RV Carport [Installation and Cost]

When I washed someone else’s RV on time, it took a long time to scrub off all the dirt, grime, and bird droppings that had accumulated over the past several months. An RV carport could have helped this RV stay much cleaner and avoid some weathering issues. 

In general, a permanent RV carport will cost you $2000 to $6000 to purchase and will take about 2 or more days to set up. It takes two people to set up and you will need to lift some heavy items. A concrete pad or holes for concrete and anchors will be needed.

There are many choices to choose from and different ways to install the carport, so prices and timelines may vary a bit. RVs that are not used frequently tend to have issues if left out in the elements. It’s helpful to have an RV carport. A garage may cost too much; therefore, many people opt for a carport to protect their RV.

Which RV Carport Should I Get?

Which RV Carport

You will need to measure how tall, wide, and how long your RV is. This will help you decide on which RV carport will fit your RV best.

You will also need to consider if you want to park your RV and car both under the same carport. Then you need to make sure you have a couple of feet of clearance on either side of the RV so you can open doors and or park both vehicles if needed. 

  • RV Height. When choosing the carport for your RV, height is likely the first thing to consider. A 10-foot tall travel trailer can fit under a low-cost carport, while a Class A motorhome will need a taller and costlier carport.  
  • RV Width. The width is important for parking and your ability to enter and exit the RV without hitting the doors on the carport. Measure the width of the RV with both passenger and driver-side doors open. Then you’ll know how wide you’ll need your RV carport to be.
    • If you plan on parking your RV and your car under the carport, make sure to add the width of the car and the RV with doors open. Check how wide the doors swing open on the car as well to get an idea if both will fit under a certain carport.  
  • RV Length. To get full coverage for your RV, ensure the roof extends beyond the RV in the front and back. 
  • Weather Conditions. If there is frequent snowfall or rain, you may need a concrete pad and a sloped metal roof. In case of frequent winds, you may need to have a deeper foundation and more secure screws for the roof panels. 
  • Carport Color. You may want to match the color of the exterior of your home or garage where the carport is near. You may customize the texture and design of your carport so that it complements the exteriors of your house.

RV Carport Installation Preparation 

Installing RV Carport
Photo Credit: http://www.carolinametalcarports.com/carports-metal-steel-portable-metal-steel-carports.html

Once you have finalized the type of carport you want, find out as much as you can about the steps needed to install it. Decide what type of pad you will need. You can install an RV carport onto a surface in several ways. 

  • Using a concrete pad
  • Digging holes for concrete anchor points
  • Place the carport on the ground using a rebar anchor
  • Place the carport on the ground without any tie downs

Then you can select the surface you want your RV to drive on. The more solid the ground the better. RVs weigh a considerable amount and will sink into the ground as time goes by and as water penetrates the ground. 

Selection of the type of ground 

Select a level surface for best results. There are several types of surfaces that most people choose when using a carport:

  • Gravel Pad: For a cheaper option you can lay a layer of gravel on the ground. According to nodakangler.com, you should use .75 to 1.5 inches of crushed rock when laying a gravel pad for your RV.  
  • Concrete floor: These floors are great when it rains frequently. A concrete floor is helpful when installing and securing a carport.
    • A carport will stay in place better with a firm base. The bare ground on the other hand doesn’t always handle rainy conditions well. 
  • Pavers: When installed with proper dirt compaction and a layer of gravel, pavers can work well as a solid surface for an RV. 

In most cases, where a concrete slab is required, its width is recommended to be almost 0.75 inches, and its width should be equal to the metallic frame of the carport; ideally, if your carport is more than 24’ wide.

Level the ground

It’s best to make double sure your ground is firm and flat before starting installation. A dirt compacting tool can help you ensure a solid surface before installing your pad. Sometimes you’ll need to level the ground a bit. Try to ensure it’s as flat as it can be, so puddles don’t occur. 

Use Gravel if Needed

In some cases, the bare ground will work. However, to avoid the ground from sinking in, use crushed granite as needed to prevent erosion and add traction.

Using Pre-fab Carport Kit

If you plan on doing the installation yourself, you can buy a carport and install it using a carport kit. You can watch the video above for step-by-step instructions that you can expect you will need to do so you can complete the installation of your RV carport.  

  • Determining the length of the frame – It is very important to determine the length of the frame correctly as it plays a great role in the stability of the entire Ideally, the length of the frame should be 1 foot less than the length of the roof of the carport.
  • Assemble the base rails – Once you get the appropriate ground for carport installation, the second step is to assemble the base rails. These act as the foundation of the carport.
  • Anchor the base rails
  • Assemble the trusses
  • Attach the trusses to the base
  • Attach sheet metal to the frame

Build A Custom Carport

Custom Carport

A custom RV carport can save you a lot of money but you can also end up spending more than an RV kit fairly easily. Check out the plan and the materials you will need. Remember the cost of lumber may be prohibitive, depending on how big the structure is. 

1. Building Foundation

  • Lay concrete with post anchors or dig the holes to place the posts and pore concrete in each hole.
  • Depending how long and how heavy the roof will determine how long your concrete pad is or how many holes you need to dig.
  • Equally spaced your posts holes. About 8 ft apart. (Check local regulations). You’ll likely need 8 or more posts depending on how thick your posts are and how long your carport is. Check for RV carport plans online
  • Set the post fasteners to the concrete. You might need to check your local city regulations to see if your plans meet the local regulations.

2. Placing the Beams

  • You might opt for 16 ft beams if you have a tall RV. These should be of the same height unless you plan to have the roof slant down on one side only. To provide a slant to the roof make one side of the carport post longer and the other side shorter.
  • Fasten the beams to the footing hardware. 
  • Ensure the beams are aligned correctly.

3. Building the roof

  • Fasten the rafters to the side beams: All the rafters should be equidistant from each other.
  • Fasten the plywood roof border boards to the rafters or use a steel roof: Fasten the plywood boards over the rafters in such a way that you have at least a 6-inch overhang on the front and back side of a carport.
  • Check the stability of the structure: Once the roof is in place, you need to check the stability of the structure and ensure that it is solid.

4. Finishing the job

 Finishing the job
Photo Credit: http://produits-naturels-sante.com/tag/carports-install/
  • Caulk the plywood roof seams: Cover the roof with synthetic paper to make it waterproof.
  • Fasten shingles on top of the plywood roof elements: Use three-pad shingles to add a protective layer to the carport roof.
  • Reinforce the joints with metal plates: You should use metal plates to attach rafters, beams, and plywood roofs. This will further strengthen the structure.
  • Stain the wooden elements: It is always good to paint the exposed wooden parts with a good quality stain. It increases its lifespan.

If you are not able to install an RV carport by yourself, you may contact any service provider that provides an RV carport installation.

Cost of an RV Carport

The price of your carport can vary greatly. A smaller RV carport can cost about $2500 (see link), while a large one can cost up to $5000 (see link). 

Shop around for the best deals. Some websites will have much higher prices and others will be much less (see link).

Look at all the features and if it’s the kind that will best suit your needs. Some RV kits will take more time, be better structurally sound, and come with better warranties.  

Check at least three places before making any decision. Then wait about a week before making a final decision to make sure you don’t have buyer’s remorse. Thoughts, plans, and new information can change your idea of what’s the best thing to do for you.  

Final Thoughts

Getting an RV carport can be an effective way to keep your vehicle in the best condition for years to come. Whether you choose to buy a kit or do it yourself, you can create a value-added area of your home that will save you time and money in the future with your RV.  

Having a good carport is important if you plan to use your RV in the long run. It helps protect your RV from harsh weather and falling objects. This also keeps the RV in good condition and increases its resale value. 

Installing an RV carport yourself or getting some help is a great idea for the longevity of your RV and for peace of mind.

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