Skip to Content

What is a Tandem Garage?

Wanting more info on a tandem garage! Discover the 5 benefits tandem garages bring with them and how to bring them into modern-day design.

Interior of a tandem garagem gray floor, metal cabinets and shelves, white car parked up in very front of tandem section, lights on

It’s only natural when you’re looking for a new house that you come across a few terms in the description that you don’t quite understand. A ‘tandem garage’ is one of those. I didn’t even know what a tandem garage is before starting this article, so let’s learn this together!

As a general rule, a tandem garage is a garage in which one car can fit behind another. To visualize, imagine two cars in the same lane sitting at a stop sign. This is because the tandem garage dimensions are narrow and typically rectangular, but still fully functional with about six feet from wall to wall.

It probably seems like a big hassle for car owners with more than one car to think about needing to take one car out of the garage to get to the second in the back. Why not get a regular two car garage? And for those with only one car it could feel like a waste of space. I’m here to tell you that this isn’t the case, and you’re about to find out why.

Tandem Garage Examples

Now that you know tandem garages have the space for two cars but bumper to bumper instead of side to side, it’s time to figure out if it’s worth the investment of buying it along with the house you are looking at.

You’ll notice that the definition of the word tandem, having two things arranged one in front of the other, coincides directly with the idea of a tandem garage. The same can be said for a tandem bicycle, which has two seats for two peddlers, or a tandem horse-drawn carriage with horses harnessed one right after the other.

Both of those examples seem pretty convenient. More leg power to peddle a bike, more horsepower to pull the carriage. But is a tandem garage convenient for an owner of multiple vehicles?

It can definitely be convenient!

Example #1:

We all have a favorite car, or one we use more than the other out of simple convenience or a lesser cost. So, while we have a car that we use more there is also a car we use less. This would be the perfect opportunity to arrange your vehicles in a two car tandem garage that is most beneficial to you! The lesser used car can sit near the back wall and the car used more frequently can be right in front of the garage door.

Example #2:

In cities or places with a higher population, it can be difficult to find a home with a decent sized garage for people who own multiple cars. Garages take up a lot of space, taking away land that could be used for other real estate and making it not only rare but pretty pricey. Tandem garages, rather than taking up the width of the property, uses the depth of the property and can oftentimes simply run along the depth of the home it belongs to.

Example #3:

It saves space, but also materials. Tandem garages only use one garage door. Typical two car garages will either use two garage doors or one extremely wide door to be able to fit both cars in the space side by side. So, you may be missing the convenience of picking either car and not worrying about rearranging the order in which they are parked, but I guarantee you aren’t missing that extra cost.

Example #4:

Street parking. No one likes it, and it’s practically always full of cars to leave you without a parking space in front of your home. This can vary from city to city, but there are times when you have to part a block or so away and trek back home. It isn’t convenient at all, especially with arms full of groceries or children running haywire. Although you might think a tandem garage isn’t designed well or has too much space for your one car, I’m sure you don’t want to be making this trip every time you come home.

Example #5:

Yes, a long and narrow garage can be a lot of space for a single car owner. However, there are so many different ways to make use of that space. One way might be extra storage. Put up some metal shelves and organize all of your sports gear or construction tools, or even just to get the kid toys out of the way. Another way could be an extra space for working, whether that means having an office or a workshop. There are so many different ways to make that space work for you, so don’t pass it up just because of the strange design!

Can Tandem Garages Fit More Than Two Cars?

A very good question to ask! Yes, there are different layout configurations of tandem garages that can allow up to three and four vehicles a parking space. A four or three car tandem garage door is going to be that single large door that we talked about earlier. Naturally, the additional car space will cost more than a two car tandem garage.

However, I think you will find the higher price to be very worth it. The more cars you have, the more parking space you need, and you probably aren’t wanting to purchase a house with four separate garages. Now that will put a dent in your savings. A tandem garage is one room but with the space to get all three or four of your cars inside to protect from weather and other potential damages.

Are Tandem Garages Out of Date?

It’s true that you might find older tandem garages with poorly done walls and old rickety doors, but the way I see it is you have been given the perfect opportunity to bring the garage up to its full potential. Everyone loves a good DIY project and this one will be a convenient project to take on.

Bringing garages really up to date really isn’t that difficult, with the most complicated issues being the condition of the garage door, structural integrity, wiring, and roofing. If you have any prior knowledge of or experience in construction, you’re pretty much good to go! If not, you can always look for local contractors to take care of these issues for you.

If you don’t really have any of those issues, then you have the green light to get started!

What should you do first? A paint job. Without a doubt, the quickest way to spruce up any room, even an old tandem garage like this one, is a nice coat of paint!

If the wall is cracked and a bit uneven, you’ll want to look into mudding it which is a really easy process. Learn more about it in this great tutorial video by Phil Fast on Youtube.

If you don’t feel confident enough to mud it, don’t like the texture of the wall, or want to cover up brick or other material, look into getting some drywall or plywood. You can find both of these in bulk at stores like Menards, but also at your local hardware or lumber stores.

The next step to take is simple organization. It’s great to use your garage as storage but you want it to remain as a garage and not end up taking over the space. Clutter and disorganization can shrink a room like you wouldn’t believe. Everything you’re storing should have a designated home on a shelf or in a cabinet.

Once you get started with these two steps, you’ll be on your way to a modernized and stunning tandem garage. Don’t be afraid to choose the fixer-upper – homes and properties like that are nothing but an adventure to learn from and share stories about!