October 26, 2018

Change your carport into a multi-season living space

California model

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to extend the temperate summertime a little longer and enjoy extra time outdoors relaxing? If you have a carport, why not turn it into a living space where you can spend more family time or entertain friends? Here are some tips to help you get your project off the ground.

Start with a plan… to avoid problems down the road

If you kick off a project like this without a good plan, you run the risk of exceeding your budget. First and foremost, determine if you will be able to dedicate your carport during the warmer seasons to this new “Florida room”. Do you accept that It will remain as shelter for your vehicles during the colder months, then transform into your sanctuary when temperatures warm up?

Decide, as well, how you want to set up this living space. An existing carport has at least three walls opening to the outside, so:

  • To what extent will there be walls or windows on the 3 walls?
  • If the space between you and your next-door neighbor is restricted, you will most likely access your new living space from the front and rear of your house. Instead of using a small access door, why not consider installing garage doors, front and back, as stylish movable walls?

To explore your options, look into getting assistance from an architect or architectural technician. They will be able to organize and structure the work to be done, and help you avoid surprises such as cost overruns.

How much should be budgeted for a transformation of this kind?

As you can imagine, it depends on how far you want to go, but plan on between $10,000 and $20,000. Construction costs can be reduced if:

  • you don’t change the carport floor, often asphalt, into concrete,
  • you don’t lay footings or pour concrete walls,
  • there is not an extensive addition of electric wiring or plumbing.

To get a ballpark figure of construction costs, you can break them down as follows: 40% of the amounts shown in the link below are for materials and 60% are for labor. This distribution might just inspire you do save money by doing some of the work yourself if you are at least a little handy manually.

For a more extensive explanation of the work that goes into turning a carport into a garage, refer to this text.

What if I’d like to maximize natural light?

Different possibilities present themselves, mainly based on the ease of access and traffic flow you want to provide.

  • If the front side of your carport is reasonably wide, you have various options. For instance, if your façade (from the house to the supporting post of the carport) is 12 ft. (3.6 m) wide, you might decide to put a 9-foot (2.7 m) overhead garage door both in the front and back.
  • The front wall could be equipped with an all‑glass garage door, like the California model from Garaga. Another option is to select a contemporary style door with wide 40" x 13" (102 x 33 cm) windows available for all Garaga door models.
  • As for the rear “wall”, you need to determine how often you’ll be passing through the carport to access your backyard. A possible case could be if you store an ATV in a backyard shed. Then it would be best to install a garage door in the rear wall. Based on the size of each garage door, you can place these two doors back to back if your space is at least 22′ (6.7 m) deep, especially if you want to put electric openers on both doors.
  • A reminder: if you are equipping the space with a garage door using a door opener, the depth (backroom) for this new space is the height of the door plus 48″ (1.2 m). With no door opener, only 28″ (71 cm) are needed.
  • As for the longer side wall, you’ll get more than enough natural light if you install a bank of double-paned windows on a low (36″ or 90 cm) wood or brick wall.
  • The rear wall in addition can be finished like the side wall, with double-paned thermo windows. Choose the best option for you.
  • Lastly, depending on the level of privacy or temperature you are after, you can close the front garage door and leave the rear one open to enjoy views and access to your backyard.

When it comes to choosing the type of glass for the garage doors, again it depends on how much privacy you want. There are numerous options, from clear, satin, or gray tinted glass to even translucent polycarbonate. Ask to see samples and do your own tests.

Ready to get started?

The next step is to contact us toll-free at 815-692-6690 so we can explain how to properly prepare the openings to your new living space. We know garage doors better than anyone else and can advise you and explain the best choice to make based on your precise needs while respecting your budget. If you’d like, we can send you a quotation by email.

Alternately, you can come and meet us at our showroom. To help you in making your choice, use our Design Centre to choose the garage door style that suits you best. For some inspiration, take a look at our image gallery.

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