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Metal carport sizes – what is the right size for you?


When it comes to metal carport sizes and dimensions, the most common question asked by our customers is, “What size carport should I get?”Always our response to that question is, “How will your carport be used?” Since there are a variety of uses for metal car port shelters, the first determination is always the use. You may need a car shelter for a single vehicle, an ATV, a large RV or motorhome, two compact cars, two full-size extended cab trucks, a larger travel trailer or for a large motorhome. Because of these varied uses, there’s really not just a standard size. We will cover how the industry classifies carport shelters in length, width, and height in order to help you make a better decision.

Carports and car shelters are generally classified by width for single carports, double carports, and triple carports by most manufacturers. A 12’ wide unit is called a single carport or single-wide carport. Units that are 18’ wide to 24’ wide are classified as double carports and units that are 26’ wide to 30’ wide are called triple carports.  However, those width classifications are quite generalized. A 12’ wide unit will accommodate most single vehicles but if your planned use is for a long trailer or motorhome with slide-outs, you might want to consider going wider. If you are adept at backing a long trailer into a narrow space and have ample room to maneuver, a 12’ wide unit would probably be fine. If the space to maneuver is tight, then you may want to consider going wider

As for the double carport class, an 18’ wide unit is good for two very small cars and yes, you can fit two mid-size cars in that 18’ wide unit but the chances of bumping your car doors over the carport posts or the adjacent vehicle are much greater. A good rule of thumb to determine the best width for your carport is to park both vehicles side by side, with ample room to get out of the vehicles, measure the distance outside to outside of the vehicles, then add a minimum of 6’.  It may increase your expected cost in the short term but if this carport is permanent and will be used by you for the next 15 to 20 years, you might just regret having to squeeze into that unit for a decade or more! Almost always, customers that purchase 18’ wide units tell us that if they could do it over, they would buy a wider unit.

Much of the same consideration should also be given to the height of the unit. Most companies offer side heights of 5’ to 12’ tall.  We do not offer metal carports that are 5’ tall because they are too short! Depending on the roof style that you select, the clearance heights are different. For a regular style carport, you can about 1’ in side height at a distance a foot away from the side posts or legs. For vertical roof carport and boxed eave carport, you gain about 8” at that same distance. Since the uses are varied, from cars, to campers, to motorhomes, it’s wise to measure what you are placing in the carport and then make the determination on the height.

In regard to height, careful consideration should be given to determining the height on RV carport coversand motorhome car port shelters. In most instances, the maximum height for recreational vehicles is 13’ tall at the air conditioner in the center of the RV. If the center clearance on a motorhome is 13’, a unit that is 11’ or 12’ tall is tall enough because of the roof pitch. You wouldn’t want the unit too tall for several reasons:

  • Price – Don’t pay for something you don’t need
  • Cover and Protection – A unit that is too tall would not shade and shelter the unit as well
  • Stability – The taller the unit, the greater the uplift factor when it comes to wind load

As with the other dimensions discussed, metal carport length should also be considered. The industry standard rooflengths are 21’, 26, 31, and up in 5’ increments. A length of 21’ will shelter two standard cars. Rain may blow in on the ends of the unit but that length still provides adequate shelter. If you have a larger truck or an extended cab truck, 26’ is the way to go. For RVs and travel trailers, a length of 5’ longer than the vehicle or trailer is recommended.

If you are considering a utility carport or a carport with storage building and will be using the carport to park your car, a minimum of 21’ in length is recommended to shelter cars and 26’ for longer trucks. For example, if you have and extended cab truck, a car, and want a 10’ enclosed storage building on the end of your carport, applying the recommendations above, you would need a 26’ long carport shelter and a 10’ long storage building, making the unit total length of 36’ long.

Additionally, there are a few other things you might want to consider when selecting your carport’s dimensions. Many times, customers utilize their carport for more than just parking their cars. That new carport in might just shelter your cars and a few other items, six months from now. Those metal carport canopies are perfect for providing shelter for the grill. They are great to provide cover when grilling out while it’s raining! Your new carport might also provide cover for the kid’s bikes, that new push mower, or it might even become a good place to stack firewood at the end of the unit to keep it dry during those winter months. When you find additional uses for that great shelter, the end of your vehicles are exposed to the elements, again, and you may have wished you had gone with a wider or longer unit.

When it comes to metal carport dimensions, you will want to consider all of these points before you make your final decision. If your need or use is only for the short term, these points aren’t as critical. If the unit will be utilized for the long term, then you may want to consider the long-term possibilities. Most everyone agrees, you can never have enough space –or shelter!

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