Checkout Secure
⭐Over 5,000 5-STAR Reviews⭐

A Garage or a Carport: What’s the Difference?

A Garage or a Carport: What’s the Difference?

11 minute read

If you're looking for a way to store a vehicle such as a boat, an RV, or an extra car, you may have seen many similar products, including various types of garage and carport.  But what's the difference?

What is a Garage?

A portable garage is an outdoor storage building that is used to store items away from the elements. Many people utilize a garage to keep their vehicles or boats away from rain, wind, or snow. Owning an outdoor storage building can not only keep your belongings safe, it can help organize your life. Choosing the right garage depends on what you are storing and what you need out of your unit. There is a whole array of metal garage and tarp garage options to choose from.


What is a Carport?

Carports are typically constructed from four or more posts and feature either a metal or canvas roof. A carport is a great option for protecting your vehicle from the sun and direct rain. Although carports don't have any walls, the roof provides excellent protection from the sun's harmful UV rays, which can damage your vehicle's paint or even compromise the integrity of your vehicle's roof over time.


Should I choose a Carport or a Garage?

There are a few different factors that you should consider when deciding whether to purchase a carport or a garage to protect your vehicle. Specifically, there are four main factors that need to be considered: the climate in your local area, the size of your property, whether you rent or own your property, and the degree of versatility you need.


What's the Best Climate for a Carport?

The weather patterns in your local area are of the utmost importance when deciding whether to choose a carport or a garage. A carport is best suited to hotter, drier regions that receive less annual rain and snowfall; this is because the roof, and particularly a fabric roof, will not be able to support the weight of heavy rain buildup or snow. As such, if you live in a region that gets a lot of snowfall, then the roof on your fabric carport can be damaged relatively easily. A carport works very well in areas with year-round sun because they provide excellent protection from the sun and are also more affordable than garages.


Do you need a building permit for a carport or portable garage?

Typically, a building permit is required for any building or car garage over 200 square feet, however this can differ based on where you live. Unfortunately, there is not a universal answer for whether you need a permit to assemble a portable garage. While a portable canopy or instant garage may not need a permit, it's best to check with your local authorities for specific laws and policies in your town.  Since they’re considered “temporary and portable,” you typically won’t need a building permit for a tarp building. Choose a high-quality option, and you’ll have the confidence of knowing the structure is weather-resistant and easy to maintain.


Metal and Steel Carports and Canopies for Cars

There are a few different types of carports, most notably steel or metal carports and fabric or canopy carports. Of course, metal carport kits offer better protection because they are sturdier and can support more snow on the roof than their lighter fabric counterparts. That said, fabric carports are a great option in regions where heavy snowfall is less common, and they are also considerably cheaper. In some cases, fabric carports are even portable.


When you need unmatched durability and protection from Mother Nature, metal carports are a great investment. When you want long-lasting, all-weather protection, these carports are quality solutions that will stand the test of time.


The Arrow Carport

For a stylish and functional way to protect your vehicles from the elements, carports are an affordable and simple option for any property. These shelters are a practical solution for storing anything from boats to outdoor furniture.


For a carport that can withstand 100 MPH winds and a snow load of 35 PSF, look no further than the Carport from Arrow. This metal carport kit is specifically designed with inclement weather in mind, with a 10-year warranty! You can customize the width and length of your carport, from 10 or 12 ft. wide, all the way up to 100 ft. long. Covers are also available in some sizes. What’s so unique about this choice is it can withstand accumulated snowfall, which means your car, truck, or boat is safe from the elements. This high-quality carport also includes:

  • Premium powder coating providing corrosion and rust resistance
  • Easy installation with slip-fit connections
  • Heavy-duty galvanized steel roof in eggshell or charcoal finish
  • For metal carports made from hot-dipped and galvanized steel entirely, this attached patio cover/carport or freestanding carport will prove to be resilient and durable choices.

    Arrow Galvanized Steel Carport 12 x 20 x 7 ft.

    Arrow Galvanized Steel Carport 12 x 20 x 7 ft.


    The 12 x 20 ft. Carport from Arrow is a newly re-designed Carport and multi-use shelter that is wind and snow rated for maximum protection against the elements! Our carport features a galvanized steel roof with horizontal panels and an… Read More

    View Product

The “attached” carport option is perfect as an awning on your house or trailer. It will breathe life into your entryway while successfully shading your belongings from sun damage. The vinyl-coating over galvanized steel has 5 times the coating thickness of standard steel buildings. And the 15-year warranty is a bonus!


The “freestanding” steel carport is also ultra-strong with exceptional rust resistance thanks to its construction. The added bonus with this choice is its easy assembly with pre-cut, pre-drilled and labeled parts to ensure a successful DIY project.

The Samara Carport
If it's style you're looking for, it's hard to beat the beautiful and popular Samara carport.  This contemporary designed high-pitched roof carport offers a galvanized steel roof and sturdy rustproof aluminum frame to with-stand corrosion and harmful weather elements in almost any area. 

Sojag Samara 12 ft x 20 ft Dark Grey Carport

Sojag Samara 12 ft x 20 ft Dark Grey Carport


Protect your vehicle from the weather and elements with this stylish and durable Sojag Carport kit. It can be used as a carport or as a versatile shade structure for any picnic or backyard area. This contemporary designed high-pitched roof… Read More

View Product

The Pros and Cons of Metal Carport Kits

There are some pros and cons to metal carports. Let’s look at those now so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not a metal carport kit is the right choice for you.



  • Great protection from the sun
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Easy to install
  • Cost-effective


  • Limited protection from rain and snowfall
  • Not as sturdy as garages
  • Unlikely to increase the value of your property

Garage Options

If you’ve decided that you need a garage rather than a carport, then you have choices as well, be it the strong sturdy steel structure with a locking door or the fabric-covered tarp garage.  What you choose will be driven by how you intend to use it.


What Is an Outdoor Tarp Garage?

A tarp garage, sometimes called a “hoop building,” is typically made of a metal frame covered with fabric or “tarp.” The tarp is tensioned or tightened onto the frame using heavy-duty strapping or ratchets.  These buildings come in a wide range of sizes, making them perfect for anything from storing small equipment to bulk inventory storage.


Whether you are looking to store smaller items like gardening supplies, or large vehicles, ShelterLogic Group has a storage building for any space and budget. Choose from a variety of durable outdoor storage sheds, garages, carports and even custom storage shelters manufactured to stand up to rough weather that make your backyard storage hassle-free.


Benefits of Using a Tarp Garage

While permanent shed storage solutions certainly have their place, once you experience the flexibility offered by a fabric shed, you may never look back. You can set them up and take them down any time the need arises, allowing you to bring them with you to events or move them around your property to serve your exact needs at that time. This versatility can save you from the extra cost of having to buy multiple portable buildings.


Not only does a tarp building prevent you from having to make a long-term commitment, but it’s also easy to repurpose them. If you no longer need your shed for storage, you can find another creative use for it. This makes them perfect for anyone who wants extra shed storage on their property without having to worry about potential changes in the future.


If you need more space, you can also add on to your existing portable buildings. This will allow you to easily increase your storage capacity or expand your operations without having to do a complete overhaul.


Other Common Uses for Tarp Garages

Storing equipment and vehicles is the most common use for a tarp garage. However, there are many other creative uses for portable buildings. Here's a look at some of the most common. 

  • Storing Livestock Feed
    If you have animals, you may find that you can save a significant amount of money by purchasing their feed in bulk. However, if you don’t protect it from the elements, you could end up wasting your money. Storing your livestock feed in a quality storage shed will keep it dry, help you avoid mold, and protect it from hungry critters.
  • Off-Season Gear Storage
    Tarp buildings are perfect for storing landscaping equipment and supplies during the off-season. They’re also great for storing holiday décor, sports gear, pool toys, patio furniture, and other seasonal items. If you’re tired of trying to cram everything in the attic or garage when you no longer need it, adding a storage shed to your property is a great idea!
  • Vehicle Preservation
    Leaving your vehicle out in the elements is will quickly take its toll. Rain, snow, and hail can all lead to paint damage, corrosion, and damage to your suspension, drivetrain, and electrical system. If you don’t have a permanent garage on our property, adding a temporary garage or a carport is a cost-effective solution that will help keep your vehicles looking their best. You can also use your tarp building to safely store ATVs, RVs, boats, motorcycles, and more.
  • Commercial Storage
    Does your business stock up on inventory for the holidays or need extra supplies for the busy season? If so, adding a tarp building to your property can help you deal with shed storage issues. This is far more cost-effective than renting an off-site shed storage unit.


Choosing the Perfect Garage

Now that you’re aware of some of the creative ways to use a garage, you might wonder how to select the right outdoor storage building for your needs. To help you decide, take a look at some of ShelterLogic Group’s most popular garage products and the best uses for them.


  • Garage in a Box
    If you’re looking for a simple and affordable way to keep your vehicles safe from the elements, ShelterLogic’s Garage in a Box is an excellent option. The Compact model is perfect for small or medium cars and small trucks. If you have a larger vehicle, you'll want the SUV/truck model, which is larger and offers more clearance.

    Both are made with an all-steel frame that is powder-coated with a premium thermoset finish that prevents corrosion, rust, chipping, and peeling. The cover is made of triple-layer rip-stop polyethylene with UV treatment and antifungal agents. These elements combine to create a durable product that will provide dependable performance year after year.

    ShelterLogic Garage-in-a-Box SUV/Truck 13 x 20 ft.

    ShelterLogic Garage-in-a-Box SUV/Truck 13 x 20 ft.


    The Garage-in-a-Box 12 x 20 ft. delivers year-round protection for cars trucks, boats and more. Design features a peaked roof. Strong 1 3/8 In. steel frame and heavy-duty ripstop UV-treated 7.5 oz. waterproof fabric cover for a durable storage building.… Read More

    View Product
  • ShelterCoat
    Need to store lawn and garden equipment, patio furniture, pool supplies, ATVs, or small tractors? Consider a ShelterCoat garage. It comes in three different styles: barn-style, round, or with a peaked roof. This building also features two double-zippered doors, one in the front and one in the rear. This allows for both simple shed storage and easy access.

    ShelterCoat garages also come in a wide range of sizes, making them ideal for anything from storing small items in the backyard to bulk inventory storage.

    ShelterLogic ShelterCoat 15 x 28 ft. Wind and Snow Rated Garage Round Gray STD

    ShelterLogic ShelterCoat 15 x 28 ft. Wind and Snow Rated Garage Round Gray STD


    ShelterCoat garages are the ideal compact storage solution for ATVs, lawn and garden equipment, small tractors, patio furniture, pool supplies, tools and equipment and bulk storage. Choose from the largest selection of premium powder coated steel frame, fabric shelters in… Read More

    View Product
  • AutoShelter
    The AutoShelter Instant Garage is an excellent option for compact storage of lawn and garden equipment, tractors, ATVs, jet skis, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and other grown-up toys. It’s also ideal for wood storage and other types of bulk storage. This is a solidly constructed and affordable fabric structure that offers plenty of flexibility. You can choose either the standard style or a round-top, which is excellent for keeping rain and snow from collecting on the roof.

    ShelterLogic AutoShelter 10 x 15 ft.

    ShelterLogic AutoShelter 10 x 15 ft.


    The ShelterLogic AutoShelter 10 x 15 ft. Instant Garage shelter is an excellent compact storage solution for motorcycles, ATVs, jet skis, trailers, lawn and garden equipment, tractors, snow mobiles, wood or other bulk storage. A good quality fabric structure at… Read More

    View Product

  • The Murryhill Garage Series
    Add functional storage space and classic good looks to your property with the Murryhill garage, available in six sizes. This prefab building is thoughtfully designed to hold virtually anything you want to store. It features tall 73.75 in. walls topped with a high-gable roof for ample headroom and to ensure tall items and vertical storage shelves are never a problem. If you're storing wide or bulky items like a car, boat, or lawn equipment, you'll appreciate the 95 x 72 in roll-up door. In addition to storage, the Murryhill Garage makes a spacious and affordable workshop for all kinds of projects. It provides plenty of room for tool benches, woodworking tools, automotive equipment, and more. 

    Arrow Murryhill 12 x 17 Garage, Steel Storage Building, Prefab Storage Shed

    Arrow Murryhill 12 x 17 Garage, Steel Storage Building, Prefab Storage Shed


    Add functional storage space and good looks to your property with the Murryhill garage. This prefab building is thoughtfully designed to hold virtually anything you want to store. It features tall 73.75 in./ 187.3 cm walls topped with a high-gable… Read More

    View Product

« Back to Blog

Added to cart!
⭐Over 5,000 5-STAR Reviews⭐    Free Delivery Nationwide ⭐ Assembly Available! ⭐ Free shipping when you order over XX You Have Qualified for Free Shipping View Full Product Details ⭐Over 5,000 5-STAR Reviews⭐ You Have Free Shipping On This Order! Free shipping when you order over XX ou Have Qualified for Free Shipping