Considering a Portable Garage Or Shelter For Your Car? Check the Facts Before You Buy

Are you considering the purchase of a portable garage or shelter to temporarily house your prized vintage car or speedboat? You are certainly not alone! Drive through almost any neighborhood, and you’re likely to see one variation or another of one of these temporary storage buildings.

And this is not surprising. The reasons people purchase these units vary; however, a typical common denominator is that they are a lot less expensive to buy and assemble than a framed garage. Another historically typical reason people acquire these is that they want to use it temporarily WHILE they are building a framed garage. Or, they need some covered workshop space.

But, not all portable garages and shelters are equal. If you are seriously considering buying one of these units, it is wise to understand a little about some of the primary components.

Portable Garage Frame: Look for a frame that is made from galvanized steel. Sure, purchasing a building that has a lightweight frame will likely be less expensive than one with a galvanized frame. But, a galvanized frame is probably going to last a lot longer, and is stronger than a less expensive frame.

Portable Garage Cover: The heavier the weight of the cover, the more “heavy duty” the overall structure is. Typically, the covers used in portable garages are explained by “ounces per square yard.” So, if you see a structure with an “8 oz” material, you know that it is lighter than one with a “10 oz” material.

An 8 ounce material is quite light – and well-suited for a party tent or mini-greenhouse – neither of which are designed for heavy duty use. But, 8 ounces would be considered very light for a portable garage that you intend for year-round use. A better bet would be a 10 ounce or 12 ounce material, both of which are much heavier. A shelter made with a 10 ounce weight cover would be less expensive than one made with a 12 ounce material.

It stands to reason that a portable shelter that is made using a lighter weight fabric (8 oz or 9 oz) and a tubular or “powder coated” frame will probably cost you less than a garage using a 10 or 12 oz material and galvanized steel frame. If it is critical that you spend as little as possible and only need the garage for a limited time, you can surely find what you need in the lightweight version.

If you can spend a little more, and want to have the structure for a longer period of time, then you can find that as well. There is certainly more than one portable garage company out there, and you will find one that will be able to give you what you need. One more note about cover weight. While one company may state “ounces per square yard,” another may state “ounces per square metre.” Be sure you are comparing apples to apples.

A Word About The Warranty (if your garage comes with one): If the portable shelter that you are considering comes with a warranty, all the better. However, be aware that a warranty does not cover everything! Read the warranty provided by the manufacturer very carefully. Use common sense and follow the directions for assembly.

If you have a warranty question, you will need to speak directly to the manufacturer since most independent dealers do not have the authority to address such matters.

A warranty will not cover damage as a result of poor installation or negligence. If, for example, you fail to remove a heavy snow load from the structure and it bends under the pressure, the warranty will not cover that, because the instructions will have probably clearly mentioned that precautions need to be taken to keep the unit clear of snow accumulation (unless the structure has been engineered to take a certain amount of snow).

The same goes for damage caused by improper installation, or not assembling the unit according to the directions (e.g. not anchoring the garage according to the instructions.).

A warranty is not likely to cover “Acts of God.” If, for example, a hurricane comes through and destroys your unit, the warranty cannot cover it. Consider your location, and whether or not a temporary garage will withstand the weather.

So, read the manufacturer warranty – preferably before you buy – to see what is and is not covered. Many dealers will have the manufacturer warranty posted somewhere on their website.

Finally, consider whether or not a portable garage type of structure will be allowed in your neighborhood BEFORE you make your purchase. Always check with your town offices and any homeowner association you belong to prior to committing to one of these units. Ask whether or not you will need to pay tax on the unit. Be sure you will not be in violation with any building or association codes or rules. Knowing these things before purchasing makes for a well-informed consumer!