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The average garage door proves itself relatively robust against anything Mother Nature can throw at it. However, the recent arrival of Hurricane Hermine has many homeowners wondering if they can do more to protect their garage door against the high winds produced by a strong storm system. If you want to keep your garage door from being blown in during a hurricane or severe storm, you'll want to check out the following info about bracing your garage door.
Choosing Between Vertical Bracing and Horizontal Reinforcements
When it comes to fortifying an existing garage door against high winds, there are two main options you can choose from. The first option is vertical bracing, a relatively inexpensive yet effective method of adding extra support to a garage door during strong storms. A typical vertical-bracing system for a single garage door consists of a single fortified brace, which is attached to the garage door prior to a storm. The brace is then locked into place with a metal bracket installed on the garage floor.
Although vertical bracing systems are affordable and relatively simple to install, they require you to be present and aware of an approaching storm in order to be used effectively. For these reasons, a typical vertical-bracing system won't be of any use if you happen to be away from home. In addition, the braces effectively lock your garage door in place, preventing you from using the door until after the storm threat has passed.
Another option involves the use of horizontal hurricane reinforcements. Unlike a vertical brace, these horizontal reinforcement struts are installed parallel to the existing garage-door panels, giving them additional support for withstanding hurricane-force winds. The supports also allow the garage door to open and close normally—something that can't be said for vertical bracing. Horizontal hurricane reinforcements usually cost more than simple vertical braces, but the increased convenience and usability offers a compelling reason to choose this option over vertical braces.
Bracing Adds Strength, But It Also Adds Weight
Keep in mind that by adding a bracing system to your existing garage door, you will also be adding extra weight to the door itself. This additional weight can also burden all of your garage-door components, including the automatic garage-door opener. Certain pieces of equipment, such as the extension springs (or torsion springs, if your garage door uses these instead), can violently snap apart under the added stress and strain of a reinforced door.
If you plan on retrofitting your garage door with horizontal reinforcement struts, it's a good idea to upgrade all of the hardware involved in the actual opening and closing of the door. This includes the extension or torsion springs, pulleys, cabling, and, in some cases, the garage-door opener. It's always a good idea to weigh your garage door before and after the bracing installation, as garage-door springs are typically rated based on a door's overall weight.
You'll Also Need Impact-Resistant Windows
Keep in mind that a garage door is only as strong as its weakest link. Garage-door windows often represent that weak link, since flying debris and other airborne projectiles can easily shatter windows, thereby compromising the overall integrity of the garage door. When upgrading your garage door by adding additional bracing, you'll also want to replace its current windows with newer ones that offer impact resistance against flying debris.
When shopping for impact-resistant windows for your garage door, you'll want to look for windows that come with a certificate or label verifying the window's ability to meet or exceed local and state building-code standards. Many jurisdictions require your windows to meet these standards prior to installation.
For more information, talk with garage-door repair specialists in your area or visit sites such as http://shankdoor.com.