If you’re shopping for a carport or building, you have a lot of choices to make. One of the biggest choices is what material you want your building to be made from. Today most carports and outdoor shelters are made from steel, but there are also many companies that manufacture aluminum carports. But which option is best? Keep reading to find out.

Steel Carports in Oklahoma

The Differences Between Steel and Aluminum

Both steel and aluminum are popular in manufacturing for many different uses. However, their use cases are very different, because of the vast differences in their material properties. To compare them, it helps to look at them in terms of their major qualities, including strength and toughness, corrosion resistance, weight, and price.

Strength & Weight

When purchasing a carport, strength is an important consideration. Carports need to stand up to years of outdoor abuse from wind, rain, snow, ice, and debris.

In general, a given amount of steel is about twice as strong as the same thickness of aluminum. That means that a steel carport will be able to stand up to approximately double the amount of wind load or snow load, and it will also be much less likely to dent or deform in case of impact from hail or debris. The strength of steel is one of its best qualities, and it is why steel is still so popular in the construction industry.

Of course, there is a trade-off to steel’s strength - it tends to weigh about three times as much as aluminum. However, for steel buildings and carports steel’s heavier weight can actually be a benefit. Heavier buildings are easier to anchor, and a heavier frame means a steel building’s center of gravity is lower. That means a steel building is less likely to blow over or blow away in high winds and storms.

Corrosion Resistance

Because a carport is an outdoor structure, it is important to consider a carport material’s resistance to corrosion and weathering over time. In this case, the comparison between steel and aluminum is not as clear-cut.

In terms of raw materials, aluminum is much more corrosion-resistant than steel. Aluminum does not rust or degrade over time and stands up to moisture much better than raw steel. However, the majority of steel buildings and carports manufactured today are made of galvanized steel, which is just as corrosion-resistant as aluminum. Galvanization protects steel by coating it in a thin layer of zinc, which keeps it from degrading over time. Because of galvanization, modern steel carports and buildings can easily last 30 years or longer with minimal care.


One of the biggest things you’ll want to think about when purchasing a new carport is the price. Material prices are one of the biggest parts of the cost of a carport, so you’ll want to compare them closely to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

In general, the price of steel is much lower than the price of aluminum. Even when opting for extra features such as a larger size or decorative accents, a steel carport will beat an aluminum carport on price nearly every time.

Which One is Right for You?

For the vast majority of carport shoppers in the United States, steel is the better choice for a carport. Steel is stronger, more durable, and more affordable than aluminum, which means you get a structure that lasts longer for less. You can also afford to get more for your money - at the same price point, a steel carport will be much larger and have more features than an aluminum one.

However, there are a few cases when you might want to consider an aluminum carport. Because of its light weight and corrosion resistance, aluminum carports are well suited to:

  • Installations on decks or patios as a patio cover;
  • Installations in very damp areas or in locations near saltwater that could corrode steel faster;
  • Single-slope or lean-to installations where the carport will be leaning against another structure.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a carport that is strong and durable in its own right, steel is the better choice. It’s also why an estimated 95% of metal carports are made from steel rather than aluminum.

Looking for a quality steel building at a great price? Contact Bargain Barns USA today. We can help you design and build the right carport or building for your needs today. Call 405-872-0338 today or send us a message on Facebook to get in touch and get the answers and info you need.