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Frequently Asked Questions FAQs


This is the most comprehensive guide on the internet that answers all your questions about buying carports and metal buildings. We also regularly publish blogs and articles about the carport industry, the top manufacturers and link to the carport review websites for you, the consumer. Our aim is to help you take an informed decision, buy at the lowest possible prices, and have a priced possession that increase the value of your home or business.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about buying Carports or Metal Building Structures:

1. How do I prepare my site for installation?

Our installation crews are well trained professionals with years of experience in the metal building industry. Here is a list of things your crew will need so that you get a seamless experience.

  • Your installation site may have utility lines running underneath. Water, gas, electric lines need to be demarcated properly before our crew can install the carport or metal building for you.
  • Carport or Building customers often complain about returns because the installers believe the site was not level whereas they believe the site was level. What is a level site for Carport/Building installation? If your site is more than 3” off level, you will have to incur extra fees – cut legs on site. If you’re having a contractor pour concrete on your land lot, please ask them to make it fully level without the 3” level off. For DETAILED instructures for your concrete conctractor, please review our Concrete Recommendations Guide carefully. 
  • If you have a custom requirement such as building on another structure or on concrete walls, please call us before the installation of your metal building. There is a small “install over existing structure” fee you will have to incur and that fees is determined by the complexity of the structure over which the carport/building is to be installed.
  • Additional labor fee applies in case our installers must clear any debris or other things from your installation area.
  • If your building is more than 13’ tall, you need to provide our crew with a telescopic lift on the day(s) of installation.
  • Having your payment ready before the installers arrive is a great practice. Our crew have “runs” during which they may be installing multiple metal buildings.

2. How long does it take from order to installation?

  • American Steel Structures works with the manufacturers who are nearest to your location and are offering the lowest possible price on your carport or metal building. If you’re location is in proximity to the manufacturer’s coverage area, you can generally expect your building in less than 2-3 weeks. The actual onsite installation time for most carports and smaller structures is generally less than one day, but depends on the size of the building. Larger structures can take 3-5 days install time once installers are onsite. If you’re in a state in New England, upper Midwest, or in the upper Northwest, your building may take between 4-8 weeks for delivery and installation. If you’re in an urgency and your site is prepared, give a call to our ordering department and they should be able to help you with an expedited delivery.

3. Do I pay the full price of the structure today?

  • Once you’re satisfied with your design, you'll make a Deposit to American Steel Structures for generally 15%-20% of the building total price. We do not collect any sales tax upfront. The balance is collected when the work is completed and your building is installed. If your buildings retail price is more than 20,000, most of our partner manufacturers will ask for 50% of the remaining amount one week before the installation at the start of fabrication in the factory. The installation crew/shop managers call you to confirm your install availability and will send you a partial invoice for buildings greater than $20,000. If your building costs less than $20,000 USD, you'll generally only pay 100% of the remaining amount upon delivery and installation of your metal building or structure.
  • We do highly recommend that you inspect the building thoroughly prior to tendering final payment. Its much easier to correct minor issues while the install crew is still there then to recall them back from the factory at a later date for minor workmanship warranty items!

4. What material is used to make a metal carport, building or structure?

  • The metal building is made up of metal tubing which includes trusses, bows, legs, nipples, sleeves, ridge caps, hat channels, purlins, L bracket, and baserails. These buildings utilize 14 GA steel for tubing which is 2 1/2″ by 2 1/2″ thick. A thicker tubing material known as 12 GA is used which is 2 1/4″ by 2 1/4″ thick galvanized steel. The sheet material is 29 GA and some manufacturers (but not all) offer 26 GA stronger gauge material upgrade.

5. Can I put my own garage doors, walk-in doors, and/or windows in by building?

  • Yes, you can. We can cut & frame openings on the sides or the ends of your metal building which is known as a frameout. These frameouts range from 3' x 3' to any width and length that maybe suitable for your needs. Since the legs will be cut in order and headers added to support the frameouts on the sides, there is a small frameout fee applies to your building when you request a door or a frameout on the side. You can put residential style garage doors of your choice in your garage building. You can purchase custom walk-in doors or windows, have them onsite prior to installation, and generally the installers will even install your custom walk doors and windows for you.

6. What are added "side panels" on some carport or RV cover structures? 

  • Extra side panels give your metal structure a more finished appearance and increase the curb appeal of the carport or RV Cover. These panels also protect your RVs from rough weather, heavy rains, hail, and snow. Weather can wreak havoc and side panels are an excellent way of reducing the impact of bad weather on your motorhomes. Options are 1/2 panel in 1.5', a full 3' side panel, 6' of side panel, even 9' of side panel on structures taller than 12', or fully enclosed to the ground. 

7. Are 3-4 car garages with SIDE entry cheaper than END entry buildings?

  • When you have three or more cars, you need a wider building. Maybe you have a full-size truck, a sedan and a boat. You may have two oversized trucks and a mini. Whatever your need, if you have three vehicles, we offer the more cost effective side entry options to you. When you increase the width of your building, closing the ends is more expensive. When you park cars alongside the sides, the only extra fee you incur is that of the frameouts or doors on the side. However, it saves you the extra burden of a 32-60 wide building which is usually categorized as a commercial metal building. Its more cost efficient to go longer than wider on your building. 

8. Why must the LEG height be taller than the largest roll up door?

  • You can technically place an 8 feet tall door on an 8’ leg height building. However, the door will be placed only in the center of the end(s). If you are needing two doors side by side on the ends or the sides, the rolled-up cannister of the door (in an open position) needs at least one foot higher legs to accommodate the space for the cannister. 12' or 14' roll up doors require at least TWO feet of header space above the door, requiring 14' or 16' leg height respectively for side mount. On the ends one door can generally still open with a center placement in the center of the ends. However two doors on the end will require 1-2' higher leg to leave space for the opened door cannister up top.

9. What are there any width guidelines for parking trucks, cars, or SUV's?

  • Yes, here are the parking guidelines for cars, trucks, and SUVs in a carport or garage:
  • 12′ Wide Carport: 1 Car, Truck, or SUV
  • 18′ Wide Carport: 2 Compact Cars, Compact Trucks, or Compact SUVs
  • 20′ Wide Carport: 2 Mid-Sized Cars, Mid-Sized Trucks, or Mid-Sized SUV’s
  • 22′ Wide Carport: 2 Full Size Cars, Full Size Trucks, or Full Size SUV’s
  • 24′ Wide Carport: 2 Full or Over-Sized Cars, Full or Over-Sized Trucks, Full or Over-Sized SUV’s

10. What are the tallest leg heights an RV Cover or Metal Building can have?

  • The tallest legs that can be ordered are in some areas 20 feet. Some major vendors cap leg heights at 16' and still others at a maximum of 14'. Keep in mind, anything driving down the road, including Semi-trucks and the largest motorhomes or fifth-wheel travel trailers are max height at 13' 6", meaning they WILL fit through a 14' tall roll up door. Max height needed to accomodate a 14' tall side-mounted roll up door is 16'. Therefore we rarely need to build over 16' leg.  Sometimes in the case where the client intends to add a second story storage loft or living space, 20' leg height an be accomodated.
  • Our installation professionals are equipped with the tools to handle installation of up to 12 feet without the need of a lift, but we require a telescopic fork lift on site during installing for all structures above 12'. Plan on a one-time forklift rental ranging from $2000-$3500 additional. Also many manufacturers have "generic" stamped engineering drawings up to 12' tall structures.
  • Frequently structures taller than this will require order Site Specific Engineering again at additional cost generally ranging from $1500-4500, and a few weeks delay on fabrication / installation. 

11. Will ordering direct from the manufacturer net me a lower price?

  • No! Just like auto manufacturers, most carport manufacturers do not take direct orders, and the few that do, neither will the price be any lower. They all prefer you to visit a partner dealer like American Steel Structures, who is a proven online dealer for most of the better carport manufacturers. We are available through call, chat, and email support, we provide nearly 24-hour support (barring a few wee early hours central time) and are your representatives at the manufacturers to get your order fulfilled at the earliest possible times.

12. How will my carport or building be anchored?

  • We use concrete wedge anchors, mobile home anchors, and rebar anchors for different anchoring applications. If the structure were to be mounted to a concrete pad then traditional concrete wedge anchors would be used. We offer a rebar anchor that is intended for use when a structure is mounted directly to dirt or gravel surface. On our certified buildings, a helical mobile home anchor is used. On non-certified structures, these can be purchased as an optional item and we highly recommend them to certify your structure generally up to 130-140 mph wind load and 35 psf snow load. You'll find additional information and photos on anchoring on our Options and Upgrades Gallery HERE