How To Build Metal Vehicle Covers Beside Your Home

So, you want to cover your car or RV without building a whole garage to put it in? First you need to decide what kind of structure you want to build. Something functional, certainly. But it’s also important you install something that’ll accommodate your vehicle while still looking stylish and being sturdy, as well. 

Here’s how to build a metal vehicle cover beside your home: 

  1. Get The 4-1-1 On Building Codes And Government Regulations

Some city and county governments require permits before you commence building of any kind, so be sure to research exactly how much a permit costs and fill out the paperwork for the approval. Many applications also require a rendering of the structure, and proof of home ownership. Don’t forget to check out the rules for your homeowner’s association if you have one. Keep in mind, drainage will also be a factor with these entities as you present your plans for approval. Failing to consider these things can get you into a lot of legal trouble.

  1. Measure The Space

Whether you’re building a regular car shelter or an RV carport, you’re going to need the space to be at least the length of the vehicle you’re sheltering, with additional room for getting in and out. Think about the things you transport on a regular basis. If you haul large items, like furniture or large coolers, or often travel with a number of suitcases, you’ll want the space to be large enough to place those items near the car and under the roof.  If you’re building a structure for your RV, think about the size of your motorhome and whether you’ll be leaving the steps on and the camper portion expanded. This will determine how much extra foundation and roof you need.  

  1. To Pour Or Not To Pour

If you chose to use gravel for the base of the shelter, make sure it’s a gravel that’s not going to be washed away easily in the rain. For those who plan to get their car or RV out frequently, your best bet is concrete. You’ll also want a level surface and steel rods in the concrete to ensure the stability of your foundation. Measure for grade and be precise before you pour. Remember, a good foundation will allow for a sturdy carport. 

  1. Beam Me Up!

It’s important to take into account the weather when you install the poles to hold up your metal vehicle cover. If you live in a high-wind climate or somewhere prone to significant amounts of snow, your poles will need to be at least 4-feet deep. If you experience pretty mild weather, 2-feet should be deep enough. Configure the carport structure to the ground. 

 Evenly install around the measured perimeter of your carport outline using a post hole digger. The heavy-duty posts should measure at least 9-feet high on one side of the carport and 11-feet high on the other side to give the roof enough of a slant to clear rainwater. The three higher posts should be on the side of the carport closest to the house, to divert water away from the foundations of the home.

You’ll want to set the posts, 9-feet long for the simplest structure, into the hole so they rest on the bottom, then pour the concrete. When the concrete hardens, fill with soil and then pour more concrete until the hole is filled. Carefully measure with a level and adjust as the concrete hardens to keep the post perfectly vertical. Allow for the concrete to harden for one full day before installing the beams. 

You’re going to be making your shape like a rectangle; thus, you’ll take the top of the shorter corner posts and install the two supporting crossbeams flat. Then, extend those to the higher corner posts about 2-feet down from their tops. Using T-shape hangers, nail them to the higher posts. Make sure everything is level prior to nailing the beams down through the T-shape hangers. Keeping your proper code specifications in mind, nail crossbeams across your posts. 

  1. Raise The Roof: Notch Method Or Hanger Method

There are two methods of roofing for a metal carport: 

  • The Notch Method utilizes a circular saw, allowing the rafter to sink about 1/3 of the four inches onto the beam.
  • The Hanger Method utilizes metal joist hangers that you purchase at the hardware store, allowing the rafters to rest on the top of the beams. The nails will go through the joist hanger into the rafter, then into the beam.

The metal roof should ideally be made of galvanized steel to protect from the elements. Carefully secure the roof to the posts using the joist hangers and welding tools. 


Congratulations! If you’ve followed the advice above, you’ll now have a better looking, longer lasting structure to cover your vehicle for years to come. Whether you drive an old car or a luxury RV, proper storage is key for longevity. 

Author: Brandon Park