Even after you've decided that a metal carport is the best choice for storing your vehicle, you need to pick the perfect size. Carports are available in practically any custom configuration, but there are a few common widths based on the manufacturing methods and materials. Deciding how many vehicles you'll be storing in the same structure will help you choose just the right width, length, and height. These structures can cover anything from a single compact car to a fleet of heavy equipment, so consider these common size categories when making your decision.
Standard Single Vehicle
Basic one vehicle carports generally need a minimum width of at least 12 feet to accommodate a passenger car, truck, or van. This is enough width to allow doors on both sides of the vehicle to fully open without hitting the walls. 14 and 16 feet widths are also common for single-vehicle carports where a little extra storage space is designed. Extra-wide garage doors may require a wider than normal carport width to support the weight of the frame.
Double Wide Options
If you're aiming to store at least two vehicles side by side at the same time, you'll want a carport with a width between 18 and 24 feet wide. 18 feet will only accommodate compact cars comfortably, while 20 to 22 feet is enough for most passenger cars, smaller SUVs, and small trucks. Full-sized vans and trucks may require 24 feet width to open the doors of both vehicles without conflict. Twin sets of matching garage doors can be centered on any even-numbered width measurement with ease, but don't forget to consider the space needed for accessories like powered lifts and automated sensors when checking carport layouts.
Sizing for Trucks and Oversized Vehicles
When you're storing service body trucks, cargo vans, and similar oversized vehicles in a carport at your home or business, you'll need to expand both the width and length of your carport. A 21 length is the standard size of the smallest carport, but you can generally extend or shrink the length by any amount in 5-foot increments. A 26 or 31 foot long length is often a better choice for commercial vehicles or heavy equipment since they're usually longer than standard trucks and cars. Extending the length is also a good option for additional storage in front of the vehicle, especially if you want to install permanent shelving and cabinets against an end wall.
Commercial Storage Options
Storing a crane truck, front end loader, or other large commercial equipment, you'll likely need a height boost too. Extra width and length won't compensate for a low door height if you stick with a standard carport design. Bump up the height by at least 3 to 5 extra feet for vehicles with truck bed additions like cranes and booms, or you may need up to 10 to 12 feet in additional height for box trucks and other tall vehicles. Take accurate measurements of the highest point of a vehicle then add at least 4 to 5 feet to the total height so that the side height is sufficient for a door with a lot of vertical space.
RV Height and Width Considerations
RVs and fifth wheel campers can require oversized doors with a minimum height of 9 to 12 feet to compensate for attached antennas, satellite dishes, and roof-mounted AC units. This isn't just added to the total roof height, but just to the door height itself. This means that the carport may need even more height added to it to leave enough of a slope on the roof to rapidly shed water. RVs also tend to push the maximum 8 foot width for road-legal vehicles, requiring a 16 to 20 foot carport width rather than a minimal 12 foot width. Measure the total length of the RV and add 4 to 8 feet so you can pull in easily without having to squeeze too close to the front wall just to close the door.
Top Height and Side Height
Finally, don't forget that the total top height of the roof's peak is different than the side height. Side heights measure the highest point of the side walls, which limits the height of the garage doors installed on the structure. If you have a 9 foot tall RV and buy a carport that only has a maximum top height of 10 feet at the gable, your RV is unlikely to make it through the bay door. Check both the top and side height of a structure before assuming it will fit a particular vehicle inside of it.
With these figures, you should have a rough idea of the measurements you need for your carport. Try laying out the various sizes with some contractor's tape to get a feel for various combinations of dimensions.