I live in Florida and am getting ready for the hurricane season.
I can't come up with any ideas on how to secure my overhead garage
door from the wind getting around the edges and between the slats.
Anyu ides or experience?
My three 25-year-old 10-foot-wide wood (and only wood) doors survived
several hurricanes in Palm Beach County last year. I spent some time
during the peak winds standing next to them, watching them bow in and
relax out. Quite an experience.
During the panic preparation, I bought some SuperStrut from the
electrical aisle at Lowes, and planned to bolt that vertically in the
middle of the door for reinforcement, attaching to the house frame at
the top, and the concrete floor at the bottom. I didn't get around to
doing that, and got by without it, but having watched the action, I
still believe it would have worked well.
The problem with any hurricane prep is that your perception of the value
of preparations is twisted. Consider the 5 outcomes:
(1) You don't do anything and nothing happens anyway.
(2) You don't do anything and the door blows in.
(3) You do something and the door stills blow in.
(4) You do something and the door doesn't blow in, but it wouldn't
have blown in anyway.
(5) You do something and the door doesn't blow in, but it would have
been case (2) if you hadn't done something.
For (1) (3) and (4), you wasted your time and money.
For (2), you don't know if doing something would have changed things to
(4) or (5).
So your expected success is only the small likelihood of (5) it total
and (2) in part. My hunch is that that probability is small. And thus
that most people are wasting their time preparing for a hurricane.
"Doing something" may keep the garage door intact, which may keep the
roof intact, which may keep the rest of the house intact. I've stared
down a few hurricanes, watched some powerful winds that were nowhere
near full force. That was enough for me :o)
We were first in our condo to install hurricane shutters. Upstairs
neighbor just did it. Without his, we did not reduce our own risk much,
but now the wing of our building is more secure. I think our max winds
were 70 mph. That was interesting enough. We have huge recycling
barrels, which are difficult for me to lift. Hubby is unusually strong.
Barrel blew down the street, and it took all his strength to get it
back. Had it gone toward a glass patio slider, the unit would have been
a total loss. There were people in the neighborhood who had put trash
at the curb for city to pick up, and left it through the storm. It
could have been the missile that ruined somebody's house.
Even if the garage door doesn't stop the wind/rain, bracing it may stop
something worse. Could reinforce the frame and then use some of those
metal hurricane shields from the box store. It's a PIA, for sure,
getting ready for storms. Nothing at all compared to folks who lost
everything, then had to experience more storms.
I also live in S. Fla. After watching my 16' door bow in and out during
the last storm, I saw that there weren't enough brackets holding the
rails to the door frame. I went to a garage door copmpany in N. Palm
Beach and bought 8 more brackets ($1 each) and installed them. I will
also buy 2 more struts(the 16' long metal reinforcement pieces) and
before the storm is here, I will bolt them to my door. They cost $25
each and include all hardware to install.
Because the struts will add weight to the door, I will wait until the
storm is close and the door won't need to be opened for a while.
Any help? Chuck
When I lived in Florida I got ready in advance. I
bought a couple of sheets of 3/4" plywood and cut them
to fit over the door. I set bolt anchors in the
concrete across the opening and prepared a 2X4 to be
bolted down to the floor, outside of the door. I
installed a 2X4 vertically in the middle, then nailed
the plywood to the door frame, the 2X4 on the floor, and
the 2X4 up the middle. I figured that should be a lot
more secure than the garage door.
I only put it up one time, and then the hurricane pretty
much missed, but I figured it was worth it to have that
little bit more peace of mind.
Based on my experience last week in replacing several door panels, Chuck B.
has the right answer, with the reinforced hurricane braces. With our model
door, adding the braces protects the garage door to 130 mph winds. These
braces are "U"-shapped channels that mount directly on to each door panel
and keep it from bending in the wind. They are always in place, and don'at
interfere with normal door operation.
At a previous house, in Boynton Beach, I had a vertical brace, which bolted
to the house above the door frame and into ground anchors at the base of the
door, and then also secured to the door sections. This was a retrofit for
older doors that had been installed prior to today's more severe specs. I
suspect this doesn't meet the current Broward/Miami-Dade requirements.
I got help from my door's manufacturer, since the local installer was
already overwhelmed with local service calls. A call to your garage door
manufacturer customer service may give you more info on what's been tested
and approved for their doors -- you should be able to add on mods to bring
it up to current spec and still use the door on a daily basis. Regards --
During a hurricane the problem will not normally be the wind coming
around the edges or between the slats (normally called sections on
sectional doors & slats are normally on rolling [roll up into a ball at
header] doors), but will be the door getting pushed in or out either by
water or the wind. Basically the door bows until the rollers come
completely out of the hinges. Therefore the wider the door the easier
it is for it to come out.
So what you do depends on what type & size of door you have & how close
you live to the coast. If you live on the coast & get hit w/ 20'+ storm
surge like the Panhandle did during Ivan it's probably not going to
make much difference whether the door is "braced" or not. However
Charley showed SW Fla (my area) that 130 mph manufactured rated doors
work as designed against wind and that non-rated doors came out by the
However whether you can bring your existing door up to any wind rating
is debateable but should be verified w/ a pro or the manufacturer as
someone else mentioned. A typical 16x7 standard non-insulated steel
door normally has (1) 2-1/2" strut across the top section, (5) vertical
stiles that holds the hinges, light 18 ga hinges, light 7 ball rollers
or maybe even be plastic, (2) track brackets & (1) flag bracket holding
each track to the wall. A 110 mph door (without any post) will normally
have (5) 3" struts (2 on the bott section & 1 on the rest), (7)
vertical stiles, heavy 14 ga hinges, heavy 10 ball rollers, (4) track
brackets & (1) flag bracket, but the track is also a heavier gauge. A
130 mph door has the same things but has (8) 3" struts (2 on every
section) instead of 5 and there are also spring clip washers that go on
the end of the roller shafts to keep them from pulling out of the
hinge. As the wind rating goes up or if you have a 18' wide door the
bracing could be even more substantial (some times they may be 4" or 6"
C-Channel). So, sorry Chuck B but in my opinion your 2 struts are not
going to do a whole lot for you other then making the door harder to
The bracing may very slightly between mfgs but my point is that what
many people do & even some garage door companies do to bring existing
doors up to so called hurricane ratings may be giving people a false
sense of security & in many cases it probably is a futile attempt and a
waste of money.
So if the garage door is really a concern then your best bet is to
replace it with one that is certified to withstand a certain amount of
wind. If you believe last year was a fluke then you are probably better
off spending your money elsewhere then to upgrade your existing door.
Sorry for the long post!
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