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How to Lay Concrete Pad for a Carport

By Contributor

When your car needs protection from the elements and a garage is out of the question, the next best answer is to build a carport. Carports can be completely enclosed or only partially covered, but the first step is laying the concrete pad.

Decide on a location for the carport. The area should be as flat as possible. Check the slope of the grade from front to back and from side to side by starting at a fixed point or by using a string line level tied between two stakes.

Insert a stake in the ground at the corner of the carport area. Mark the height of the concrete slab by measuring 3 1/2 inches from the ground. Hammer a nail into the stake to show the height and tie a string to the nail. Stretch the string out the opposite side, insert a stake, and tie string to nail on stake, making sure to use a string level to ensure that the string remains level throughout the length. Continue around perimeter, marking the remaining two corners with stakes.

Use a shovel to dig out a level bottom surface in the marked off area. The dirt should be 3 1/2 inches below the marked string level throughout the entire carport area.

Plant a carport post in each corner. Cut a 2x4 to the length of one side of the carport. Place the 2x4 along the edge of the dug out area, perpendicular to the carport post. Make sure the 2x4 is level and nail it to the carport post. Continue on all four sides creating a frame where the concrete will be poured. Fill in the area behind the 2x4s with dirt. This will keep the concrete from pushing the 2x4s away from the carport posts.

Wear gloves while rolling the mesh out on the bottom of the carport area. Use wire cutters to cut the mesh so that it is 3 inches from the edge of the form. Cover the entire bottom of the carport area by overlapping each mesh sheet a little bit. Twist the cut edges together to make the pieces stay together. Stop the mesh from curling up by flipping the mesh over.

Fill the form with concrete when the ready-mix truck arrives. Position the cement chute at the end of the carport area and use a wet rake to spread the concrete throughout the form. Work very fast and tap the 2x4s to help settle the concrete. Frequently tap the top of the concrete to remove the air pockets, ensuring the strongest mix possible.

Wait for the concrete to dry. Remove the 2x4s from the carport posts, leaving the raised concrete pad. Fill in the area around the pad with dirt making the surrounding dirt level with the concrete slab.


Things You Will Need

  • 4 carport posts
  • String
  • Nails
  • Wire cutters
  • Stakes
  • Shovel
  • Steel wire mesh
  • Hammer
  • Rake
  • Safety gloves
  • String level
  • Basic level
  • Ready-mixed concrete
  • 2x4 lumber
  • Safety goggles


  • Always wear safety glasses when hammering.

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