Your carport is designed to protect your vehicles, but it also benefits from a bit of care and protection of its own. Taking the time to maintain your carport will keep it in good condition, so it will continue to do its job.
Erect It Right
Whether you install it yourself or have it professionally installed by a company like Sauer & Sons Construction, the location of the carport is key to keeping it in good condition. Aluminum carports withstand sun and moisture better than wooden varieties, but their light weight can leave them more susceptible to wind.
When possible, place your carpet on the sheltered side of your home or outbuildings. Even a small windbreak, like a low fence, can prevent a gust from twisting your carport. If a sheltered location isn't an option, select a carport with a well-anchored roof and support posts. Free-standing carports aren't a good option, because the posts aren't anchored into the ground.
Keep It Clean
A dirty carport is not just unattractive, it's also more prone to damage. Fallen leaves collecting on the roof can harbor mold and mildew, which will eventually ruin the finish on the aluminum. Dirt and dust inside can damage the finish or cause screws and hardware to rust.
Aluminum carports are simple to clean. You can spray them off with a pressure washer, or you can scrub them with soapy water and a deck brush. Keeping the inside swept and free of cobwebs will also help prevent dirt buildup.
Although resistant to damage, screws and bolts can still work their way out. Inspect your carport a couple of times a year. When you wash it is a good time to look it over thoroughly. Make sure all the bolts are in good condition, and replace any that appear damaged or rusted. Check the supporting posts and repaint them if necessary. Metal posts can rust and wood can rot if they aren't properly maintained. If you do find any rust, scrub it off with some steel wool and then repaint with a rust-resistant product.
Leaks can sometimes occur, which negates the whole purpose of a carport. Leaks generally occur in one of two places – at a seam between aluminum sheathing pieces, or where a bolt holds the roof onto the frame. Leaks along a seam usually mean the caulking has become damaged Scrape out the old caulk and reseal with a waterproof silicon caulk. If the leak is at a bolt hole, replacing the washer and bolt is usually sufficient, although a bit of waterproof caulk will ensure it stays leak-proof.
Avoid Snow Damage
Heavy snow can collapse an aluminum carport. Although these structures are made to handle heavy loads, it's still better to be safe than to chance damage to your carport and car. You can quickly remove the snow with a roof rake. Don't try to climb on a carport roof to clear it; instead do all the clearing from the ground. Stand to the side as you dislodge the snow with the rake so it doesn't come down on top of you.
Generally, aluminum carports require minimal maintenance. Just some basic cleaning and damage protection is all you need to worry about.