What is a Tandem Garage?

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I’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of a tandem garage.

In fact, I hadn’t heard of it until we started looking for our next house. I’d see listings for three-car tandem garages and had no idea what that meant.

So if you’re just as confused as I was, sit back and let me explain what a tandem garage is and why it might just be the perfect choice for your next home.

Tandem garage in New Orleans Pin

What Does Tandem Garage Mean?

The word tandem refers to two things arranged linearly. From this definition, you can visualize how vehicles are parked in a tandem garage.

A tandem garage is a single garage designed to accommodate two vehicles, often with some extra room on one side.

It’s similar to a double garage, but the difference is in the alignment of the cars. While a double garage has them side by side, cars are often in line in tandem garages. In this setting, one car parks in front of the other.

In most cases, you’ll find tandem garages having a single door. However, in other cases, you’d find many combinations or arrangements, for instance, in two, three, four, or five-car configurations.

What’s the Difference Between a Tandem Garage and a Double Garage?

A double garage offers enough space to park more than a single vehicle, mostly side by side. You can choose a single door for two parking slots or two separate entrances. But how is this garage different from a tandem garage?

Here are the main differences between these garage models.

  • In a tandem garage, you’d occasionally have to shuffle your cars around if you wanted to access a particular car more often. Conversely, you don’t need to do so in a double garage as you can access either of your vehicles directly since it allows you to park them side by side.    
  • A double garage takes more space than a tandem garage. The typical driveway width is the same for a single-car garage or tandem garage. A double garage needs a wider driveway because of the larger garage door.
  • Spacing between parked cars also varies. There are about six feet between vehicles in double car garages, while approximately three feet in tandem garages.
  • A tandem garage is cheaper to construct than a double garage. You’ll require more material to build a double garage as it is more spacious than its tandem counterpart. Building a garage costs an average of $35-$50 per square foot. Since tandem models are narrower, they cost less than double garages.
  • Only one car can drive through the entrance at a go. A double garage might have more than one entrance and driveway to support multiple vehicles.
Double Garage (left) vs Tandem Garage (right) Pin
Double Garage (left) vs Tandem Garage (right)

Why Are Tandem Garages Used?

Tandem garages are increasingly becoming popular in modern housing units. Below are some of the reasons why homeowners love this garage model.

They Save More Space

Due to their longer and thinner construction, a tandem garage can help save space. People with smaller homes or limited space often prefer them to double garages. Additionally, if you have a classic car that you don’t use as often, keeping it under a car cover in the back of your garage is easy.

A tandem garage utilizes a smaller or single driveway than a double garage, which requires two driveways.

Easy To Clean or Refurbish

Due to their small footprint, a tandem garage is easier to clean and maintain than a double one.

During winter, you can easily scoop away the formed ice from your garage, as well as in the driveway.

Similarly, you can quickly sweep and dust off all the areas in the garage without much of a struggle.

Can Be a Good Fit for Many House Designs

Due to its small dimensions, a tandem garage will often fit in with most house designs. You can easily create or attach one to your house, regardless of size.

Expensive To Change

Once you purchase a house with a built-in tandem garage, it will cost you more money to convert it to another form, let’s say to a double garage.

Such associated costs have made owners stick with them, increasing their popularity.

Look Good: Inside & Out

Due to their smaller driveways and single entrances, tandem garages are, in most cases, dashingly appealing. This completely contrasts with a double garage that takes more space, which might make it look out of shape.

It works well for people who have both regular and seasonal cars

Most homeowners with regular and seasonal cars prefer tandem garages. They can save space and conveniently go on with their daily schedules.

You can position your seasonal vehicles at the front of your garage while the regular ones are at the back. This allows you to easily take the ones you need or perform a shuffle if you require the ones on the front.  

Provide More Storage Room

One of the significant advantages of a tandem garage is that it offers enough space to store other equipment.

In this free space, you can store bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, or any other automobile. This aspect has endeared it to many homeowners.

How To Use a Tandem Garage

If you live in a house fitted with a tandem garage, it is essential to equip yourself with some knowledge on using it.

Here are a few tips to consider:

Identify Each Other’s Schedules

For ease of use, it is vital to determine your roommate’s schedule (if you have one) to station your cars depending on how you use them.

For example, those who go to work first can park their vehicles nearest the door for convenience.

You can park the cars you frequently use at the back while those you occasionally use at the front, depending on your work schedule or your better half’s.

You can also develop some parking rules and establish a shared calendar you can use daily.

For example, if your arrival time is about 6 pm on Thursday while your roommate arrives at 7 pm and you have errands to run at 9 pm, ensure they know your schedule to move their car once you leave.

Have an Effective Communication Plan

Under normal circumstances, your usual parking schedule will face some bottlenecks due to several issues, such as emergencies and spontaneous outings.

It is prudent for you and your roommates to prepare for such eventualities by placing proper communication plans.

Have a dedicated chatting platform where you can communicate with each other in case of any schedule changes.

Have a Contingency Plan in Place

It is advisable to prepare for the unexpected concerning your parking arrangements, as you might be inconvenienced. Take a scenario where you find out one morning that your car is blocked in by your roommate, who isn’t around.

Such occurrences make it essential for you to prepare early enough. For instance, you can decide to share cars with your significant other. Whoever comes first takes the vehicle at the rear or near the door. Or you and your roommates can store your spare keys at a safe central place accessible to everyone.

Doing so can eliminate challenges that occasionally happen due to unforeseen schedule changes. More importantly, you need to develop good relationships with your roommates for an easy time.

You can also maximize your tandem garage by converting the remaining spaces at the front or sides to store additional equipment and other means of transport, such as motorcycles and bicycles.

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.

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