If not properly reinforced, the garage door can be the weakest link in the home during a storm with high winds. The garage door is typically the largest opening in the home. However, it is often ignored during storm preparation because of the indirect attachment to main areas of the home. Ignoring this potential hazard is a mistake that can have devastating effects. Roughly 80 percent of hurricane damage to buildings is linked to winds entering through garage doors. The change in pressure within the home after a garage door has been compromised has been known to allow the roof to become unattached in many cases.
Incorrect Reinforcement Methods
It is important to make sure that proper reinforcement methods are used in order to prevent storm damage. Incorrect reinforcement methods may result in further damage to property while allowing harmful wind damage to the main areas of the home. Unfortunately, these incorrect reinforcement methods are often believed to be effective.
Commonly believed myths regarding garage door reinforcement and the potential hazards of these methods include:
- Using a vehicle to reinforce the door-having a vehicle too close to the garage door during high winds may cause the door to clinch around the vehicle
- Using wooden panels to reinforce the door-wooden panels are typically not strong enough to withstand high winds and may come unattached from the garage door
- Using angle irons or steel vertical braces for reinforcement-these reinforcements may not be strong enough or secure enough to withstand winds. If these braces come unattached from the garage door, they may cause additional damage or injuries
Professional Inspection and Assistance
It is important to have a professional inspect the garage door periodically to ensure the stability of the door itself prior to installing additional reinforcement materials. This should be done outside of regular storm season to ensure adequate time for repairs and reinforcements. A professional should also assist with reinforcing garage doors to avoid potential hazards associated with adding weight to the door’s counterbalance systems.
Proper Reinforcement Systems
Reinforcement systems may be put in place that will allow the door to be used, so that it is not necessary to scramble during storm seasons. Permanent reinforcement systems will withstand winds up to a certain speed, as specified by the garage door professionals. If wind speeds are expected to exceed the handling capabilities of the reinforcement system, vertical post reinforcements can be temporarily added for increased safety.
Proper garage door reinforcement systems that will withstand high winds include:
- Additional jamb brackets anchoring the track to the building
- New and higher quality rollers to secure the door inside of the track
- High quality structural braces for each panel
- New galvanized springs that will sustain the additional weight of the braces
- Strong hinges that are securely anchored onto each end of the garage door