Can Your Garage Door Weather The Storm?

Posted on: 21 April 2016

Strong winds can make short work of any structure or barrier, but few are more vulnerable than the garage door. A typical garage door can easily be torn out or blown in by high winds, leaving your garage open to the wind and rain during a severe storm. To prevent this from happening, you'll want to make sure your garage door is strong enough to withstand a high-wind weather event.

Is Your Garage Door Already Storm-Ready?

Although most garage door systems are already designed to be relatively robust, their required strength usually depends on what local building codes require. If you live in hurricane-prone areas of the United States, for instance, there's a good chance that your garage door system already meets the wind-load requirements of your municipality.

In regions like southern Florida and the panhandle, most garage doors are required to withstand wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour or more. In other areas of the U.S., the wind-load requirements for a typical garage door may be substantially less. Some areas may have their own unique building code requirements for garage doors due to unique weather conditions in the area.

It's a good idea to research your municipality's building codes in regards to garage door systems and match those requirements with the rated strength of your current garage door. In most cases, your garage door's wind speed resistance can be found in the documentation that came with the door. However, this documentation could be hard to come by if the door was installed decades ago or if you weren't present for the original installation. 

Options for Storm-Proofing Your Garage Door

If you find that your current garage door isn't capable of withstanding the strong winds commonly associated with hurricanes, tornados and other severe weather, there are a few storm-proofing options to consider:

  • You can use a retrofit kit to fortify your existing garage door. This typically consists of an aluminum bracing system that's fitted to the inside of the garage door. The braces are usually anchored into place with high-strength mounts drilled into the concrete floor. According to HouseLogic, it's the cheapest option available, with most retrofit kits costing $500 for a double garage door.
  • You can purchase and install a brand-new hurricane-proof garage door. These doors use high-strength tracks and twist-resistant frames to withstand wind gusts of 150 miles per hour or more. Some doors also feature impact-resistant veneers that withstand flying debris. According to Houselogic, you can expect to pay as much as $1,295 for a hurricane-proof garage door.

In areas where high-wind storms are infrequent, creating temporary garage door reinforcements may be a cheaper option than incorporating permanent reinforcements in the door itself. Home improvement expert Danny Lipford offers a way you can create your own wooden reinforcements with a series of 2x4s:

  • Place a long 2x4 on the concrete floor in the middle of the garage door span to create a floor plate. Once the 2x4 is squarely in the center of the span, use concrete screws to fasten the 2x4 firmly to the garage floor.
  • Attach two 2x4s lengthwise in a T-shaped arrangement to create a brace. You'll need to make two braces, with each one installed on both sides of the garage door. Extend the bottom of the outward-facing plank by 1.5 inches so that the brace can be attached to the floor plate.
  • Position the braces vertically with the "top" of the T-shape facing the garage door.
  • Use smaller 2x4s to create support brackets for the braces. These brackets should be attached to the framing above the door. Use self-tapping bolts to secure the brackets in place.

Keep in mind that the door won't be able to open while the reinforcements are in place, so it's a good idea to disconnect and unplug the garage door opener in the meantime.

If you need help with storm-proofing your garage door, contact a company like J & R Garage Door Company Inc.