What is the difference between a carport and a garage?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Most people would define a garage as a completely enclosed room with a garage door for parking a car out of the weather, while a carport is a roofed-over parking space with open sides. When a carport is attached to a house, it usually has two or three open sides. 

    But the International Residential Code (IRC) and Florida Building Code (FBC) have a very specific way of defining the difference between carport and garage:

    This means that as soon as you add a third wall to a carport, like in the photo below, it becomes a garage and must meet all the fire safety standards required of a garage. 


     The fact that the fourth side is open and there is no garage door does not make a difference. Because flammable materials are often stored in an attached garage, there are multiple code requirements intended to enhance the resistance of the walls and ceiling to the spread of a garage fire into the living area of a home.  See our blog post What are the code requirements for fire separation between an attached garage and the house? to find out more.

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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about STRUCTURE AND ROOMS:

Why is the grout cracking and coming loose at my floor tile?

What are the building code requirements for notching and boring holes in a wall stud? 

What causes dark or light "ghost" lines on ceilings and walls?

Can you access or exit a bedroom through another bedroom?

What are simple ways to find the cause of a ceiling stain?

What is the minimum size of habitable rooms in a house according to the building code? 

Why is my garage ceiling sagging? 

How can I identify what kind of wood flooring I am looking at?

Why does my concrete floor slab sweat and get slippery?

What is the minimum ceiling height for rooms in a house? 

Why are there score line grooves in the concrete floor of the garage?

How much can I cut out of a floor joist? 

How can I tell if my floors are sloping?

Why do the floors slope in this old house? 

What are the common problems when a homeowner converts a garage to conditioned living space, such as a family room?

• How can I tell if a wall is load-bearing? Which walls can I take out? 

    Visit our STRUCTURE AND ROOMS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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