sided carport isn’t too difficult. The most important thing here is to make sure that you properly brace it so that it doesn’t collapse or tilt on you while you are doing the job.

You can start by renting some farm jacks, and use them to gradually lift your carport off the ground. Make sure that the structure is stable, and then build a knee wall that will become the foundation of your new, taller carport.

Use proper construction techniques to ensure that your knee wall has a solid base so that it doesn’t sink or shift in the future.

Now you can lower the carport onto the knee wall and then bolt it securely into place.

If your wooden carport is more elaborate, your most practical approach to a taller structure may be to raise the roof. This is a lot of work. 

Your first step is to remove the roof panels, decking, and rafters. The good news is that some of this material, particularly the rafters, should be reusable if you take care when removing them.

Once the roofing material has been removed, you can build walls onto the girders. Now you can reassemble your roof.

How to raise a metal carport

Depending on the size and height of your existing structure, you are most likely going to have to begin by disassembling and removing the roof. Once this is done, you have some options.

Your best course is to first contact the manufacturer of your carport.

They may well sell metal support pole extenders that are designed to fit your specific carport.

The next option is to check with your local retailers to see if they sell metal support pole extenders that can work with your structure.

Once your support pole extensions are in place, it’s time to reassemble the roof and enjoy your taller structure.

Alternatively, you can dig your existing support poles out and replace them with new, taller footings that will give you the extra height that you are looking for.

You can use a shovel to dig out your support post and then dig an appropriately-sized hole for your new footing.

Start by pouring a few inches of cement into the bottom of the hole, which should be a few inches wider than the Sonotube you’ll be using in order to create a sturdy platform.

Foundation site of new building, details and reinforcements with steel bars and wire rod, preparing for cement pouring

Sink two or three pieces of rebar into the platform to ensure structural support. Make sure that the rebar is a few inches shorter than the top of your Sonotube.

Now you can flange-mount your support poles atop your taller footings and then reassemble the roof.

Common problems raising a carport

Raising a carport is not for the faint of heart. It involves many hours of planning and hard work and intense attention to detail.

Here are some of the things you must be aware of:

Safety. Carports are often flimsy structures with little cross bracing. Whenever you are jacking up a structure, using a variety of tools, moving heavy material around, or working with a variety of sharp edges, you can easily be injured. Use all appropriate personal safety equipment, that you plan the job out well so that you can follow each step safely.

Equipment. Whether you own the equipment, borrow it, or rent it, you may be using unfamiliar tools to perform tasks that are also unfamiliar.

As part of your planning, make sure that you identify all the tools and equipment that you will need for each step of the job. Also, make sure that all of your equipment is in good working order.

Stability. Whether you are disassembling or assembling or lifting the structure, it is important to pay attention to its structural integrity throughout every step of the process.

You don’t want the structure or any dangerous materials to fall on you. Once you are finished, double-check to ensure that the structure is safe and sound.

Help. You probably cannot raise your carport by yourself, and even if you can, you shouldn’t because it is very difficult and can be dangerous.

Your best bet is to enlist the help of some friends who are somewhat familiar with the tools and equipment you plan to use.

The good news is that you can usually recruit effectively with beer and barbeque.

Alright guys, that’s it for this article, if you are interesting in reading more about carports, we have lots of cool articles related such as:

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

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

5 Reasons Carports Protect Your Car From Frosty Winters

Do Inflatable Carports Work? (Things You Should Know)

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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