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Keep Your Garage Safe During the Next Tropical Storm

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a garage door can potentially provide the biggest breach during a tropical storm or hurricane. Wind entering through your garage door can blow out windows, doors, walls, or even your roof. Knowing how to safeguard your door is a must for any Florida homeowner, which is why we are providing the following information.

Call (561) 777-6812 with any questions or to schedule a free estimate to bring your garage door up to code.


Choosing the Right Garage Door

Here at United Garage Door Solutions, we are a leading garage door installation and repair firm in south Florida. Our years of experience in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties has given us unique insight into the vulnerabilities of garage doors. Allow us to perform bracing, installation, or any other storm preparation service to see that your home has the maximum protection from hurricane damage.

Wind Speed Requirements

Miami-Dade and Broward counties both lie within the High Velocity Hurricane Zone. This means that they are highly susceptible to damage from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Most homes are considered Risk Category II buildings. The wind speed requirements for Risk Category II buildings are:

  • Miami-Dade County: 175 mph
  • Broward County: 170 mph
  • Palm Beach County wind speed lines range from 120 to 140 mph, depending on your location within the county.

Wind vs. Impact Rating

Wind ratings are only one factor that will determine garage door safety. Another is the impact rating, which states that your garage door was tested for large missile impact. This involves shooting an object such as a 2x4 piece of wood through a cannon at the door. If the door experiences a rupture greater than 1/16" x 5", it will fail to meet the impact resistance standards set forth by Miami-Dade County.

Your garage door should have a large missile impact rating, along with a wind rating that meets or exceeds what is required. To determine your door's rating, look for a wind load sticker on your door. If you can't find one, enter the manufacturer and model of your door on the Florida Product Approval Website. Of course, if you need assistance determining your wind or impact rating, we would be glad to assist you as well.  

Single vs. Double Door

A single garage door provides a smaller opening for wind to enter through, and will therefore provide you with greater protection than a double door. If you are planning new construction, consider installing only a single garage door if possible. For existing homes, you may wish to replace your old double door with a single one instead.

Two single doors will not provide you with greater protection than one double door, and in fact can actually make your garage more vulnerable. Single doors are anywhere from eight to ten feet wide, whereas double doors run from 12 to 16 feet wide. So you will actually have a wider overall opening if you install two single garage doors instead of a double one.

Reinforcing a Garage Door

During a tropical storm, some homeowners will use a garage door bracing kit. These kits are most often used on double doors that have a wider unsupported area in the center. They consist of a sturdy steel beam that anchors into the floor and then attaches to your garage door.

Reinforcement kits that provide extra bracing in the center along with heavier hinges and sturdier rollers are available as well. While these can provide you with greater protection, they should not be installed as a DIY project. Adding a reinforcement kit can affect your door's balance or require an adjustment to the springs. Adjusting the balance and springs is something our technicians can take care of safely and affordably.

Checking the Weather Stripping

Just one inch of floodwater can result in up to $7,800 worth of damage to your home. As such, it is not enough to prevent damage to your garage door, as you must also ensure that the weather stripping surrounding it is in great condition. Ideally, you should inspect your weather stripping just before hurricane season and again after a tropical storm has passed. Replace any damaged sections so that you will be good to go the next time.

Covering your Garage Door Windows

Sealing your home's windows is probably one of the first things you do after receiving a tropical storm warning. The windows on your garage should be sealed as well. Use plywood that is at least 5/8" thick, ensuring that the wood extends beyond your window frame by at least four inches on either side. Use sturdy bolts or screws, and space them no further than 12 to 18 inches apart.

Installing impact resistant glass is also a good idea. Impact-resistant glass has a thin laminate coating that causes it to shatter rather than break. Accordingly, it reduces the odds that someone will be injured by shards of flying glass.


Get Your Garage Door Storm Ready

Securing your garage door for hurricane season is a task best left to the professionals at United Garage Door Solutions. We ensure all building codes are met so that your garage door provides you with maximum protection.

Call (561) 777-6812 to ask how we can help.

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