Converting a carport into a garage is a sizable project that involves framing, roofing, and general construction.
If you can reuse the existing slab and roof, you’ll save thousands.
Stick-built wood, cinder block, brick, and metal are common garage options.
While electrical is pretty standard, plumbing is something that homeowners should also be considered.
Converting your carport into a garage can come in handy, especially if you live in an area with heavy snow and freezing temperatures. An enclosed garage also offers more security and gives you a place to hide away your vehicles, ski equipment, and boxes of holiday decorations.
Costs to enclose a carport into a garage generally start at $18,000, but there are many factors at play to take your carport and convert it into the garage of your dreams.
Cost Factors for Converting a Carport
The cost of enclosing a carport requires thinking about more than just four walls (or three for an attached garage).
Generally, the bigger the garage, the higher the price—though even one-car garages can come with a hefty price tag if you use premium materials.
If your one-car garage is around 250 square feet, labor alone can cost between $9,000 and $11,000, not including the cost of materials. If you opt for a two-car garage, your budget may double, so keep that in mind.
“Many homeowners want to convert carports into garage space into heated and air-conditioned living spaces, too,” says Bob Tschudi, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based general contractor. “If you go this route, you’ll have to engage with the local municipalities to ensure that what you plan to do complies with their plan for the area.”
Time of Year
It's generally less expensive to build a garage during the "off season" over the winter months. However, pouring concrete in warmer weather is better. The sweet spot for pouring concrete for a new slab is between 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Much You Can Reuse
A carport conversion varies wildly in price based on how much of the original carport you can salvage. If you’re lucky, you can complete this project by reusing the same slab and roof without breaking the bank.
Some homeowners decide to add plumbing to their new garages. This enables you to place your washer and dryer in the garage if you don't have space in your home. You can also add a sink for hand-washing after dealing with grungy mechanical parts in the garage.
Not all areas require a permit for converting your carport into a garage. If your state does, the average cost of obtaining a building permit falls between $500 and $1,500, according to HomeAdvisor. Advise your contractor on the pricing and the process for obtaining the proper documents.
Insulation and Drywall
The cost to add insulation is about $1 per square foot, which is beneficial if your garage is attached to your home.
According to HomeAdvisor, drywall costs $1 to $3 per square foot or about $8 to $12 per 4-foot-by-8-foot panel for materials only. If your garage is attached, you’ll need fire-rated drywall on the attached wall(s).
A strategically placed window or two can bring in the daylight. A single window unit runs from $300 to $1,200 for standard sizes. Labor to install the window costs about $150 to $800 per window or $40 per hour.
Adding one or two outlets when converting your carport can save you from running long electrical cords from other areas of your home. You can figure on adding between $75 and $500 to your budget to cover the cost of installing outlets.
The price for an average garage door is about $750 to $1,600. A premade, off-the-shelf style will range from $250 to $1,500. High-end designs range from $1,500 to $10,000. These prices do not include locks, openers, or labor.
Standard framing to close in your new garage is $1 to $5 per square foot. Labor will cost you another $4 to $8 per square foot, depending on your location and the complexity of the build.
Replacing a garage roof tends to cost from $1,000 to $2,000, but this will, of course, vary based on your material.
Slab (If needed)
If you want to expand your car storage space or repair your current slab, a concrete slab costs $4 to $8 per square foot. You’ll need to budget renting a concrete mixer and the tools you’ll need to level the slab, so be sure to talk to a pro.
What Should I Consider Before Converting My Carport?
There are both practical and aesthetic factors to consider before working on your new carport.
Most carports have shed roofs or V-shaped roofs. While your carport's existing roofline may look "okay for a carport," it might not translate nicely to a garage structure. The aesthetic will shift dramatically once the space is enclosed.
A dinky and unsafe carport won’t make a suitable garage. Confirm that your existing carport is in good enough shape for conversion. Damaged, leaning, or undersized support posts may require an upgrade to meet structural requirements.
Local fire and safety codes may require any garage attached to your home to have fire-rated walls and entry doors. Consult your contractor or local municipality for confirmation.
Town and Neighborhood Rules
Converting a carport into a garage is considered a significant structural change, which usually means you need to acquire permits or permission from a homeowner's association. This project may also require plans that don’t extend your new garage too close to your neighbor’s property line.
“Converting a carport into a garage will not add much overall value to your house, given the expense to complete the renovation,” says Bob Tschudi, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based general contractor. “However, you will gain a secure and weather-resistant space at a fraction of the cost to build it from scratch.”
What Will It Cost Me to Convert My Own Carport Into a Garage?
If you’re not the handy type, it probably makes the most sense to hire a garage builder in your area to convert your carport into a garage. That’s because a carport-to-garage conversion is not an easy job. It’s also extremely important to make sure your new garage is structurally safe and sound.
You’ll save between $35 to $45 per square foot in labor if you DIY, but it will take a few months. You might also consider hiring a local electrician if you wish to add electricity to your new garage. The hourly wage for an electrician is typically $50 to $100.
Some of the materials you’ll likely need for a carport conversion project include:
Particleboard or drywall
Nails and screws
Excavation concrete (if needed)
Roofing materials (if needed)
Materials to run electricity, including insulated wire, metal conduit, electrical boxes, and switches
Even if you decide to hire a local pro to manage and build the structure, you can save some money in labor by painting, hanging drywall, adding shelving, and installing windows and doors yourself or with friends. (All you’ll be out is the cost of a couple of pizzas to say thank you).
Which Type of Garage Fits My Budget?
Converting an attached carport into a garage differs a great deal in price from a detached carport conversion. Costs will vary depending on the materials you choose and upgrades you want. It is far more cost-effective to run electricity and plumbing to an attached garage than running lines underground to a detached garage.
For example, an attached garage, using the same materials and square footage, costs 10% to 15% less than a freestanding garage. But it still comes within the general price range of $40 to $70 per square foot. For example, if you spend $45 per square foot on a detached unit, you’ll spend about $40.50 per square foot on the same thing attached to your home.
Stick Built Wood Garage
A stick-built garage costs about $40 to $70 per square foot. Wood framing is the most popular carport conversion material.
Cinder Block Garage
Converting a carport into a cinder block garage can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 or more. Costs will vary by location and size, as a single car garage will be less expensive than a double garage.
The cost to build a brick garage is about $100 per foot or more. Siding your garage in this material costs anywhere from $14 to $28 per square foot for a single layer of brick.
You can also cut costs by laying a brick veneer on your garage. Brick veneer costs $10 to $20 per square foot, but you’ll also need to consider the cost of the backup wall.
For a DIY kit, you’ll spend anywhere from $3,000 to $11,000, with labor doubling that figure. Metal garages are cost-effective, and you can build them much faster than wood or concrete. However, they may be prohibited by HOAs and often don’t fit with the aesthetic of many neighborhoods.
FAQs About Converting a Carport Into a Garage
Will converting a carport to a garage add value to your home?
An addition like a garage can increase your home value significantly. They are useful for security reasons and storing vehicles and are “hot commodities” in the real estate market.
Are there extra costs to consider?
Converting a carport into a garage goes beyond just constructing the enclosed space. It will most likely also include paying for extras, such as renting a dumpster and portapotty for the work crew.
In addition, if you decide to do the project yourself, you may need to purchase or rent tools. Other add-on costs might include lighting, insulation, installing storage (if wanted), and plumbing if you decide to add a sink.