Carports are a popular alternative to having an additional garage built to protect a car or boat. In hot climates such as South Africa a carport provides shade for a vehicle that might otherwise have to park all day in the sun making it extremely unpleasant to enter a car that is hot and stuffy. Carports can also protect vehicles from other elements such as rain and hail.

What exactly is a Carport.
A carport comprises a structural frame across which a shade material fixed to provide shade cover for a vehicle which is parked beneath it. There are a wide range of coverings that can be used in the construction of a carport including shade cloth or shade net, fibreglass, Chromadek, or Zincalume. Carports with shade net or shade cloth are more commonly referred to a Shadeports. Carports not only provide shade but also protect vehicles from the rain and hail damage. The structural frame of the car port can vary greatly in terms of material, method of construction and design. Timber frame carports are suited to creating individual shade spaces for private and domestic use and can be designed to complement the existing design of the house. Timber carports tend to be more custom made carports, built individually to the clients required specification. Steel frame carports are usually made from tubular steel and are suitable for both domestic use and for providing shade for multiple parking spaces in office parking lots.

Some carport and awning companies manufacture, supply and install only wood framed carports while others manufacture supply and install only steel framed carports and I imagine there are those that do both equally well.  Each carport company has their own carport design irrespective of whether they are manufacturers of wooden or steel framed carports.

Types of Steel Carports.
There are a number of options as far as steel framed carports are concerned. The first comprises a structure supported by four tubular steel legs each of which is either fixed to the ground or simply stands on it depending upon whether or not the carport is intended to be portable and can therefore be relocated. The other option is the cantilever carport in which the steel framework is supported at only one end by legs fixed into the ground with the horizontal spans cantilever out over the parking space. The advantage of cantilever carports is that vehicles have a bigger turning circle space when entering or exiting the parking bay. Obviously it is preferable to have galvanised steel used in the construction of the carport structure especially in coastal regions where rust could be a problem. Some carport manufacturers utilize specialised machinery and tooling to produce highly aesthetic steel carports with built in integrated gutters and rainwater down pipes resulting in carports with very clean lines and finish that compliment the design of almost any building and provide a very attractive shade solution.   

Types of Carport Coverings
Shade Net or Shade Cloth carports are usually referred to as Shadeports.

Fibreglass Carports comprise either translucent or opaque corrugated fibreglass sheeting.

Chromadek Carports use sheets of steel Chromadek as covering for the Carport. Chromadek is long span steel sheeting.

Aluminium, Polycarbonate, Zincalume and colourbond are also used as Carport coverings.    Poly-Carbonate Zinc-Alume Aluminum Colorbond Fiberglass

Many of these carport cover materials are available in a wide range of colours that are designed to be colour fast and will therefore not fade over time. 

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