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DIYing a Lean-to Carport: A How-to

DIYing a Lean-to Carport: A How-to

DIY Lean-tos

If you’re the proud owner of a metal carport, steel shed, or agricultural structure and want to increase your storage capacity, adding a lean-to is a great, cost-effective option that can give you additional coverage without a ton of extra investment. But what if you’re looking for a more hands-on approach?

And one particular avenue that’s gaining popularity is the DIY option. Many metal carport manufacturers offer kits that allow you to complete your lean-to addition on your own, with no professional installation. It’s a fantastic option for those with a construction background who would like to save money on installation costs.

In this blog, we’ll highlight these structures and how to successfully take on your first DIY carport kit project. If you’re looking for solid information to improve your installation, you’ll want to keep reading!

Planning and Prep

First things first! Before you can break ground on your new lean-to, there are some important things you’ll need to have in order. Let’s look at what you’ll need to keep in mind:

1. Site Assessment

Start by conducting a thorough site assessment. Determine the location for your lean-to carport and consider factors like terrain, drainage, utilities, and accessibility. Assess the soil conditions to ensure stability and drainage, as this may affect the type of foundation you need. Additionally, check local building codes and regulations to ensure compliance with zoning and permitting requirements for carport kits.

2. The Size of Your Proposed Lean-to

Decide on the size of your lean-to carport based on your specific needs and available space. Consider the number and size of vehicles or equipment you plan to shelter and any additional storage requirements. Measure the area accurately to ensure it accommodates your chosen carport kits or materials. Keep in mind that a well-planned size will maximize utility and aesthetics.

3. Obtain Building Permits

In most regions of the US, localities will have strong regulations surrounding construction projects. This guarantees that all safety precautions and engineering goals are met throughout the build. As such, you’ll want to connect with your local building officials to secure any necessary permits and to ensure your DIY project is legal to proceed.

4. Gather Tools

Prepare a comprehensive list of tools and equipment you’ll need for your DIY project. This may include hand tools like hammers, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and power tools such as drills, saws, and impact drivers. Additionally, ensure you have safety gear like gloves, safety glasses, and ear protection. Having all the necessary tools and safety equipment ready will streamline your construction process and enhance safety.

Foundation Prep

Depending on your site assessment and local regulations, you may need to prepare a suitable foundation for your lean-to carport. Here’s how you’ll need to approach this part of your build:

5. Excavate and Level the Ground

The first step in your DIY lean-to installation will be to clear and level your installation site. This will require you to clear the area of any debris or vegetation and confirm that it is perfectly level.

6. Mark Location

Once you’ve cleared your build site, the next step will be to mark the location where you plan to build. This will provide you with the information you need to install all the components in the right place.

7. Hire Concrete Contractors

In some cases, you may want to add to the existing concrete slab foundation for your metal carport. And while the DIY approach may be a great way to maximize savings, your foundation is likely the last place you’ll want an amateur’s touch. Enlisting the help of certified concrete experts will ensure your building is level, strong, and ready to work well for years to come.


Now that your foundation is in place, the next step in your DIY journey will be to begin installing the components that make up the framing of your building. This process works from the ground up:

8. Anchoring Base Rails

Proper anchoring is crucial to ensure the stability and longevity of your lean-to. Start by anchoring the base rails of your lean-to, which are typically included in your carport kit. You’ll want to position them correctly and securely attach them to the ground or concrete pad. Ensure that the base rails are level and square. Use the appropriate anchor type for your foundation, such as concrete anchors, ground anchors, or anchor bolts, to secure the base rails firmly to the ground.

9. Installing Support Columns

Once the base rails are securely anchored, it’s time to install the support columns for your lean-to. The number of columns you’ll need will depend on the size and design of your structure. Ensure that the columns are positioned evenly and at specified intervals. Use proper connectors and brackets to securely attach the columns to the base rails. These support columns will bear the roof’s weight and provide stability to your lean-to.

10. Connecting Framing to Existing Structure

If your lean-to is attached to an existing metal building, you’ll need to connect the framing of the lean-to to the existing structure. This step is crucial for structural integrity. Securely anchor the framing members of your lean-to to the existing metal building using appropriate connectors and fasteners. Ensure that the connection is solid and weatherproof to prevent water infiltration.

Final Touches

Look at you! You’re almost there! At this point, all that remains are a few crucial finishing touches. Let’s dive right in so you can enjoy your new structure!

11. Attach Support Columns to Braces

Attach the support columns to braces to reinforce the stability of your lean-to. Braces are diagonal members that connect the columns to the framing of the lean-to. They play a crucial role in distributing the load and preventing swaying. Make sure to securely fasten the braces to both the columns and the framing, as it will be essential for your utility carports’ overall strength and durability.

12. Connect Roof Rafters

Roof rafters are horizontal beams that provide the framework for your lean-to’s roof and prevent movement or sagging over time. Connect these rafters to the support columns and the existing structure (if applicable). Make certain that they are evenly spaced and level to adequately support the roofing material.

13. Install Roofing

Choose a suitable roofing material for your lean-to, such as metal roofing sheets. Install this roofing material securely, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Pay close attention to the roof’s pitch to ensure proper water drainage and that all gaps are properly sealed to prevent water penetration.

14. Install Side Paneling (if necessary)

If your lean-to design includes side paneling, it’s time to install it. Securely attach the paneling to the framing and columns, ensuring a tight fit to prevent drafts and water infiltration. Properly sealed and anchored side paneling will contribute to the overall weather resistance of your lean-to carport.

Ready to Build? Contact Get Carports Today!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for small utility carports for housing the family vehicle or you’re designing a fully-enclosed carport kit, Get Carports has the materials and expertise you can count on. Our buildings are built from high-quality materials and use advanced engineering techniques to ensure that they serve you well for years with minimal maintenance needs along the way.

We back these structures up with industry-leading warranties and certifications for an added level of security and offer flexible financing options, and RTO plans that make it easy to own one on a budget.

So, if you’ve got the DIY bug and want to break ground on your new project, call the Get Carports experts at (800) 691 5221. We’ll walk you through the design process from start to finish and deliver a structure and materials you can count on.

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