If you live in a hurricane prone or high wind region, you know how important it is to protect your home from the devastating effects of strong winds.
One of the most vulnerable parts of your home is your garage door, which can be easily damaged or blown away by wind pressure, flying debris, or water intrusion.
A damaged or missing garage door can also create a dangerous situation for the rest of your home, as it can allow wind to enter and cause internal pressure that can lift your roof or collapse your walls.
That’s why you need a hurricane rated garage door, also known as an impact-resistant, wind-resistant, or reinforced impact-rated garage door. These are specially designed garage doors that can withstand hurricanes and other high wind storms, and prevent wind and water damage to your garage and home.
In this article, I will explain what a hurricane rated garage door is, how it works, and how to choose the best one for your home. I will also share some tips on how to maintain and operate your garage door safely and effectively.
What Is a Hurricane Rated Garage Door?
A hurricane rated garage door is a garage door that has been tested and certified to meet specific wind load requirements, based on the local building codes and wind zones of your area. Wind load is the force exerted by wind on a structure, and it depends on factors such as wind speed, direction, duration, height, shape, and surrounding terrain.
A hurricane rated garage door has extra reinforcement and features that make it stronger and more resistant to wind pressure and impact than a standard garage door. Some of these features include:
- Heavier gauge steel or aluminum panels
- Additional horizontal or vertical struts or braces
- Reinforced hinges, rollers, tracks, and springs
- Impact-resistant windows or shutters
- Weather seals and thresholds
- Wind locks or latches
Some hurricane rated garage doors also have an impact rating, which means they have been tested to resist impact from flying debris such as wood planks or metal pipes. These doors have special windows or shutters that can withstand impact without breaking or shattering.
How Does a Hurricane Rated Garage Door Work?
A hurricane rated garage door works by providing a strong barrier against wind pressure and impact that can damage or dislodge a standard garage door. It is securely attached to the garage opening with reinforced hardware and wind locks or latches that prevent it from being blown inward or outward by wind force.It also has weather seals and thresholds that prevent water intrusion and air leakage that can create internal pressure in your garage and home.
A hurricane rated garage door can also reduce the risk of flying debris entering your garage and home by having impact-resistant windows or shutters that can absorb the impact without breaking or shattering. This can protect your vehicles, belongings, and family from injury or damage caused by flying objects.
How to Find the Perfect Hurricane Rated Garage Door for Your Home
Choosing a hurricane rated garage door for your home depends on several factors, such as:
- Your local building codes and wind zones
- The size and shape of your garage opening
- The style and design of your home
- Your budget and preferences
The first step to choosing a hurricane rated garage door for your home is to check your local building codes and wind zones to determine the minimum wind load requirements for your area. You can consult with your local building officials, townships, counties, or states to find out the specific wind load ratings you need for your garage door. You can also use online tools such as Clopay’s WindCode® Door Calculator to estimate the wind load ratings based on your location, exposure category, mean roof height, building type, and design method.
The second step is to measure the size and shape of your garage opening to find out the dimensions of your garage door. You should measure the width, height, headroom, sideroom, and backroom of your garage opening accurately to ensure a proper fit and installation of your hurricane rated garage door. You should also consider any obstructions or special features in your garage that may affect the operation of your garage door.
The third step is to choose the style and design of your hurricane rated garage door that matches your home’s architecture and aesthetics. You can choose from various materials, colors, finishes, panel designs, window options, hardware options, insulation options, etc. that suit your taste and preferences. You can also customize your hurricane rated garage door with decorative accents such as handles, hinges, straps, knockers, etc. that add character and charm to your home.
The fourth step is to compare the prices and features of different hurricane rated garage doors from different manufacturers and dealers. You should look for a reputable and reliable company that offers high-quality products, professional installation, warranty, and service. You should also look for a company that has experience and expertise in hurricane rated garage doors and can provide you with the best advice and guidance for your specific needs.
Some of the leading manufacturers and dealers of hurricane rated garage doors in the US include:
How to Maintain and Operate Your Hurricane Rated Garage Door Safely and Effectively?
Once you have chosen and installed your hurricane rated garage door for your home, you should maintain and operate it properly to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Here are some tips on how to maintain and operate your hurricane rated garage door safely and effectively:
Inspect your hurricane rated garage door
Regularly check for any signs of wear, damage, or malfunction. Check the panels, hinges, rollers, tracks, springs, cables, wind locks, weather seals, windows, etc. for any cracks, dents, rust, corrosion, loose parts, etc. that may affect the operation or integrity of your garage door.
Lubricate your hurricane rated garage door
Lubricate your garage periodically with a silicone-based spray or a light oil to keep it running smoothly and quietly. Apply the lubricant to the hinges, rollers, tracks, springs, cables, etc. as recommended by the manufacturer or dealer. Do not use grease or WD-40 as they can attract dirt and dust that can cause friction and damage.
Clean your garage door
Clean your garage door occasionally with a mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge to remove any dirt, dust, grime, or stains that may accumulate on the surface. Do not use abrasive cleaners or solvents that can damage the finish or coating of your garage door. Rinse with water and dry with a towel or let it air dry.
Test your hurricane rated garage door’s balance and alignment regularly
By disconnecting it from the opener and lifting it manually halfway up. If it stays in place without falling or rising, it is balanced and aligned. If it falls or rises, it is unbalanced or misaligned and needs adjustment by a professional.
Test your hurricane rated garage door’s safety features regularly
By placing an object such as a broomstick or a cardboard box under the closing path of your garage door. If your garage door has a photoelectric sensor or a pressure sensor, it should reverse automatically when it encounters the object. If it does not reverse, it is unsafe and needs repair by a professional.
Operate your hurricane rated garage door with caution and care.
Don’t let children or pets play with or near your garage door. Do not place your fingers or hands between the panels or near the hinges or rollers of your garage door. Don’t stand or walk under your garage door when it is moving. Do not leave your garage door partially open as it can damage the springs or cause injury if someone tries to close it.
Prepare your garage door for a storm
By locking it securely with the wind locks or latches provided by the manufacturer or dealer. Follow the instructions given by the manufacturer or dealer on how to engage and disengage the wind locks or latches properly. Do not attempt to open or close your garage door during a storm as it can damage the door or cause injury.
A hurricane rated garage door is a smart investment for your home if you live in a hurricane prone or high wind region. It can protect your home from wind damage and water damage caused by hurricanes and other high wind storms. It can also enhance the curb appeal and value of your home with its style and design.