In high wind storms, garage doors buckle in the middle, rollers pop out of brackets and the door fails. If the pressure from hurricane force winds batter down your garage door, the pressure then builds inside your home trying to find a way out. This usually results in forcing the roof off of your home causing catastrophic structural damage. On the plus side, horizontal and vertical struts, rollers and brackets can strengthen the door and transfer the wind load across the door to the garage structure. Unless your doors have been installed after new building codes in 2002, your home may be threatened. Retrofitting and new doors are options to consider.
NEW GARAGE DOORS HOUSTON. First, look at your existing door. If it was installed after the new building codes went into effect on March 1, 2002, it should meet the requirements for wind load in your area. A label or certification seal on the door will indicate this.
If it’s an older door, or it’s a builder grade door, you can have a new door installed that meets hurricane codes. The requirements vary depending on which wind zone you’re in. Preferred Doors can help you determine which door is right for where you live. A door must withstand higher wind load along the beaches (and therefore will cost more) than one that’s installed in inland Harris County.
There is one thing to keep in mind; the strongest door in the world won’t help if the garage is flimsily constructed.
RETROFITTING EXISTING DOORS. Retrofitting an existing door involves strengthening the panels, tracks and rollers to withstand the wind – what a new door would do. Garage door repair companies in Houston Texas can do this for you, or you may be able to find a retrofit kit that you can install or have someone install for you.
When high winds swirl around the house, they exert both pressure and suction on that big expanse of door, which is held in place only by the tracks. So your goal is to reinforce the door and the tracks. You don’t want the door to be sucked out of the tracks, and you don’t want the tracks to pull out of the ceiling or wall to which they’re attached.
Retrofitting involves giving doors rigidity against pressure and suction. U-shaped metal struts or bracing attach horizontally and vertically onto each panel of the door. But bracing the door is only part of the task.
Preferred Doors recommends adding long stem rollers with the hold in clips. The shaft, or stem, on the roller is longer so that if the door does flex in high winds, the roller won’t pop out of the hinge. The clip also helps the roller from coming out.
We also recommends adding 2×6’s anchored to the frame work around the garage door so the vertical track and jamb brackets won’t give way. Most of the time this is required for certification.
Adding struts, reinforcing the track, replacing the rollers and recalibrating the springs would certainly help in hurricane force wind storm.
You may decide that the cost of retrofitting an existing door would be better applied toward the price of a new door.
Garage door springs contain a huge amount of stored energy. An out-of-control spring can be dangerous or even deadly. This is one of those jobs that may best be left to the experts. Simply attaching plywood to the inside of the door may void the warranty or damage the motor or the track because the door is too heavy to operate properly.
The trade association for garage door manufacturers issues this caution: “Owners should avoid adding reinforcement to a garage door themselves. This will increase the weight of the door and may result in failure or collapse of the supporting tracks or other components that may not be suitable to carry the extra weight. Upgrading garage doors by adding reinforcement must be performed as a package that includes appropriate springs and hardware and supporting track.”
There are also removable posts that can be attached to a plate in the garage floor and to a header above the door. When a storm is about to make landfall, someone has to be available to put the post in place and run cables from the door to the post to prevent the door from flexing.