Wooden Carports in the UK - What They Are and How to Build Them

While garages are a common sight in any household with possession of a car, not all of them are capable of storing more than a couple of vehicles at a time, and some houses lack a garage entirely. Wooden carports in the UK are thus increasingly being seen as a viable solution to protecting vehicles from elements, helped in large part by their relative cheapness and ease of construction.

Wooden Carports in the UK - What They Are and How to Build Them

In its most basic sense, a wooden carport is a simple wooden structure that helps protect any vehicle stored within it from the worst of the elements, prolonging its lifespan. They’re usually used when a more permanent structure, such as a garage, is impractical or unavailable.

Their construction however is very easily completed.

Preparation and Planning

As a wooden carport in the UK is a freestanding semi-permanent structure, you will need to obtain proper planning permission from your local government for its construction. They’ll be able to direct you towards the various forms you’ll need to fill out, information you’ll need to disclose and which agencies to approach for advice.

Once permission has been secured, you can start planning out your structure. Start off by measuring the ground in relation to your vehicle, and using those measurements to plot out a decent-sized patch of land. An average sized family car will most probably require at least five by three metres squared of space, requiring roughly six posts on each side of the structure. Place one at each corner of the vehicle, with two more running either side between them along the length of the carport.

After that, prepare the ground for your wooden carport. Clear it completely of any grass any other vegetation if any is growing there, removing it with a shovel and raking over the under layers. Then try to make the ground as flat as possible afterwards.

You may also want to consider laying down some ground covering too. Wooden carports in the UK can be made more stable by laying down a covering of gravel or wooden chippings; although a concrete foundation provides the longest and most durable ground covering for your carport. The covering also prevents grass and weeds from re-growing, and stops the family from tracking dust and dirt into the house and vehicle.

Fixing the Poles

The poles form the main support for the carport, and their security is one of the most important parts of keeping the building stable. To fit your poles, dig six holes in evenly spaced intervals just inside the perimeter of the ground you’ve plotted and prepared. Ideally they should be at least one to two feet deep, depending on how much wind and snowfall you can expect the carport to endure through the year.

The poles themselves should be of two lengths, with one set of three being two inches or so shorter than the others. The three taller poles should be placed on the side of the carport closest to the house. This helps slant the roof slightly, which will allow rainwater to run off.

Set the posts by pouring concrete into them, carefully monitoring them to ensure they remain stable as the concrete sets. This should take a day, and you should not work further until this is finished. The result is a much more sturdy structure.

When the concrete and the poles have set, strengthen the wooden carport further by nailing wooden beams across the tops of the poles. The idea is to essentially construct a hollow box around the area using the poles as a sort of guide. This provides further support and structural strength, as well as providing a brace for the roof to be placed upon.

Building the Roof

Affix the rafters that your roof will rest upon to the side beams you’ve just nailed to the poles. The front and back rafter should be fastened flush with the back and front beams, while the side rafters should be even spaced from each other. How you attack the rafters to the side beams is up to you, but you should consider either notching or hanging them. When the rafters are in place, you can lay down the roof proper over them.

Try to buy as large plywood boards for your roof as possible, as the fewer seams there are the fewer leaks will develop. Try to position them so that you have approximately six inches of overhang all around. Thickness should be at ¼ to ¾ of an inch.

Hopefully your wooden carport should be quite solid at this stage, so give it a test and check for any weaknesses. If you find shuddering, you may have to add stability braces to keep your wooden carport in place.

Finishing Off

Caulk the plywood seams to help keep the rainwater out, and apply metal plates to the joints to improve stability. For added wooden carport lifespan, you may also wish to lay shingle down on the roof and apply wood stain to the wooden areas. If you do decide to stain your wood, you may need to apply a fresh coating every 3-4 months.

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