Hurricane Irma in 2017 and hurricane Dorian in 2019 were very scary. They rattled me and my family.
Hurricanes occur once in a while, but when they hit, they sure hit hard. Both hurricane Irma and hurricane Dorian were rated as category 5. These two hurricanes alone caused tremendous damage estimated to be worth around $55 billion.
So I wrote this article on how to secure a garage door for a hurricane.
How Do I Protect My Garage Door During a Hurricane?
The best way to protect your garage door against hurricanes especially if you live in a hurricane-prone area is to either install hurricane garage door braces or hurricane-proof garage doors.
Hurricanes are inevitable. When you live in a hurricane-prone area like Florida, hurricanes are sort of the norm. Chances are you have perfected various ways to deal with hurricanes.
However, if you live in an area that’s rarely hit by hurricanes (basically outside Southwest Florida) then dealing with a hurricane might be an uphill task.
There is definitely a need to be proactive against a hurricane and any other form of damage it might inflict on your home. So let’s dive in and find the various ways on how you can secure secure a garage door for a hurricane.
A little bit more about hurricanes
Before we get to dealing with hurricanes, let’s first understand them. Hurricanes are strong swirling storms that produce a lot of wind and rain. Hurricanes are normally classified in categories ranging from category 1 to category 5.
Category 1: Hurricanes ranked in category one normally have a wind speed range of 70 to 95 miles per hour. Hurricanes in this category are less destructive and easy to deal with. Nonetheless, these hurricanes generate large dangerous winds with the potential to compromise roofs and topple power lines.
Category 2: Category two hurricanes have a wind speed range of 96 to 110 miles per hour. They generate strong winds capable of causing extensive damage to the roof, power lines, and in some cases, uproot small trees.
Category 3: These hurricanes have a wind speed range of 111 to 130 miles per hour. Such hurricanes are very destructive with the potential of removing large roofs, destructing power lines, uprooting trees, and destroying sewer and water systems.
Category 4: Hurricanes in this category have a wind speed range of 131 to 155 miles per hour. These hurricanes are very destructive leading to the destruction of roofs, uprooting trees, destroying power lines, and in some cases, bringing down walls. They normally last for more than a week.
Category 5: These are the most destructive hurricanes. They have a wind speed exceeding 156 miles per hour. They have the potential of messing up power lines, uprooting large trees, bringing down walls, and destroying homes. They cover and destroy a large area, leaving the area totally inhabitable.
Garage doors can withstand different wind loads from hurricanes. You ought to ascertain the specific wind load your garage door can handle and act proactively to secure the garage door for hurricanes.
How Hurricanes Affect Your Garage Door
The last time I experienced a hurricane, it came from the opposite direction, away from my front door and windows. However, my garage door was totally exposed. This made me worried!
The hurricane sure did some pretty damage to my garage door.
When a hurricane hits your garage door, it comes with strong winds that press against your garage door. The high wind pressure might break off your door ripping the garage space open.
The garage space is by far the largest opening in your home. In modern two-car garages, the garage space is quite big.
When the hurricane hits, the pressure inside the garage vastly differs from the pressure outside. This pressure difference compromises the structural integrity of your building blowing up roofs and doors.
This pressure could also collapse walls bringing detrimental damage to your garage space, home, and everything inside. It could also be very dangerous leading to serious injuries.
The other damage caused by hurricanes is flooding. Your door might hold up to the wind pressure, but you’ll definitely experience some level of flooding during a hurricane.
Flooding can cause a lot of damage no matter the water levels. It is estimated that one inch of floodwater alone can cause damages worth $8000 to your home.
Flooding crumbles your drywalls and ruins personal belongings left on the floor. It may also compromise the structural integrity of your garage leading to walls falling. Lastly, flooding interferes with the piping system that might be running through your garage space.
How to Secure a Garage Door for a Hurricane: 5 Proven Ways
Now that we know more about hurricanes, and how they affect your garage and door, here’s how you can secure your garage door for a hurricane.
There are several ways to secure your garage door and garage space from a hurricane. The first option is to install a hurricane-proof garage door that can withstand a hurricane on its own.
This option is quite expensive and is normally adopted when installing a new garage door on a new structure or replacing the old garage door.
However, if you have an old garage door that works perfectly, but is not hurricane-proof, then there are several ways you could secure that particular door for a hurricane.
Some of the protection measures for your old garage door include the use of braces, a manufacturer’s kit, or the use of nettings and panels. Let us explore each measure further.
Garage Door Braces
The best preventive measure for your old garage door is the use of garage door hurricane braces.
Braces are made of strong steel or aluminum. They are drilled right into the concrete floor to keep the garage door secure and resistant to pressure and strong winds. They are also attached to hinges securing the door from being detached.
Braces add strength to the garage door as they are firmly rooted in the concrete. Their heavy-duty material also helps to reinforce the door and secure the door from strong, high-category hurricanes.
How to install garage door braces
Installing garage door braces is a pretty straightforward process. You can easily do it yourself without external help. All you need is a drill, masonry, a hammer, bolts, nuts, and finally a pencil for marking.
To install the braces, follow the following steps:
- The first step is to disconnect the garage door opener. This is to ensure the door does not accidentally open while you are working. Ensure you also put on any necessary protective gear if need be.
- Attach the nuts, bolts, and caps to the center panel of your garage door. This is a fairly easy step. You can always refer to the general guidelines of the brace kit.
- Set the bracing bracket vertically with the door and mark the mounting holes on the floor using a pencil. The bracing bracket should be at the center of the door and as close as possible to the door.
- Drill holes of reasonable depth into the garage floor using the masonry. Remove the debris in the holes and that around the holes.
- Attach the bracing bracket to each of the nuts and holes you attached on the center panel of the door in step 1. The holes you marked and drilled on the floor should align with the bottom mounting of the bracket. Screw and tighten the bolts of the bracket.
Check out this video for more assistance.
Hurricane Panels and Netting
Another viable option to protect your garage door against a hurricane is to use panels. Panels are installed outside the garage door. They are mounted on both ends to reinforce their strength.
Panels are not the most convenient option, but they still get the work done. Since they are placed outside the garage door, they take the hit for the door by absorbing all the wind, rain, and flying particles of the hurricane.
The one advantage of using panels is you don’t have to drill the garage door at the center. You however need to drill the sides, but you can always use garage door paint to resurface the holes after the hurricane.
Panels can also be used alongside braces for extra protection. You can brace the door from the inside and put panels from the outside. This way you are guaranteed maximum protection from the hurricane.
The number of panels required varies depending on the size of the door. Standard doors fitted on one-car garages require only one panel. Large doors fitted on two-car garages require two to three panels. Make sure you ascertain the size of your door before buying the panel.
If you have windows along the outside of the door, you might want to consider netting. Nets are important in keeping off small objects that might shatter or break the windows. They also protect the windows from the rain and excess wind of the storm.
Deploy the Manufacturer’s Kit
Some garage door manufacturers also have custom-made kits to secure your door for a hurricane. This kit assembles all the necessary equipment you require to protect the garage door.
Rather than fitting your garage door with experimental equipment, the garage door manufacturer has made it easy for you to protect the garage door. Check whether your garage door manufacturer has a hurricane protection kit for your door before going out and purchasing those garage door braces and panels.
Hurricane-Proof and impact resistant Garage Doors
This is the most secure way of protecting your garage space from a hurricane. It assures you of maximum protection and peace of mind.
Some modern garage doors are hurricane-proof and impact resistant. They do not require any bracing, netting, or paneling. These doors are however quite expensive and will cost you about $800 to $1300.
Most garage doors cannot withstand the strong winds of a hurricane. Not these doors though – hurricane-proof and resistant-proof doors can handle the pressure of 150 miles per hour winds.
Hurricane-proof doors are not only wind resistant. Some of these doors are also water resistant. This is particularly important if you live near a water body.
There are several factors that determine the hurricane-proof garage door you should get. These factors are wind speed and the type of structure you have. Ensure you seek the services of a garage door professional before purchasing a hurricane-proof and impact-resistant garage door.
Hurricane Insurance – Goes without saying
If you live in an area that normally experiences hurricanes, then hurricane insurance is just as necessary as car insurance or health insurance.
Braces and panels offer good protection, but sometimes the hurricane is so strong that it overpowers this temporary protection. Hurricane insurance offers monetary protection when the hurricane renders irreparable damage to your door and garage.
Just as is the norm with every insurance, make sure you read in detail the fine print and understand the terms before purchasing the cover.
Hurricane insurance is not a luxury. Garage owners need it just as much as other insurance covers. If you live in states that normally experience hurricanes – Georgia, Florida and along the east coast, make sure to give hurricane insurance a thought.
What to do immediately a hurricane hits
Sometimes, strong winds and rain hit abruptly and without notice. Here is what to do when a hurricane hits abruptly leaving you no chance to install bracing brackets and panels:
Disengage the door off the track
Manufacturers suggest disengaging the door from the tracks during a hurricane. This can be done easily by pulling the cord.
Pulling the cord saves your garage door opener should the hurricane damage your door. There is no reason you should lose both the door and the garage door opener.
Lock the door manually
After disengaging the door from its track, ensure you manually lock the door. Locking the door during a hurricane helps to form a resistance against the strong winds of the hurricane.
Garage doors normally have manual locks on each end. Ensure you disengage the door from the track and lock it manually.
How to prepare for a hurricane
Proactive hurricane protection measures could help you protect your garage from extreme damage. Here are a few measures and tips to protect your door and garage before the hurricane hits.
- Seal cracks and cover large openings – ensure that every large opening such as windows and ventilation openings is well covered. Ensure to also seal small cracks within the garage space. You could use plywood or any other material to cover these openings and protect your garage.
- Clear debris outside the garage – hurricanes come with very strong winds. Clearing debris outside the garage is equally important in protecting your garage during a hurricane. Clear any other material or particle such as logs of wood and trash that could possibly turn into projectiles as a result of the hurricane wind.
- Ensure proper drainage – ensure proper drainage within your compound and garage to prevent flooding. Garage flooding could bring you a lot of damage and loss of valuables during the hurricane.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the frequently asked questions regarding how to secure a garage door for a hurricane.
Q1: How much does hurricane insurance cost?
The annual premium paid for hurricane insurance varies depending on a few factors and depending on the state. In Florida, the average annual premium is in the range of $1000 to $6000. Make sure to check with various insurers before purchasing a cover.
Q2: What wind speed can a garage door withstand?
Normal garage doors can withstand about 25 miles per hour of wind. Wind-resistant garage doors can however withstand up to 100 miles per hour of wind.
Q3: How much do hurricane-proof doors cost?
Hurricane-proof garage doors cost between $800 and $1300. The price is normally determined by a few factors including the size of the door and the design of the door.
Q4: Can I use both garage door braces together with panels?
Yes. You can use garage door braces and panels on the same door. Braces are normally installed from inside the garage door while panels are installed outside the door. You can use both braces and panels for maximum protection.
Q5: Do I require nettings?
Yes. Nettings are essential to cover up openings such as windows and ventilation inlets. Nettings help to protect your windows from cracking as a result of projectiles thrown by the hurricane.
And just like that, you now know how to secure a garage door for a hurricane. In summary, the most secure option is to install a hurricane-proof or impact-resistant garage door. These doors offer maximum protection against the monster.
However, if you are not ready to change your garage door, then garage door braces, panels, and nettings are a viable option for you.
Ensure you also purchase hurricane insurance if you live in an area that is normally hit with hurricanes.
I hope this article has helped you gain some insights on how to protect a garage door against a hurricane. Share with me in the comment section some feedback and other pro tips you might have.