Hurricane Irma’s recent passage through North Carolina has left many of our customers thinking about their home’s hurricane preparedness in a whole new light. Even people hours inland from the coast can be at risk during hurricane season, and for our readers around the globe, many other areas present threats of tornados, monsoons, or other natural disasters. If you want to prepare yourself against these natural threats, the best place to start is the most vulnerable part of your home. Believe it or not, that might actually be the garage door!
Think about it – most of your home’s exterior is made up of solid, multi-layered protection, like the shingles and wood paneling that makes up a roof, or the multiple sidings and frame layers that composite a wall. But the garage door isn’t like that – it’s designed for ease of use, and like a window or entry door, it is a separate piece from the rest of the house. Most homeowners know to protect their windows against a strong storm, but they may not think to protect the garage door.
The reason that a garage door is actually more vulnerable than an entry door is that it is so much larger. Any forces acting on your home have a huge area to effect, and when a home is destroyed by winds, it is oftentimes the garage door that breaks first. Once the garage door is compromised, it opens up the huge space of the garage to the forces of the storm, and once wind gets underneath the home, you have a major problem.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect your garage door! Nothing will make your home immune to natural disasters, but you can get some much-needed protection against the winds. We’ve collected our four top tips to protect your home here for your convenience!
1. Close all windows and doors.
This tip extends to the whole home. If you’re expecting heavy winds, make sure that all windows and doors are completely sealed, both into your garage and into your home. Many homeowners leave garage door windows slightly open, to ventilate the space, but these gaps give storms a way to get into your home. When your home is sealed shut, the winds can run over the outside without breaking through. When you open a gap in that armor, the winds can force their way inside, and that can be devastating for your home’s structural integrity. With forces acting on both the inside and outside of your home, the chance of a serious problem occurring is much greater.
2. Bracing systems.
If you’re worried about your garage door in any upcoming winds, you might want to invest in a bracing system. There are multiple products on the market that serve exactly this purpose – generally, these are vertical braces made of aluminum, which attach to the door and help keep it in a rigid shape. A garage door is subjected to both positive and negative forces during a storm. There is a huge pressure pushing into the door (a positive force) which is trying to crumple it inwards. In additions, their is a sucking force (a negative force) which is trying to pull the door out of its frame. Either one can open your garage unexpectedly, and once the wind is inside it can blow the roof off your house! Installing metal braces help the door stay in the correct shape, keeping your garage sealed.
3. Parking a vehicle by the garage door.
This solution can help protect your door, but it does come with its risks. If you want additional protection against the positive forces of a storm, you can use a vehicle like a car, golf cart, or riding mower to brace the door. Place a piece of plywood between the garage door and the vehicle, with as much vertical coverage as you can get. Then, carefully pull the vehicle forwards until it is snug up against this layer of wood. This lets the weight of your vehicle act as an additional protective force, stopping the door from opening inwards. It does not protect against the negative force described above, and it does place your vehicle at greater risk – use this tactic at your own risk!
4. Install a more resistant garage door.
As the ultimate step in any home-defense strategy, you can install a garage door that is designed to withstand sever winds. You’ll want to select a door that is impact resistant, so that it can stand up to flying debris in addition to strong winds. Furthermore, a hurricane resistant door should have extra-strong steel track rails, and twist-resistant steel framework. Different doors are rated for different levels of wind resistance, and different jurisdictions require differing levels of security from the garage doors installed locally – contact your local garage door specialists to find out what good options exist within your price range!
If you have concerns about your garage door handling any upcoming weather, these top tips should help protect your home and family. Again, remember that these are not sufficient for every storm and should not be used in place of evacuation, but if a strong wind is your concern, these can help your home maintain its structural integrity. If you need any assistance with your garage door or just want some expert advice, contact A Plus Garage Doors today!