One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for a windstorm is to make sure that your "building envelope" is sealed. That means tightly covering all windows and doors to prevent wind from entering. If you can keep the wind outside, you and your possessions will be safer inside.
Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable areas to hurricane force winds for two reasons, the relatively long span of opening that they cover and the weak materials they are built with. Many garage doors are constructed of lightweight materials to conserve weight and expense. Although their lighter weight makes them easier to raise and lower, it often makes them less resistant to the wind and impact forces of a hurricane.
Reinforcing your garage door helps you protect not only your garage, but also your home and contents as well.
Adding weight to a garage door in the form of reinforcement may require an adjustment to or replacement of the door’s counterbalance system. Only a trained door systems technician should perform the adjustments or replacement.
Keep these points in mind when you reinforce or replace your garage doors:
- Use an approved opening protection to cover your garage.
- Single-car garage doors usually resist wind forces better than a two-car garage doors.
- Don’t wait until a hurricane warning is issued to reinforce your garage door; you probably won’t have time.
- Have a qualified door systems technician evaluate the door, since retrofits to the door, springs, track and the installation hardware may be required.
- Installing a new garage door is more than a one-person job and is not the type of work that most property owners who lack the necessary skills and equipment would want to undertake. If you buy a new door, you may want to either have the seller install it or hire a contractor.
- If you are buying a new door, get one that’s wind pressure rated. Wind pressure rated doors are reinforced against wind, and include better installation hardware to resist wind pressures as well. Check with your local building department for information about the wind pressure rating your garage door should meet. Again, a big reason for keeping your garage door intact is to prevent wind from entering the garage and further damaging the house and the contents inside. Keep in mind that garage doors with windows are more vulnerable to damage from wind blown debris.
- Be sure to follow manufacturer's specifications when using or installing wind resistant and impact resistant products. Improper installation may cause a voided warranty or worse, a product failure that presents a threat to life and property.
Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy
- Helps to prevent structural damage
- Helps to prevent damage to or loss of contents
If you hire a contractor to reinforce an existing two-car garage door, you can expect to pay about at least $300. The cost of replacing a door, including installation, can vary greatly depending on the size and type of door.
Technical Information Provided by FEMA