Carport Zoning Laws, Part Two

Many people have carports, as they’re a far more economical way for covering your car than creating a brick-and-mortar garage from scratch. But, as we’ve seen before, many towns consider carports part of a home or, in other cases, another building on a property. Although the galvanized steel and polyethylene building can be put up or taken down at any point during the year, many towns require your carport or other portable shelter to meet certain zoning laws. As we saw previously in a post about carport zoning laws in Idaho Falls, portable garages and carports are sometimes considered permanent structures and, if you’re considering purchasing one, you should consult your local zoning laws and building codes before looking at shelters.

A similar issue has come about in Rowlett, Texas, except it concerns changing zoning laws in regards to carports. Essentially, how a carport is built defines what type of structure it is. If you have an older carport attached to your home, it generally considered part of the house and is subject to any similar building codes. A structure not attached to a home, such as the many carports at Portable Garage Depot and Shelters of America, is considered an accessory structure. For this building, a carport is restricted by size and is considered less structurally sound. In addition, such carports need to be less than 500 square feet, as the town requires buildings of this size to have a sprinkler system.

What do you do in such an instance? If your current carport, assuming you live in Rowlett, does not meet these standards, the structure will need to be modified. For those looking for a new carport, most single or two-car carports fit into the requirements, as long as you don’t attach one to your home. But, since carports and sheds fall into the same category, a larger carport may need to be purchased if you’re looking for space to store vehicles and other items. In this case, a structure less than 20 feet by 25 feet should suffice.

Portable Storage Buildings for Different Climates

Portable garage makers like Shelterlogic make portable storage buildings in a variety of shapes. Is there any reason behind this or is it only for aesthetics? After all, some buildings come barn-shaped while others are rounded. But some shelters are better for certain climates or weather conditions than others. While rounded roof and peaked shelters essentially protect the same way, rounded roof shelters are designed to let snow, rain, and any other precipitation simply roll off. But, if you’re in an area that doesn’t experience large amounts of precipitation, the South or West Coast parts of the United States for example, a peaked roof style is a better option.

Although, if you’re deciding to protect an RV with one of these portable shelters for example, the two canopies have the same format and dimensions, as well as zipper or roll-up doors, a peaked shelter costs somewhat less. In comparing prices on Portable Garage Depot, a 14 by 20 by 14 foot peaked shelter is roughly $2000, while the rounded roof counterpart with the same dimensions runs about $2650. What’s the difference? Typically, a rounded roof shelter has a more elaborate frame to put together, as each vertical piece is rounded and is attached together by straight horizontal bars. The canopy, then, fits over this rounded frame.

Prices aside, though, rounded roof shelters are considered stronger for more extreme weather conditions. If you live in an area that experiences large amounts of snow, you don’t want a canopy to buckle and break – or even tear – from snow and ice gathering on its surface. Instead, the ideal shelter will prevent snow from forming on the surface, and, as a rounded roof shape allows the snow or rain to roll off, the shelter is better designed for areas experiencing heavy snowfalls and large amounts of rain. If your area only experiences average or minimal amounts of snow, choosing a strong but not the strongest shelter will meet your needs for protection.

Zoning Laws for Carports

Installing a carport is significantly more convenient and economical than constructing a brick-and-mortar garage from scratch. Both structures, however, may need local approval, as seen in a recent news item about a man fighting for his carport. For him, as well as others, the carport on his property doesn’t comply with local zoning regulations. This includes the dimensions of the building, as well as having one on his property. But when does a carport, portable garage, or temporary shed constitute as a permanent structure in the same vein as a deck or porch? According to the article, this is generally when the structure is cemented into the ground. If you plan to pull the structure from the ground and not keep it in place permanently, the carport or portable garage doesn’t need a building permit.

For those that want a carport or portable garage on their property, this poses somewhat of a dilemma, but that can be quickly resolved by contacting any local office in charge on zoning regulations. As these temporary structures may count as permanent, contact your local office about getting a building permit anyway for one of these structures. If you do need a building permit, ask:

• Does a carport count as a permanent structure only if you have to put it in the ground? Is it not a permanent structure if you don’t cement it or set it in concrete and take it down for part of the year? As RV and boat canopies may only be up for part of the year, asking this is important, as putting up an RV canopy might end up being a permanent structure needing approval in your area.
• What dimensions are allowed? Where on my property can I put this building? As
carports and other portable storage buildings come in a number of sizes, zoning laws may have limits on how large a portable garage, carport, or RV shelter can be, as well as where you can place it on your property.

As purchasing a portable shelter can be a small investment, asking these questions before you purchase a portable storage building might help you from picking a product that can’t be put up on your property.

Large-Size Rounded Roof Shelters

The previous post was about peaked roof shelters on a larger scale, also referred to as industrial size shelters, and rounded roof shelters can be found on this scale, as well. At this height, rounded roof shelters are used for all of the same purposes as the peaked shelters from before, but merely the shape is different. If you’re looking for an alternative to constructing a new barn, one of these industrial sized shelters can be constructed instead. As with all types of portable storage buildings, these can be expanded over time if you need to add any additional vehicles, equipment, or other investments and don’t have enough storage space.

The typical rounded roof portable garage most are familiar with is the smaller sized shelter, which is usually the longer shelters used for RVs and other seasonal vehicle storage. These shelters are longer than they are wide. Barn-style rounded roof shelters, on the other hand, have the opposite type of dimensions, with the width being longer or equal to the length. In terms of storing vehicles, however, the vehicles, be it RVs or farm equipment, should be able to fit inside one of these shelters. Doors, in the case of these shelters, are at least twelve feet high. Larger vehicles needing to fit into the canopy will need larger doors.

With the last industrial sized shelter mentioned on this blog, the doors were insulated aluminum roll-up doors. This, however, is somewhat of an anomaly in terms of portable shelter construction, and usually the standard roll up or zipper doors are made from the same polyethylene material as the rest of the shelter. All of these rounded roof shelters have attached roll up or zipper doors made from the same heavy-duty polyethylene treated to be UV resistant and waterproof.

Different Types of Portable Garage Frames

As you can see from the Shelters of America video above, portable storage buildings come in a variety of styles. This includes the two you see here, a barn-style portable building and a peaked roof portable garage, as well as the rounded roof portable garages that were mentioned in previous posts. Some flat roof portable canopies are available, but these are rarely used as permanent shelters and, instead, as garden canopies. What do you use each type of portable building for? Are some styles of portable buildings better than others for certain pieces of equipment?

The peaked roof portable garage is one of the more common types of portable buildings on the market. From general portable shelters like carports to smaller portable sheds, this design is used. In some cases, as for carports, polyethylene side walls aren’t added and the polyethylene roof protects the vehicle sufficiently. But if you need all-around coverage, which is important if a seasonal vehicle is being stored, then one of these shelters can be designed with polyethylene canopy walls. This design is standard for smaller portable sheds. The peaked roof canopy in the video, however, is taller than average and is probably best used for RV storage or as a carport for a medium-sized truck.

The second style of shelter seen in the video is a barn-style portable garage. Essentially, this type of peaked shelter functions much like the ordinary peaked roof ones, except it’s a wider structure. Because of the barn-like style and shed-like design, these shelters are typically used for housing farm equipment. Farm equipment, like vehicles, includes regularly used and seasonal designs, and one of these barn-shaped shelters can house both regularly-used and seasonal farm equipment equally.

Rounded Roof Portable Garages

Portable garages come in several shapes, some of which may accommodate your needs better than others. One common type of portable storage building is a rounded roof shelter, which has a tall, curved frame and is usually used for longer vehicles like RVs. Smaller versions are available but, generally, portable garages with rounded roofs are used for longer vehicles. The frame for this shelter, which can be seen in the Shelters of America YouTube video below, is essentially composed of curved pieces of galvanized steel – all of the same size – connected together by straight pieces of steel.

 
Rounded roof portable garages have the same composition as other types of portable shelters, with a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene canopy. Rounded roof portable buildings are better suited to certain climates, however. In general, a portable garage frame and canopy should withstand faster winds and large amounts of snow or rain, but rounded roof portable garages are better suited for people needing storage in areas experiencing large rain and snow falls. The rounded design allows snow or rain to simply roll off the roof and not accumulate on top.

In terms of assembly, as you can see by the video above, the polyethylene canopy stretches from one side to the other, once the frame as been assembled. As a shelter, this fully-enclosed design, as soon as you add back and front polyethylene zipper doors, is ideal for protecting vehicles or other investments that will be in storage for several months. This includes RVs, boats, motorcycles, and farm equipment. For all-around coverage, the polyethylene canopy keeps out UV rays and is waterproof and, being somewhat breathable, allows air to circulate and prevent mildew and dry rot from forming on the vehicle.

Using a Portable Garage

You have a car you want protected from the elements, but, at the same time, you don’t have a brick and mortar garage. Building a brick-and-mortar garage requires planning and zoning on your property, not to mention a large amount of money, to have it built. An alternative to building a brand new garage attached to your house is to have a portable garage. A portable garage, also known as a carport, can be put in a variety of locations on your property – wherever your car will go. As part of the product’s name is “portable,” this structure can be set up and taken down but, like a traditional garage, the structure is strong enough to protect your car and other investments you put in the shelter.

portable garage is a sturdy structure made from a galvanized steel frame and a canopy of heavy-duty polyethylene. While the steel structure is strong and treated to prevent corrosion, the polyethylene canopy protects the car, essentially, while in the carport. As a canopy, one of these polyethylene tarps is made from a high denier count, rip-proof material that is treated to be waterproof, rot resistant, mildew resistant, and UV resistant. When it comes to your vehicle, this means that the shelter will keep out the water and sun from damaging your car. As the shelter allows for some air circulation, mildew and dry rot won’t form on your car while under a portable garage.

 

Another benefit of using a portable garage is that the structure isn’t permanent. If, at some point, you decide to purchase another car or a seasonal vehicle, one of these structures can be expanded by use of portable garage kits to accommodate two or more vehicles. In addition, one of these structures can be the same as an ordinary garage and, if you choose to use the structure as a storage or work shed, your additional investments will be protected.