The following 8 steps could be a useful guide to convert a carport to a garage in South Africa:

  • Step 1: Check local regulations
  • Step 2: Check the site
  • Step 3: Draw up plans
  • Step 4: Prepare the foundation
  • Step 5: Build the walls
  • Step 6: Add doors and windows
  • Step 7: Interior cladding and insulation
  • Step 8: Exterior finish

Carports and garages both serve the same basic function – to protect vehicles from the elements. The main differences are that a fully enclosed garage offers better protection and a much greater level of security.

If you already have a carport, but feel a garage would serve you better, converting a carport to a garage could be a more cost-effective option than tearing it down and having a garage built from scratch.

Read this guide to find out what you need to know about turning a carport into a garage, what a carport to garage conversion involves and find real garage pros.

Why convert a carport to a garage?

Carports are cheaper to build than garages, since they usually have no walls, but they do have their limitations. Common reasons for converting carport to garage are:

  • Better protection from the elements
  • Security for vehicles and other contents
  • Storage space for bicycles, sports equipment, garden tools and other objects
  • More harmonious appearance with your house architecture
  • Adding more value to your property

While a carport to garage conversion is usually possible, it doesn’t come cheap, so you need to consider whether the rewards are worth the investment

Get quotes from local carport builders now

Converting carport to garage: step by step

If you have a carport, part of your new garage will be built already – the roof and possibly one or more walls.

Leaving open the possibility of turning a carport into a garage during your original carport planning can save you time and money later. However, if your carport is fully open and there’s no cement slab in place, carport to garage conversion will be harder work.

Whatever condition your carport is in, the following 8 steps could be a useful guide to convert a carport to a garage in South Africa.

Step 1: Check local regulations

Building codes and municipality regulations are often stricter for a garage compared to a carport. Talk to your local municipality or a building firm to find out whether a carport to garage conversion is actually possible on your property or what the restrictions are, then apply for any permits needed before you take things further.

Step 2: Check the site

You or a professional builder should evaluate your existing carport to determine if it’s suitable for conversion to a garage and what preparations need to be done first, such as laying a concrete slab, strengthening supports or improving drainage.

Step 3: Draw up plans

Building a garage is a more complex project than a carport, so you’ll probably need to hire a professional to design and build it. This starts with making accurate plans of the structure to make sure it can comfortably accommodate your car, offers convenient access and complies with building regulations.

Step 4: Prepare the foundation

The ground under your carport needs to be stable enough to support the extra weight of a garage. This is where you need to lay a concrete slab or other foundation and to create drainage channels if these aren’t already present.

Step 5: Build the walls

Your carport may already have one or more solid walls, but the entire structure needs to be enclosed for a garage to prevent unauthorised access. Wall frames may be supplied pre-cut and ready for assembly for standard sizes or they may need to be custom built from your preferred materials.

Step 6: Add doors and windows

Garage doors are available in a range of sizes to fit your garage and comfortably accommodate your vehicles. Even a lightweight garage door can be difficult to install DIY, so it’s recommended that this is handled by a professional, especially if it’s a motorised door.

As well as fitting a garage door, you may also want an internal access door leading to the house (for an attached garage) and it’s a good idea to install at least one window for better visibility during the daylight hours and improved ventilation.

Step 7: Interior cladding and insulation

Interior cladding and insulation are optional and a personal choice, but interior cladding will give your garage a more professional look and insulation will help keep the temperature down in summer. Consider roof insulation at the very least, since a closed garage can get very hot without it.

Step 8: Exterior finish

Now your carport to garage conversion is complete, you can spend more time making the exterior match your home with cladding and other decorative finishes.

How much does carport to garage conversion cost?

Converting a carport to a garage is usually around 20% cheaper than building one from scratch, but you may be able to save up to 50% if you do the job yourself. There are some steps that are best left to professionals though, especially installing the garage door and wiring up any electrics, which require a licensed electrician.

Besides the garage door, the biggest cost involved in turning a carport into a garage is usually the cladding you choose. If you’re installing cladding yourself, your supplier can help you determine how many metres you’ll need for your new garage.

– You may want your cladding in a material to match your home, but a cheaper alternative might be to choose Colorbond or Zincalume cladding in a colour that complements your home. These are available in a number of styles, ranging in price from about R130 to R200 per linear metre.

– Another option is weatherboard cladding, which costs roughly R100 per linear metre and comes with primer already applied. All you have to do is add the final coats of paint.

If you’re not sure whether you can convert a carport to a garage yourself, get quotes from carpenters or garage builders in your area and see what prices they come up with. Compare their prices with your materials cost estimate to see how much you would really be saving.

Alternatives to turning a carport into a garage

You might find that you don’t need a garage to enjoy the benefits you want. View our range of carport design ideas to see the different options for keeping your vehicles safe with an attractive and functional addition to your property