Hurricanes are top of mind today with Harvey & Irma having recently caused extensive and catastrophic damage. Oftentimes, wind pressure is the most damaging factor in a hurricane. “A Category 3 hurricane with winds of 130 mph exerts pressures equivalent to the weight of a typical family car on a two car garage door.” – Dr. Steve Lyons, Hurricane Expert, The Weather Channel
Homeowners often do not realize the impact that their garage door can have on the condition of their home after a hurricane. FEMA states “ High winds from hurricanes and tornadoes can damage garage doors or even blow them in. If wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage. Reinforcing your garage door helps you protect not only your garage, but its contents as well.”
DASMA, the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association International, has a publication specifically stating the importance of ensuring that your garage door is wind loaded (TDS155, link below) that can provide even more proof and evidence that ensuring that your garage door is wind loaded can be imperative.
What exactly does it mean when we say wind load? A wind load approved door uses a variety of reinforcement materials. These materials include struts, R-Trusses and vertical post kits that are engineered to meet specific building code requirements. The doors may even be available with an impact glass option. A garage door expert can guide you in these options.
Ensuring that you are wind loading your door to meet the needs of your area is important. Checking the building code for your area can give you a base line of what is considered an acceptable wind load level (Example: 90 MPH, 100 MPH, 110 MPH, 130 MPH, etc..). You can check the windspeed recommended (which may or may not match your building code – always double check!) at http://windspeed.atcouncil.org/. You will be able to enter either your latitude and longitude OR your address.
Wind loading your garage door might also provide a discount on your home insurance policy (be sure to ask!).
Ensuring that you contact a garage door expert to help you decide if you should wind load your door and having them perform the work is crucial. You want to ensure that your wind load kit is being installed properly.
Another Hurricane Tip: Be sure to unplug your garage door opener so that it will be safe from any power surges.