What is a Tandem Garage – Types with Pros and Cons

what is tandem garage

There are instances when you own a plot but there is a shortage of space for a garage.

Especially when there is not enough width available, you need to think out of the box to fit your cars inside the garage.

You have to change the design of your garage to accommodate the cars in place.

Fortunately, there are tandem designs when there is no scope for a traditional design for your garage.

Even though they are not much popular, still they are useful to make the best use of the available space to your advantage.

Below in this article, I will discuss the different types along with the pros and cons these tandem design garages offer.

A Tandem garage is a special version of a multi-car garage where the cars are parked in line (and not side-by-side).

Generally, we can classify tandem garages into two categories. These include…

types of tandem garage

Two-Car Tandem

With a two-car tandem design, it’s just the name sounds different.

Apart from that, it is almost similar to the old type single-car garage, in terms of width.

This type of garage is long enough to park two cars – one in front of the other.

The way of parking is different for two cars for easy assistance while taking out.

The initial car is parked with its front portion heading towards the backside of the garage, followed by the next car with its back parked towards the initial car.

Three-Car Tandem

When you look at a garage of three-car tandem design from outside, it will look like two cars parked horizontally.

But to give space for the third car, there will be a deeper length similar to the two-car garage on one of the sides.

Depending on the space available and the size of the car, sometimes two or three or even four cars can be parked or empty space can also be used as a storage facility.

Tandem Garage Dimensions

The width and height of a tandem garage are the same as a regular garage. The only difference is in the depth which is usually 36 to 40 feet.

This is to allow for safer storage of cars or for using the area for storing tools.

Below is a garage size chart that will hopefully provide you with a quick summary of the most common size ranges (in feet).

Vehicle BaysWidthDepth
One12 to 16 ft20 to 24 ft
Two22 to 26 ft20 to 24 ft
Three31 to 34 ft20 to 24 ft
Tandem12 to 34 ft36 to 40 ft

3-Bay Garages: Are They Same?

Unlike tandem garages, 3-bay garages are usually detachable and come as a separate unit.

If you have sufficient space, you can also build it like how traditional garages are built as a permanent attachment, but with 3 bays.

When it comes to garage doors, you can have a separate door for each bay or a single door for all the bays.

When the doors are separate for each bay, you can open the door of the only necessary bay.

When it is a common door, the other bays also get opened even though they are not of use at present.

There is a provision to install windows on doors and walls but it is better to avoid as it is easy for the burglars to peep into the contents of the garage.


Generally, a dimension of 32 feet width and 28 feet depth is good enough, if you own medium-size cars, vans, jeeps, or trucks.

If space permits, try to add another 4 feet each to the length and width of the 3-bay garage to assist easy movement inside the garage freely.

Apart from this, it also provides room to store or park bicycles, gardening, and landscaping tools.

The Cost Factor

The average cost to build a 3-car garage can range anything between $28,500 to $42,500.

In general, you can expect to pay around $49 to $50 per square foot.

And this is for an average 3-car garage that ranges from 570 to 870 square feet.

3 bay garage

Advantages of 3-Bay Garage

People with multiple vehicles, especially more than two, always feel short of space to park their vehicles in conventional or tandem garages.

As a result, they will be forced to park the remaining vehicle in the streets. 3-bay garage comes as a rescue to address this problem.

  1. If you have to do some minor repairs or adjustments or cleaning, it can be done inside your 3-bay garage itself with adequate privacy and no disturbance to your neighbors.
  2. You can save a few bucks every month by way of storage facility fees by parking your rare collection or custom cars which you drive rarely inside the 3-bay garage.
  3. Insurance companies quote less premium for people who park their cars inside garages instead of on streets, due to the lesser risk involved.

With add-ons, you can get multiple benefits by using the 3-bay garages.

Some of them are…

Construction of loft offers additional separate storage space.

If needed, even a full-fledged office or apartment can also be built over this 3-bay garage.

You can allocate one bay separately for performing repairs and maintenance work in cars or trucks.

For that particular bay, you can have sunken floors for easy roll-over or use lifts to lift the vehicle for easy inspection of the undercarriage.

what is a 3 bay garage

What are the Advantages of Tandem Garage?

If you live in a crowded neighborhood in cities or towns, there will be narrow space for parking, and tandem garages prove to be the right solution.

Not only it is space-saving, but it also aids you in increasing property value at a premium rate.

For house owners who don’t like the image of a big garage door visible in the entrance, this tandem garage gives an ergonomic design.

The narrow driveway costs you less for pavement and more area for landscaping in the entrance to give it a refreshing look.

Besides all these, you can even maximize the available storage space with some strategies and techniques. These include:

  • Optimizing the vertical spaces like walls
  • Installing ceiling-mounted racks
  • Installing a Slatwall panel system
  • Using a hoist system for storing gears like your bicycle, surfboards, kayaks

What are the Disadvantages of Tandem Garage?

By this time your rational thinking would have thought of the disadvantage that comes with tandem design garages.

Yes, it is the awkwardness it creates whenever you have to take the inner car out of your garage first.

For this, you always need to take the outer car out first and then go for the inner car.

This can be a problem, in case of any emergencies.

This tandem design is also prohibited in certain areas as part of their building design and codes to be followed due to the above-mentioned inconvenience.

Some are of the opinion that, it also reduces the property value due to the inconvenience it causes.

But this debate is subjective as it depends on the location, whether it is city or countryside.

Can 1 Garage Door Opener Open 2 Doors in Garage?

Occasionally there are single garage door openers found that are fitted to open two garage doors at the same time.

Although not very safe, if you want you can get the customizations done for your garage by hiring a good garage door installation service in your area.

Remember, this type of system will not be very safe and may not meet the safety guidelines in your locals.

So, make sure you check with your local guidelines before getting this done.

As a better alternative you can have one garage door opener for each garage door in your tandem garage that will be pretty safe.

These garage door openers will be designed to work with one set of safety eye sensors and will be under the manufacturer warranty as well without any issues.

Is Tandem Garage Worth Your Investment in Long Run?

When you are short on space, mainly the width of your home, then a tandem garage is the best option that can accommodate two cars.

With a tandem garage, you can also save a considerable portion on building costs as you need to construct a lesser space for the garage compared to the traditional design.

With that said, I think tandem garages are only worth your investment if you really need them.

If you do not have much space and can avoid the hassle, you should better stay without it.

Final Thoughts

Modern-day lifestyle has made it mandatory for people to own multiple vehicles either for work, business, or recreational purposes.

It can be either a car, motorbike, cycle, lawnmower, or boat.

Whatever it be, to safeguard it from bad weather conditions and burglary you need a separate fully covered parking space.

The best solution for this is to have a tandem garage or a 3-bay garage in your residence.

Just check out more about the advantages and disadvantages of each before building one.

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