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Thursday, February 09, 2012
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What is a Carport?

carportMany people may not really understand what a carport is. It's a word or term that can often be misunderstood. Some may think of it as a tiny garage.

In the simplest terms, a carport is a shelter or covering for a car or any other type of vehicle.

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The history of the carport actually goes back more than 100 years. The word "carport" comes from the French term "porte-cochere", which refers to a covered portal. The early carports were common pieces of architecture in homes and hotels in the 19th century. The carports provided shelter from rough weather for pre-automobiles. These were vehicle like carriages and buggies.

carportThe term "carport" is credited to first being used by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He began using a carport for the first of his designed middle-income family homes that were built in Madison, Wisconsin back in 1936. Wright apparently said of the carport, "A car is not a horse and it doesn't need a barn."

The basics of those early carports are still the basics of the current models. Carports can be either free-standing or attached to a wall. Unlike many free-standing structures, carports do not have four walls. They may have one or two. This of course means you don't need a garage door or garage door opener to access a carport. Another way carports differ from garages is storage space. Carports tend to have less space than a garage because a carport is designed to be, first and foremost, shelter for a vehicle.

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Many times you will find a carport at the front of a home, leading into the main driveway. Sometimes free-standing carports are found off to the side of the home.

Carports may be built from several different types of material. Steel carports are considered to be the strongest and most durable. Galvanized steel carports feature roofs finished with zinc to keep the roof resistant to rust.

Carports in the U.S. tend to be modular in style while carports in other parts of the world tend to have flat roofs. The carports are recognized as being an economical and reliable way to protect vehicles from wear-and-tear and weather. They also offer versatility. Carports can be used to protect seasonal and recreational vehicles like motorhomes and trailers. For example, putting an RV into private storage for the winter months can be very expensive. A portable canopy or metal carport can prove to be a lot more economical. Plus, unlike the private garage rental space or storage facility, the carport can be set up in the owner's yard.

Many carport retailers offer several different types of carports and canopies, designed to protect vehicle of all shapes and sizes. Portable storage facilities with galvanized steel can offer protection from sun, snow, sleet and rain. This is especially helpful for parking and protecting vehicles in the winter. Some metal carports are designed to support several pounds of snow per square foot. There are also larger portable carports designed to provide cover to more than one vehicle. Many of these portable carports come in easy-to-assemble kits.

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