Carport frames: Steel vs. Aluminium vs. Timber

 

Strongest

Heaviest

Most resistance to corrosion

Cost effective

Steel

 

 

Aluminium

 

 

 

Timber

 

 

 

Strength

When purchasing a carport, strength is very important. When we talk about strength, we’re referring to resistance against wind, snow, rain and even sunshine.

Steel is by far the strongest material for a carport frame. It is twice as strong as aluminium of the same thickness. The strength of steel is a key reason for its popularity in the construction industry.

Weight

Careful consideration should be made regarding the weight of your carport. If it’s to be a semi-permanent structure, a heavy weight frame could be a benefit as it is easier to anchor and less likely to blow away.

Generally timber framed carports are more permanent fixtures and required a thicker frame. Because of this you will most likely require planning permission etc.

Steel is the second heaviest of the group, weighing about three times as much as aluminium. The combination of strength and weight makes steel frames the most durable out of all three.

Corrosion resistance

Resistance to corrosion is important due to carports being an outdoor structure. These structures need to be able to withstand the elements for an extended period of time.

Timber is a corrosive substance by nature. Wood produces a chemical known as acetic acid, and in a poorly ventilated space this can cause corrosion of metal nearby, even if it’s not in direct contact. You will need to take serious consideration when using timber, as metal will most likely be a part of the carport structure as well.

Aluminium is naturally more resistant to corrosion. Certain treatments to steel can make them more resistant to corrosion. However, most steel frameworks are made from galvanized steel, which is has the potential to be dangerous due to the acid used in the manufacturing process.

Gala Tent ensures their steel tubular pole framework are carefully treated with white powder coating, which are non-toxic and very resistant to corrosion.

Cost effective

Price is going to be one of the leading factors when you look for a new carport. In general, you’ll find that steel is much more cost effective that aluminium. It’s more durable and stronger than aluminium and at a cheaper price.

When using timber frames, your carport is considered permanent and therefore you may need to get a building permit in order to install it. This can take a long time and end up being more costly than you anticipated.

If you’re looking for an easy, durable carport – steel is the way to go.

Carport cover materials

Material

Pros

Cons

PE

(polyethylene)

  • Waterproof
  • Low temperature resistant
  • Non-toxic
  • Odourless
  • Can be noisy in the wind
  • Shorter lifespan than PVC

PVC

(Polyvinyl chloride)

  • Waterproof
  • Low temperature resistant
  • Mildew-proof
  • Lightweight for the strength of material
  • Heavier that PE

Polyethylene (PE)

PE is a hard wearing plastic weave. It is waterproof, temperature resistant and odourless. PE is stitched together and lighter than PVC, meaning it is easier to transport.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

PVC is excellent for outside conditions. It is often used for commercial events due to its durability. PVC is welded together as opposed to stitched, making the joints more wind resistant and waterproof.  

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