Carports Comparison: Steel Carport vs Aluminum Carport

We have already discussed the many benefits of a metal carport over a wooden carport or a vinyl carport. Metal carports have higher structural strength, greater durability and more affordable cost than the carports made with other construction materials. But, even when you have decided that a metal carport for sale available in the market is the right choice for you, the decision as to which metal carport you should buy does not get any easier. There are many types of metal carports that are out there on offer, that finding the best shelter for the protection of your vehicles and belongings can be a tough job indeed. Today we will discuss and compare two of the most common types of metal carports; a steel carport and an aluminum carport.

Even though aluminum and steel have, very recently, gained massive popularity and usefulness in the construction industry, they have very specific roles and each is better for a certain use than the other. There are various material characteristics of steel and aluminum that differentiate the effectiveness and the functionality of carports made out of these materials.

Strength of Steel Carport vs. Aluminum Carport

An aluminum carport is comparatively lighter in weight than a steel carport. While light-weight might seem like a beneficial quality to have, it works as a drawback for an aluminum carport. Lighter weighing aluminum carport has a less structural strength and cannot withstand heavy loads as effectively as the heavier steel carport. For an aluminum carport to attain the same amount of structural strength and stability as a steel carport, the thickness of all the components should be significantly increased. The more the thickness of the components of an aluminum carport is increased, the more uneconomical it becomes compared to a steel carport.

Durability of Steel Carport vs. Aluminum Carport

The high structural strength of steel carports means that these carports are able to last for a longer period of time than the aluminum carports. An aluminum carport is much more susceptible to denting and deforming due to various impacts. For example, a hailstorm can leave damage an aluminum carport more severely than a steel carport. An aluminum carport can completely fail if it is left exposed to heavy snow loads on the roof for a long period of time. Even very light impacts, like a kick of the ball, accidental bumps from vehicles can cause denting on aluminum metal sheets.

Whereas, a steel carport can handle sustained snow, wind loads as well as daily use without showing any signs of damage or deterioration. For people living in areas that face brutal weather conditions frequently throughout the year, a steel carport might be the way to go. Additionally, a steel carport does not dent as easily as an aluminum carport. The higher weight of steel also makes a steel carport more structurally stable and anchors it to the ground more effectively so that the carport remains standing even during strong winds or seismic conditions.

Resistance against Corrosion

Aluminum, as a material is very resistant to corrosion. Aluminum components, from the very beginning, consists of a layer of aluminum oxide which protects the base metal from further corrosion by cutting off the contact between the base metal and the atmosphere. Technically, since aluminum is not an alloy of iron but rather an element itself, it cannot rust. Rusting is specific to iron and iron alloys, like steel.

For outdoor structures like carports, which are constantly exposed to the various weather conditions and moisture, not being damaged by moisture is an important quality to have. Steel, by itself, is very prone to rust and damage through corrosion. But fortunately, almost all of the steel components and steel carports that are manufactured today are provided with a protective coating against rust. Galvanization is a process of coating the steel elements with a layer of zinc which forms a barrier between the base metal and moisture in the atmosphere. This is, by far, the most popular option of making steel carports rust and corrosion resistant. A galvanized steel carport is not affected by moisture and can last for a couple of decades, at the least, even with very minimal maintenance.

Affordability of Steel Carport vs. Aluminum Carport

A steel carport is a much more affordable option than an aluminum carport. This is because the extraction of aluminum from the ores is much more costly and difficult than the extraction of steel. Steel carports come with additional features like gables and side panels to increase the protection against the elements. But even if you choose to purchase a steel carport with all these features, the cost of the carport, most likely, will be less than an aluminum carport.

Pros and Cons of Steel Carport vs. Aluminum Carport

Steel Carport

Pros:

  • Structurally strong, durable and long-lasting.
  • Galvanized steel carport offers resistance to rust.
  • Does not dent or deform with light or heavy impacts.
  • An affordable option for sheltering your vehicles and other valuables.
  • Able to withstand harsh weather conditions like heavy rainfall, snowfall, strong winds, hailstorms, etc. without being damaged.

Cons:

  • Any scratches on the surface of the galvanization can cause the steel carport to rust. Hence, a steel carport requires a more thorough inspection of the carport from time to time to make sure that there are no surfaces which are left exposed to atmospheric moisture. But with regular, minimum maintenance steel carports can last for a very long time without corroding.

Aluminum Carport

Pros:

  • Naturally rust resistant and does not corrode easily. Hence, is much more suitable in areas along the coastline which are subjected to salt air and in areas which experience constant, heavy rainfall and humid temperatures.
  • Lightweight of an aluminum carport means that it is the more portable carport than a steel carport.

Cons:

  • More expensive than a steel carport.
  • Much more susceptible to denting and deforming.
  • Not suitable in places where extreme weather conditions, like hailstorms, heavy snow, etc. are frequent occurrences.
  • A light-weight aluminum carport is also less structurally stable than a steel carport. Anchoring the carport to the ground requires greater attention and effort in cases of aluminum carport than a steel carport.

All things considered, if you are looking to provide a sturdy and durable shelter to your vehicles and valuables at an affordable price, then a steel carport is the obvious choice. For high-quality, galvanized steel carports, always remember Carport1. We offer steel carports with a wide range of customization options, which you can use to design and build your metal carport as per your specific parking and storage needs.