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What is a Tandem Garage (Pros & Cons & Layout Designs)

Here we answer the question what is a tandem garage and share different layout configurations and designs.Tandem garageTandem is a word that means one behind the other. This will make sense with the idea of a tandem garage, a garage where one car will fit behind the other.

A tandem garage is similar to a traditional garage, but it will include space for two cars longitudinally versus the traditional lateral. The width will remain the same but there will still be room for two cars, one in front of the other. This is used in cases where there is not enough room to build a garage out to the sides and have to go deeper into the site.

Typically, these types of garages have one door for vehicles to exit and enter, which can cause one car to be stuck if there is another behind it.

In some cases, there will be two garage doors, one placed on each side of the room, allowing a car to enter or exit from either side not disturbing the other car in that garage. This can only work if the driveway layout allows for two point of exit or entry to the garage, which most do not.

Types of Tandem Garages

Two of the most common types of tandem garages are the two car and three car tandem garages. These can be incorporated in many different types of homes and settings. The actual garage dimensions can vary depending on the type of home and its size.

2 Car Tandem Garage

Two car tandem garage and traditional garageA two car tandem garage will allow for two cars to be park linearly. These garages will have the width of an average one car garage with double the length, allowing space for two cars.

Sometimes the space is used for one car and the rest for storage. Other times two cars will occupy the space. They can have one or two points of entry and exit.

2 Car Tandem Garage Size

2 car tandem garage sizeThe minimum size for a tandem garage is 12 feet wide by 32 feet long. This is considering the standard car has a length of 14.7 feet, and providing enough room to park both cars and freely move around the vehicle without being too cramped.

For a larger vehicles or additional room for storage a 2 car tandem garage size of 12 feet by 36 feet is advised. This size is better for those who want a work bench or space for tool storage.

A standard two car tandem garage has a square footage of 384 for dimensions of 12 ft by 32 ft, or 432 square feet for the larger 12 ft by 36 ft dimensions.

3 Car Tandem Garage

Three car tandem garageA three car tandem garage will look on the outside as a traditional two car garage, with two cars placed horizontally. To add the space for the third car, one of the sides will be deeper in the same way that the two car garage is set up.

This can also be used as two parking spaces and a storage or workspace, or park all three cars inside. This type of garage can also have multiple doors if so desired and if space is available.

Three Car Tandem Garage Size

3 car tandem garage size

A standard three car tandem garage measures 24 feet wide by 36 feet long at its widest. The main two car portion is basically 24 feet wide by 20 feet long, while the smaller one car section measures 12 feet wide by 16 feet long.

4 Car Tandem Garage

The standard 4 car tandem garage has the appearance of a standard garage, but is deeper allowing for additional parking spaces. A four car tandem garage can fit two rows of cars, side by side in front, and side by side in the back.

A four car garage is typically found in detached buildings and can provide a substantial increase in the home’s value.

4 Car Tandem Garage Size

4 car tandem garage sizeA four car tandem garage should have a minimum layout of 24 ft wide by 38 ft long. This allows for the minimum space to enter and exit a standard vehicle without much room for storage.

A more spacious layout for a four car tandem garage would have dimensions with a width of 28 ft by 40 ft in length.

Pros and Cons of Tandem Garages

Two car tandem garage

As with any decision there are pros and cons to selecting a tandem garage for your home. Some are as follows.

Pros of getting a tandem garage can really be appealing. Tandem garages are very good for narrow sites, if a two car garage is needed and there is not enough space width wise, this parking layout is the perfect option. This will also save space altogether which builders may want to do to increase their profits of a certain attached building.

Having a tandem garage will also make it so that less space is taken up by garage door. This will be more aesthetically appealing than multiple garage doors.

While it would be the most common idea to fill the space with cars, tandem garages could also create extra space for a work zone or garage storage space if only one car needs to occupy the garage.

3 car tandem garage

Picture of a three car tandem garage

On the contrary, there are some disadvantages that could make you think twice before jumping into a tandem garage situation. The most obvious and most important drawback will be the fact that most tandem garages only have one point of entry and exit, and the cars will park one behind another.

This will mean that if the front car needs to leave, the back car will need to be moved from the garage to let them leave. This can be troublesome in situations such as apartments or somewhere with lack of communication between users of the space. This can even be difficult if communication is available, just timing may not be on anybody’s side.

For some people the reason for building a tandem garage is to stuff as many spots into a small space as possible. This can be not an option in some places due to codes requiring certain amount of parking and it only counting as one actual parking sport with extra storage space versus two spots.

In addition to that tenants can have so much difficulty with stacked parking and tandem garages that they would specifically avoid places with them, creating a smaller market and less of a likelihood of having and keeping renters.

Tandem Garage FAQ 

Sports car parked in tandem garage

Is there a special garage door needed for a tandem garage? 

A tandem garage uses the same garage door as your typical garage, such as a single garage door used for a single row. Two garage doors are used for a three-car garages, where usually a smaller door is also provided at the side for pedestrian access. 

Can you build a living space over a tandem garage? 

A tandem garage with a very narrow width can be a challenge to design to accommodate a comfortable attached living space. However, when extending this living space with an adjoining structure beside the garage can help widen the width.

Apartments can also be possible when building above a four-car garage. Though before proceeding with the building process, be sure to check the local codes and requirements of your area. 

What is the depth of a tandem garage to accommodate a full-size pickup? 

A minimum of 22 to 24 feet is needed to fit a single full-sized pickup truck or large SUV. For a tandem garage with a truck as well as another full size car in front you’ll need a minimum of 48 feet.

Is there a 5-car tandem garage? 

A 5-car tandem garage is rarely used and will likely employ a six-car garage instead. A 5-car garage will have two rows with three cars deep in one row and the other having three cars deep.  

What is the minimum driveway width to install a tandem garage? 

When planning to install a tandem garage in an existing driveway, the driveway should have a width of 20 feet. 

Can a tandem garage be a drive-through? 

It is possible for a tandem garage to be a drive-through, but it is mostly with a detached version and will need a driveway behind the garage.

Drive-through garages will need garage doors at the back as well as a road or drive access on both sides. A construction contractor can answer your questions about whether a drive through design is worth the money for your project.

Does having a tandem garage decrease property value? 

The effect of a tandem garage on a property will depend on different factors, such as location, garage size, and market. There are cases where a garage does increase the property value and sometimes becomes more desirable to potential buyers compared to a single garage.

Using a tandem garage may be challenging, but the extra space can be useful for storing equipment, boats, or other items. 

Meanwhile, a property decreases with a garage when the garage takes up much of the lot. Large floor plans reduce the available outdoor area with both attached and detached garage layouts.

It is best to consult with an experienced real estate professional when you want to determine the impact and difference a tandem garage makes on your property. 

Tips for using a tandem garage

• Regular maintenance of vehicles prevents cars from being stuck in the garage. 

• Install mirrors such as convex mirrors on the walls or any other obstacles along the garage for easier maneuvering. 

• Install good lighting for easy maneuvering, especially at night. A motion-activated light eliminates the need to turn on the lights when using the garage while saving energy.  

• Be cautious when opening tandem garage doors. Consider the floor plan and try installing door stops or other devices that can prevent damage to the other vehicle. 

• Set a schedule with the other car owner for tandem parking. It is best to familiarize yourself with each other’s schedule for smooth use of the tandem garage. 

• Keep the garage organized and clean. With a tight space, littered objects on the floor are bound to cause accidents. Buy products for garage organization to keep things tidy and in line.

Do you have experience with using a tandem or double garage? Share your tips for parking and whether you prefer an attached or detached garage and why in the comments. Visit this page for related garage makeover ideas.

Stephanie Lacy

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Thank you for this post as I did find it helpful as I maneuver through research of building onto my existing one car to make into a tandem.