How To Prepare Your Garage Door for a Hurricane
If you live near the east gulf coast, you’re no stranger to hurricanes. They are a fact of life around here in Florida, and when they strike hard, they can cause serious damage.
Image source: The National Weather Service
Plenty of folks put a lot of effort into preparing for a hurricane. They board up their windows, stock up on batteries, and maybe even check for escape routes.
But there’s a place where many homeowners fall short in hurricane preparation: the garage door. And it’s an oversight that can have serious consequences.
The costly consequences of failed garage doors
Chances are, your garage door is the biggest opening in your house. Think about it: it can span three vehicles wide, maybe more! That’s a lot of space.
So when the weather gets severe, your garage door really feels the impact of high winds and wind-borne debris. If it’s lightweight and flimsy, it can fail.
Why is this serious? If windows and doors fail during a storm, internal air pressure builds up. That compromises the entire structure of your home, including the roof! Failure of a door that size could have catastrophic consequences.
Image source: NOAA
We saw that happen on a large scale with Hurricane Andrew. The Florida Department of Community Affairs report that the loss of door and windows, especially garage doors and sliding glass doors, was one of the most costly aspects of the storm. (And this is saying a lot when you consider that Andrew was the second costliest storm in U.S. history!)
How to keep your garage secure
The good news is, you aren’t doomed to garage-related damage once hurricane season starts. There is a lot you can do to keep your garage secure and your home safe.
If you’re preparing for a hurricane and think your garage door may not be up to par, here are some tips for making it sturdy, safe, and reliable.
Reinforce your existing door.
If you don’t want to ditch your current door, consider getting a bracing kit. Garage door braces are designed to secure your door against high wind speeds and floods. They’re also affordable, coming in cheaper than door replacement.
They’re less effective when used with old and lightweight doors, though. Your property may still incur damage, even with reinforcements, if your door falls into either of those categories.
Get a wind resistant and/or impact resistant door.
Not all homeowners may have the budget for it, but if you do, you should consider investing in a new garage door that is designed to withstand strong winds and, if needed, wind-borne debris. The cost of a garage door, even more expensive models, is small change compared to the emotional and financial loss that comes with losing a home.
There are plenty of choices out here, all designed to fit different weather intensities and budgets. Some are only wind resistant, meaning they can withstand various degrees of wind pressure. Select a door that matches the type of weather you can expect where you live.
Others go a step further and prevent wind-borne debris from damaging the door. These are impact resistant garage doors, and they’re a must-have for coastal areas that tend to absorb the powerful first strike of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Remember, this post is just an overview! Preparing for a hurricane often requires personalized solutions that take into account the construction of your home and where you live. For best results and maximum safety, we recommend you speak to a qualified garage door technician who can explain all your options and make suggestions based on industry knowledge and experience.