Installing/living with a car port?
June 9, 2005 4:51 AM   Subscribe

Car ports. How hard is it to install one yourself? Do your neighbors care if you put up a car port in your driveway?

I'm especially concerned about pouring the concrete myself. Is it worth paying someone else to do this? Also, if anyone's ever installed a port, any tips?
And how are neighbors likely to feel? I'm interested in any experience/suggestion/advice/recommendations (including brands/sources) on this.
posted by cushie to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
 
Regarding the "neighbors". Simple decision here, if there are no local ordinances to prevent this (and you pull the appropriate permits), keeping the neighbors happy is not your responsibility. If you care about them, go ask them what they think. (keeping in mind that neighbors frequently don't like change).

and, more info would be helpful here, car ports can be free standing or attached to a structure, wood, metal, fiberglass, tarps on a frame, etc....
posted by HuronBob at 5:25 AM on June 9, 2005


Cushie, no location in your profile... it generally helps with questions like this. E.g. If you live in Buffalo (snow!) a carport is an entriely different beast than Southern California (tremblers!) versus Gulf of Mexico (big winds!) versus... you get the idea.

Unless you are in a jurisdiction which requires no building permit (there may still be some hold-outs in the US) you have the local government to satisfy long before your neighbors. Even with approval, be a good neighbor. That means being good to the context in which you are building, not necessarily pleasing any one neighbor.

If you're handy, a car port is a relative easy thing to build. Like anything else, it requires following thoughtful methods. You should to talk to an engineer or experienced builder about sizing it structurally.

Even I, an architect for some years now, recently designed a carport by the "seat of my pants" only to have my engineer tell me the post footings (the carport* has no slab) were undersized (for uplift of all things).

*Carport is a relative term here. (Self-link approaching...) The thing is a beast.
posted by Dick Paris at 5:45 AM on June 9, 2005


Thanks for the responses so for.
More info: In North East US, very snowy area. I'm just looking into it, but I'm thinking freestanding, metal, along the lines of this.
The self-install ones seem to come with post footings which I presume are the right size to support the weight.
posted by cushie at 6:25 AM on June 9, 2005


"Do your neighbors care if you put up a car port in your driveway?"

Why are you asking us, and not your neighbors?
posted by rajbot at 6:47 AM on June 9, 2005


Actually- this is for a house I have not yet moved into, in a new area, hence the lack of zip code (transience) and conversation with neighbors. I will, of course, ask neighbors, obey city codes, be generally nice, etc. I was wondering about people's experience with doing this tho...
posted by cushie at 7:04 AM on June 9, 2005


The freestanding carports I've put up are the kind with 1.5" steel poles and stetched canvas covers. They are inexpensive and easy to install, but they are heavy, so you'll need a friend (or two) and a ladder.
posted by rajbot at 8:08 AM on June 9, 2005


The freestanding carports I've put up are the kind with 1.5" steel poles and stetched canvas covers. They are inexpensive and easy to install, but they are heavy, so you'll need a friend (or two) and a ladder. Installation takes less than an hour.
posted by rajbot at 8:09 AM on June 9, 2005


Sorry, posting from my cell phone and double-posted :(
posted by rajbot at 8:11 AM on June 9, 2005


Hey Dick Paris what kind of gutter are those on your "carport".

On the question: pouring concrete isn't hard, the hardest bit on a slab is getting it level and smooth. A 10X20 is pretty easy as you can use a 12' 2X6 as a scree/float but it gets a bit harder once you go wider than say 14'. Around here the place you buy your rebar from will do all the calculations you need for the rebar and the concrete place will figure out how much concrete you need. The kit you posted should be dead simple as long as your post pads are level with each other. The concrete anchor kit they include may incorporate some adjustability
posted by Mitheral at 8:26 AM on June 9, 2005


keeping the neighbors happy is not your responsibility.

I'm not sure this is the best way to think about this kind of problem. It takes more than just following official rules and laws to keep people living happily together.
posted by amtho at 9:05 AM on June 9, 2005


Mitheral: 5" half-round galvanized. Very common in the mid-Atlantic region. One of these days I'll get some drops on there...
posted by Dick Paris at 12:52 PM on June 9, 2005


A new area? As in new subdivision? Even if no convenants exist (aside from codes that is) your neighbors will care -- unless this new area is among trees and such. Think about the context...

I suppose the ultimate question is do you care to piss them off? Or, what amtho said.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:05 PM on June 9, 2005


Not a new subdivision, just a new area to me. It's a small town downtown, most house built 1890-1930ish, driveways between houses.
And no, I don't want to piss anyone off...
posted by cushie at 1:42 PM on June 9, 2005


But then you wouldn't be able to tell how hard it's raining by the distance the water is traveling out of the gutter. See its a feature not a bug.

Interesting the regional building practice variations. I don't think I've ever seen those out here.
posted by Mitheral at 2:08 PM on June 9, 2005


"most house built 1890-1930ish, driveways between houses."

This describes my neighborhood exactly (mine is full of lots of Craftsman-style bungalows). I think the main thing I would be concerned about (as a neighbor or as the carport builder) is whether a carport would look like a big ugly anachronistic monster next to the house. Build something that "goes with the neighborhood" and the neighbors probably will be OK with it; build something tremendously ugly, and it's another story. A carport can be done either way, of course.
posted by litlnemo at 3:06 PM on June 9, 2005


Craftsman bungalows- exactly right. Yes, I'm a bit concerned with how it looks. Something sturdy and wooden (like Dick Paris created) but able to hold a snow load, I think would be ideal.
posted by cushie at 1:47 AM on June 10, 2005


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