It’s Hurricane Season: Is Your Garage Door Secure?

Jun 29, 2011

Hurricane season officially is here.

The first named tropical storm of the year, Arlene, is expected to make landfall tomorrow on the eastern shores of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said. And while forecasters say Arlene is not likely to threaten the U.S. coast, it’s an opportune reminder to homeowners in hurricane prone regions to prepare in advance to make sure your home is secure if a storm hits.

The garage door is the largest moving part on your home and may pose a major threat to your property if you live in a hurricane prone region.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), the loss of a garage door during a hurricane can cause an uncontrolled buildup of internal pressure resulting in a blowout of the roof and supporting walls.

"Code-compliant garage doors are critical to preserving a home’s structural integrity during a hurricane," says Mark Westerfield P.E., Director of Product Development for residential garage door manufacturer Clopay. "Because of their size, garage doors are more susceptible to wind damage than other exterior openings – especially two-car garage doors. Unless you have a tested, hurricane resistant door installed, high winds can force it out of the opening."

To meet the International Building Code, garage doors must have additional bracing, heavier gauge tracking and other necessary hardware to help keep them in place under extreme winds.

Homeowners with an older garage door may not even realize that it poses a threat. A reinforced door is a small investment that can minimize major damage and property loss. And, if your door has weathered a previous storm, it needs to be inspected for hidden damage or vulnerabilities.

Here are the things to look for when selecting a hurricane reinforced garage door:

  • Determine the wind load requirements for your geographic region and make sure your garage door meets them. The local building code authority can provide code information and a professional garage door technician can perform an on-site inspection.

  • Understand “storm ready” vs. "add-on" reinforcement. Two kinds of reinforced garage doors are available. With the “add-on” system, a homeowner has to install long posts in the floor and ceiling to reinforce the door before the storm hits, and then remove them again afterwards to resume normal operation.

    "Storm-ready" models require no advance set-up. Reinforcement is built into the structure of the door and is engaged by simply locking it, a timesaving convenience in the event of a sudden evacuation notice. This type of door is particularly beneficial to vacation home and rental property owners because they have peace of mind knowing that the garage door is secure as long as it’s locked.

  • Choose a door that has heavy-duty rollers, hinges, springs and track to provide additional strength and help keep the door in place.

  • Retrofitting an older door with new hardware will not provide the structural support needed for the current building codes.It is important to have a trained garage door professional install the appropriate door for your area.

For more information and to view a video about Clopay storm-ready reinforced garage doors, visit Wind code information.

To find a Clopay garage door service professional in your area, visit Residential Door Installer.

image (495)

A windblown garage door following a hurricane.


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