Carports are great: They keep the weather off your vehicles, they provide shade on a hot day, and they are an attractive place to store outdoor equipment. But garages are even better--you can lock the doors to keep your valuables safe, and the enclosing walls help to hide the clutter from public view. You can quickly convert your carport to a garage--just keep a few key tips in mind.
Regulations and Tax Implications
Before beginning any major home improvement project, make sure you know your community's building codes and requirements. Some areas require a licensed professional to manage specific parts of any modification to a primary residence, for example, and some condominium associations limit the types of changes an owner-member may perform. Also, if money is tight, speak to your local property assessor to determine if, or by how much, your new garage will affect your property-tax rates.
Because many carports are do-it-yourself projects, or just sheltered parts of a driveway, check the quality and thickness of the concrete flooring to make sure it is garage-worthy. Four or more inches of good-quality cement, depending on the local soils, is appropriate. During the conversion, pay special attention to the way the new garage abuts the house foundation because the environmental conditions (drainage, temperature changes) will be different and could lead to cracking or mildewing.
Walls, Windows and Doors
Although windows may be optional depending on local building codes, it is appropriate to harmonise the size and style of windows, as well as the exterior siding of the new garage, with the primary residence. This will add the most value to your home. It's a good idea to have a back or side door out of the garage to limit the use of the overhead doors to automobile traffic.
Even if your carport had wiring (e.g., for an overhead light), the electrical demands of a garage, with ceiling lights and possibly electric door openers, is likely to be higher, so a separate circuit at the main power junction is a wise idea. Consult with a qualified electrician, and remember that most communities require all electrical and plumbing work to be inspected by a zoning official.