As many Recreational Vehicle (RV) owners know, owning an RV can provide a wonderful escape from busy everyday life. The experience of owning an RV should be enjoyable and carefree, not filled with worry about protecting and maintaining your vehicle. More and more owners are now opting to store their RV's in prefabricated steel buildings to ensure their prized vehicle is protected from inclement weather, ever changing temperatures and the wear and tear of being outdoors.
Steel carports make a great option for storing RV's as they are the most structurally sound type of building currently on the market and have been safety tested to withstand tornados, hail storms, earthquakes and a variety of other potentially damaging forces of nature.
Steel structures can be designed with maximum flexibility to fit any size or type of RV, and most manufacturers provide cosmetics additions for steel buildings, including stucco, brick or wooden exterior panels, which allow your RV storage to blend in with your home and other nearby buildings.
Building your own on-site RV garage will also save you a great deal of money. Not only will it save you money on paying to park and store your RV elsewhere, but also on insurance. One of the reasons steel has quickly become such a popular building option is because of its ability to withstand fire and extreme heats. For this reason most insurance companies will reduce your price of fire insurance when you have a steel RV garage. To get the maximum savings on fire insurance add at least two to three inches of fire rated insulation around all four walls of the structure. When insuring your new garage most insurance companies will give you an additional saving on premiums, up to 40 percent, if it's built from steel because of the strength and easy of maintenance for steel structures.
Did you just purchase your RV and are looking to protect it quickly? Don't worry prefabricated steel kits are easy to erect and take much less time than traditional wood or brick garages. The average warranty lifetime for a steel RV garage is about 20 years, so what are you waiting for? Read below to find the proper planning and preparation to ensure you and your RV have many years of enjoyment ahead.
Planning the Placement of your RV Garage
Before you start planning the garage itself you must first consider where on your property you are going to place the structure. The placement and orientation of the building will have an impact on its design. When building a garage it's ideal to build it on flat land, look for already flat expanses of land existing on your property, which will reduce costs in leveling and preparing the ground.
Also be wary of the height of the land compared to surrounding areas. If the land you have selected is lower than the rest of the land on your property it may be susceptible to flooding and sitting water. You may want to reconsider the placement of your garage, or take extra precautions when building the structure to handle heavy water traffic. Most manufacturers offer in-ground drain systems and down spouts which can help anticipate the buildup of water and redirect it away from your building and RV. Some local and state governments will place restrictions on how close to another building or property line you can build a structure. Make sure to consult all local building codes and regulations before beginning your project.
Planning the Foundation of your RV Garage
Every structure needs a solid foundation to stand on. Consider whether you will anchor your structure, or build it upon a solid concrete sheet. Anchoring the structure, by embedding stakes into the surrounding ground may be a faster and slightly less expensive solution but you then you must take into account the type of ground your van will be sitting on. Will your RV be sitting on top of gravel, or rocks? These types of surfaces are not the most supportive for heavy RV tires, and may make it less convenient for you fix and clean your RV within the confines of your garage.
The better option may be to create a concrete base on which to place your building. A concrete base will provide a smooth surface for owners to work on when making repairs to the vehicle, and an even surface is optimal for keeping the alignment of the RV and its tires is good condition. When building a concrete slab for your building to rest upon it should be at lease 4" wider and 6" longer than the desired length of your building. This will help evenly distribute the weight of the structure and protect the center of your foundation from cracks and wear and tear during construction and use.
Planning the Size of your RV Garage
When planning the size of your RV garage it is better to plan for future growth. Do not be afraid to include additional space in your initial floor plan to provide enough room for mechanical fixes and the cleaning of your RV, or future upgrades to a larger model. Also be aware of any fold out parts or expansions on your RV. It is best to account for all parts of your RV being fully expanded when stored in the garage to maneuvering and cleaning possible from the comfort and protection of the shelter offered from your steel structure. If you are unsure how much additional room to include many experts recommend you calculate the total square footage of your fully expanded vehicle then take that measurement and multiply it 1.5.
Also be mindful of additional maintenance stations you may want to include within your garage. For owners who live in colder climates it may be beneficial to include an indoor cleaning system. For any additional upgrades that may require electricity or running water make you identify all power lines and water mains that run throughout your property and consider how to access these lines when initially deciding upon the placement for your steel structure.
Author: Conrad Mackie