Carports are ideal for homeowners who want to shield their vehicles from UV rays, rain, snow and falling foliage. These structures are surprisingly affordable and very easy to erect; in most cases, a team of construction workers can assemble a carport in just a couple of days. If you've been thinking about adding a carport to your property, here are two factors which you should take into consideration before you initiate the construction process:
Soil stability and foundation issues
If your current driveway and patio areas are too small for a carport, you will need to pour a concrete slab foundation, in order to create a stable ground surface for the structure itself and the vehicles it will be sheltering.
To prevent this new foundation from collapsing or cracking in the future, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that it is positioned on soil that has the appropriate weight-bearing capacity. If for example, the soil is made from soft, spongy materials, such as sand or clay, there is a good chance that it will not be able to support the weight of the foundation and the carport.
This is why it is essential to have the soil composition tested before the construction process begins (this can be done by sending a sample of the soil to a lab which offers a soil-testing service). Should the results of this test reveal that the soil is too soft for a concrete foundation, don't worry; you may still be able to build the structure in this part of your property, provided you replace some of the soil with a firm, compacted material, like chalk. Your contractor should be able to advise you on the best way to go about doing this.
The climate of the region in which your property is located must be taken into consideration when choosing the materials for your carport.
Timber, for example, is not recommended for carports that are to be built in areas which are prone to high humidity or frequent downpours, as regular exposure to moisture will eventually lead to this material developing mildew, mould and wet rot, all of which may affect the structural integrity and the appearance of the carport.
Likewise, timber is not a suitable material for carports which will be located in extremely dry areas where bushfires occur on a regular basis, as this material is extremely flammable.
For the above-mentioned climates, a combination of polycarbonate and steel would be far more suitable, as these materials are moisture and fire-resistant and as such, will be less likely to deteriorate when exposed to humidity, rain or extreme heat.