A metal carport or garage is an affordable and durable way to protect your vehicle or create a workshop space. But before you install one of these structures, you’ll need to prepare your site.
Preparing your site before installing a metal carport or garage is straightforward. The first thing you’ll need to do is gather your supplies. After that, you’ll need to level the foundation by tampering the soil, or foundation material, and using a level to ensure it’s flat.
This guide will explore how to prepare your site before installing a metal carport or garage. You can use this information to ensure your structure enjoys a safe and quick installation.
Tools You’ll Need To Prepare Your Site
Before you can start working on your foundation site, you’ll need to gather some essential tools. The most crucial tools for this job include:
- A level
- A shovel
- A steel tamper
- Dry concrete
- Concrete mixing supplies
- Optional – Foundation material
Once you’ve gathered these tools and supplies, you can begin working on your foundation. However, the precise steps you’ll need to take vary depending on the foundation type.
Let’s explore each common type of carport or garage foundation to find out how to prepare each type.
Preparing a Carport With an Asphalt Foundation
Handling asphalt is a little trickier than pouring concrete, as asphalt must be very hot (120 ℉ (48.88 °C) or hotter) to pour onto foundation surfaces.
For this reason, you’ll likely need to hire a contractor to help you lay an asphalt foundation. But you can make your building team’s job much easier by preparing the site for asphalt paving. The most crucial thing you’ll want to do is level the area.
To do this, you’ll need to:
- Remove any debris or grass covering the foundation site. Before you can lay an asphalt foundation, you’ll need to remove yard debris, such as fallen twigs or leaves, from the site. You’ll also need to remove any grass growing in the area. A shovel and wheelbarrow can help you get the job done.
- Flatten the soil using a steel tamper. After removing the yard debris, it’s time to tamper the soil. Flattening and compacting the ground with a steel tamper helps produce a flat and level surface. You’ll need a level foundation surface to allow the asphalt to harden evenly and provide a stable base for your structure.
- Use a digital level to ensure the site is level. After tamping the soil, it’s time to check that the foundation site is level. A digital level is one of the best tools for this task.
The Klein Tools Digital Electronic Level (available on Amazon.com) is a fantastic digital level device, as it’s simple, compact, and affordable. It also has a large, easy-to-read display screen that rotates to display an upright reading. In addition, this digital level shows angles and surface discrepancies via numbers and a helpful visual representation.
You can also use a glass of water to determine the soil surface’s elevation. Simply pour water into a glass, then set the glass on the surface of your foundation site. If the water shifts toward one side of the glass, you’ll need to tamper the surface to make it level.
Preparing a Carport With a Concrete Foundation
Preparing a carport with a concrete foundation is similar to preparing a site with an asphalt foundation. The primary difference is that you can pour and level concrete without professional assistance. Still, before pouring concrete, or concrete footings, you’ll need to remove any yard debris or grass from the foundation site.
After that, you’ll want to create concrete footings to surround the area.
Once you’ve created supportive footings and cleared the site, you’ll want to ensure the foundation area is level. First, use a tamper to flatten and compact the soil. Then, use a digital level or glass of water to ensure the site surface is level.
You can mix and pour the concrete foundation when you’re confident that the foundation site is level. This should be less than 4” (10.16 cm) of a surface discrepancy.
Preparing a Carport With a Gravel Foundation
Working with gravel is a little simpler than laying asphalt or concrete. However, it can be more challenging to level, because each bit of stone has a faceted surface. Still, using a steel tamper to level the soil beneath the gravel layer is an excellent first step.
You can also use a tamper and rake to level the gravel before installing your metal carport or garage.
Preparing Carports on the Ground
Preparing a soil foundation site is a straightforward process.
First, you’ll need to remove any yard debris and grass within the foundation area. After that, tamp the soil until it’s level. However, it’s wise to create concrete footings around a soil foundation site. Doing so can help prevent the foundation site from developing slopes or eroding.
Creating Concrete Footings
If you plan on installing a metal carport or garage on bare soil, you’ll likely want to create concrete footings. These supportive concrete trenches help reduce soil movement, keeping your structure stable and safe for years after installation.
To create concrete footings, you’ll need to:
- Mark the space around your foundation site.
- Dig trenches along the site perimeter.
- Place ½” (1.27 cm) steel rebar horizontally in trenches.
- Mix and pour concrete into footing trenches.
- Allow the concrete to cure.
- Ensure the foundation site is level.
- Install the metal carport or garage.
If you’re not confident about creating concrete footings around your foundation site, you can always hire a contractor to help you get the job done. Besides, a team of installation experts can help you erect your carport or garage quickly and safely, so it’s always wise to hire outside help in this situation.
Leveling is the most crucial aspect of preparing your site before installing a metal carport or garage. You can use a digital level or glass of water to ensure your site surface is level.
You’ll want to aim for less than 4” (10.16 cm) of surface deviation.
It’s also crucial to finish forming your foundation before moving forward with a metal carport or garage installation. If possible, allow the foundation to compactify and settle (by waiting several days or weeks) before erecting carport beams or placing the metal garage.