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You asked, we answered: Turn your carport into a garage

(Rosie on the House Photos)

Our radio listeners often ask us how they turn a carport into a garage.

Many homeowners in Arizona with older homes have had carports put up when houses were built — some are freestanding, some are attached to the house — but many homeowners yearn to turn them into garages. They want the extra storage space, of course, and they know that having a garage will make a house easier to sell some day.

They often think that they could do it themselves just by putting up some walls around the existing slab and attaching those walls to the carport roof.

But this job does is more complicated than that. You need a city or county building permit for the process. You might even need to ask your HOA for permission.

All that can be a great benefit. City planners can help you draw up a design and make important suggestions.

If all that seems too complicated, it might make sense to hire a licensed, experienced contractor to do your conversion, but it may cost $20,000 or more to create that single-car garage.

So here are some basic steps based on a garage conversion done by a Phoenix homeowner. (Note: If you are interested in seeing some pictures of the process, click here.)

  • In the beginning, a masonry stem wall must be installed about six to eight inches high all around the existing carport concrete slab. You want do this wall with concrete blocks. If you use wood instead of masonry, that stem wall can end up with mildew, dry rot and termites.
  • Install a series of 2×4 plates, wooden studs and a bearing post on top of that stem wall to support the roof and walls.
  • Build the walls. On the inside of the garage, you fasten drywall to those new wooden studs. On the outside, you put on stucco or siding that also uses the studs as fastening points. You can insulate the space between the siding and the drywall, but it’s not required by code because no one is living in the garage.
  • Any electrical wiring to provide electrical outlets and lighting must be put in before the drywall system goes up. A garage door for your car is also needed along with an electric opener.
  • You must meet other building and fire safety regulations. If the garage shares a wall with a house or if there’s a living space above the garage you need a one-hour fire-rated wall or ceiling. A fire-safe door must be installed in the garage as the entry into the house.
  • Building inspections will be done periodically. They are needed so you can get the full value of your conversion when you sell your house. Unpermitted work can lead to more inspections, fines, or possibly an order to tear down the structure. Inspections by a building official are covered in the price of your permit.
  • Usually the carport roof can still be the roof for the garage, but you might have to add gutters.
  • Finally, finish the walls and painted inside and out.

After that work and expense, however, you’ll have a garage you can be proud to own.

For more homeowner advice, DIY tips, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

Rosie on the House

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