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How to Choose the Right Shelter for Your Car

Portable GarageWhen you have just about had it with scraping that layer of ice off your car's windows, brushing off snow, or finding the interior boiling hot in summer, it's time to invest in a portable shelter.

Designed with a sturdy metal frame and polyethylene cover, portable shelters provide a cost-effective, long-term solution with greater versatility than a brick-and-mortar garage. When anchored, the structure holds up to and keeps out the elements, not only offering immediate relief against precipitation buildup but preventing long-term damage, such as rot, mildew accumulation, and UV-attributed cracks and fading.

If you have already attempted to look for such a car shelter but found the bevy of options overwhelming, the following points provide guidance for your search.

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Determine How Often a Shelter May Be Used

When it comes to cars, many are taken out every day for a drive to work or to the store, but others, such as a convertible that stays put until the summer, aren't. How often you plan to use your car determines the type of shelter needed.

Valance carports, designed with peaked or flat roofs and four open sides, bring together the convenience a driver wants with the protection the car needs. The open-sided design allows the vehicle to pass through, while the UV-resistant, waterproof polyethylene cover blocks out the elements.

On the other hand, a vehicle placed in storage for a chunk of the year requires full coverage. Enclosed portable shelters, not only equipped with a top but also side walls and rear and front panels, provide the degree needed. The moisture- and UV-blocking properties extend down the sides and front, allowing the shelter to keep sun and rain out and ensure cracks, fading, and mildew buildup don't damage your car.

But how often you plan to use a portable shelter extends to the materials composing the frame. While UV-resistant and waterproof polyethylene is standard for the cover, save for fully-metal carports, frame materials vary from powder-coated structural to galvanized steel to square tubing. As a general rule, galvanized steel handles the elements for longer periods of time than powder-coated options, and square-tube and wider frame diameters provide greater long-term strength.

How Large Should It Be?

Portable GarageWhen it comes to size, a shelter is predicated on how many cars you plan to store and how large each is. Before formally browsing a retailer's options, measure each car's height, width, and length; to make sure you have enough space to maneuver a car inside, add additional feet between each vehicle and around the interior perimeter.

Storage isn't the only purpose of a portable shelter many can double as a work shed for repairing and tinkering around with new or classic cars. If your intentions are as such, allot additional square feet inside for working and supplies.

Pay Attention to the Weather

For many climates, a standard peak-shaped portable shelter withstands the weather effectively, but this isn't always the case in areas that experience a high level of precipitation. From high snowfalls to frequent rainstorms, weather influences the ideal shelter for your car. If you see higher-than-average precipitation, consider a rounded portable garage. Shaped like a tunnel, the design allows raindrops and snowflakes to roll down the surface, rather than accumulate on the roof.

Research Ordinances and Building Codes

No matter if you plan to set up a portable garage for part of the year or expect to use it as a permanent shelter, towns, states, and even neighborhoods have ordinances governing these types of structures. While standards vary with each region, all address the following aspects: Where a shelter can be constructed, how large it can be, and how many a property can have.

As restrictions often ban portable shelters from the front of a property, ordinances essentially limit where one can be placed and how much space is available for storage. Instead of finding yourself with a portable structure in violation of local codes, research beforehand, and then consider how these guidelines affect the type of structure you can purchase and square feet available.


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