Your garage door may be a very weak link during a hurricane if you live in an Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico coastal area as you can see from the above explanation. Therefore your new garage door may be required by local or state building codes to meet a certain certified windload rating and may also be required to meet a missile impact test.
Many coastal regions along the southeastern Atlantic coastline and the Gulf of Mexico coastline are following the state of Florida's lead and are requiring that homes, buildings, windows, roofs, and garage doors withstand a certain amount of wind pressure. Although the windload is rated in P.S.F. (pounds per square foot) they generally range from 110 mph to 150 mph wind speed. The windload pressure may be dictated by a state, regional, or local building code. If you live in a hurricane region, consult with your local IDA garage door dealer for a free in home estimate to determine if a hurricane garage door is required in your area.
In some areas you may be eligible for a discount on your home owners insurance if you install a windloaded garagedoor. However, your insurance company may require the garage door to have a Miami-Dade County certification.
Just because your garage door meets the windload rating that is required for your area, it does not automatically mean that the door carries a Miami-Dade County certification. Garage door windload ratings range from 110 mph to 150 mph windload, but Miami-Dade requires the door to meet 150 mph windload, the door must be made out of 24 gauge steel or heavier, and the door must also pass a missile-impact-test (2x4 shot out of a cannon twice at the door and the garage door must still be able to operate afterwards). Therefore the difference in cost between a door that meets the code in your area and a door that has a Miami-Dade certification may exceed what you will save on your homeowners insurance over a ten year period. Check with your insurance agent before contacting your local IDA garage door dealer to determine the insurance company's discount requirements if you wish to take advantage of this program.
Just because someone advertises a product to protect your garage door against hurricane winds, it does not mean that the product will actually work as advertised.
If you are considering to have a product installed on your garage door to brace it for hurricane force winds ask the seller for test data, engineering reports, and/or certification numbers before you purchase the product. Many after market products that are advertised have never been tested or certified to prove that they will actually work during a major thunderstorm let alone a hurricane. Hurricane winds generate positive (inward) and negative (outward) pressures so not only does the door need to be braced to keep it from blowing into the garage but it also needs to be designed so that the door does not get forced out of the garage. Therefore, backing your car(s) up against the door from inside has very little value and may only result in your car(s) being damaged along with the door. Ask your local garage door dealer for a free estimate for a garage door that already meets or exceeds your local windload requirements.
Hurricane Andrew proved that an unprotected garage door was one of the most vulnerable areas of a home.
After Hurricane Andrew crossed southeastern Florida in August of 1992, many studies have concluded that the overhead garage door was one of the homes and buildings weakest points. It has been decided that the loss of the garage door contributed significantly to the severe damage and catastrophic loss of many buildings by allowing enough air pressure inside to literally lift the roof off of the structure. Many of today's new building codes are based on what has been learned from the devastation of this memorable storm. To increase your protection from these powerful storms contact your local garage door dealer for a manufactured windloaded door.
Hurricane Charlie proved that the windload ratings for garage doors that were put into effect after Hurricane Andrew were effective in protection of homes that were directly in the path of the storm.
After Hurricane Charlie struck SW Florida on Aug 13th 2004 we seen first hand where there were literally thousands of non-rated garage doors blown out of the opening but the 130 mph rated doors (doors are designed for a certain wind speed pressure but tested at 1.5 times that pressure, so a 130 mph 30 psf door is tested at 45 psf) not only stayed in the opening but continued to function afterwards. Granted some were damaged (dented) from flying debris but the opening & the structure remained protected. There were a number of cases where one of the doors that had been replaced with a rated door before the storm survived the storm without a scratch but the non-rated door(s) beside it that hadn’t been replaced left the building completely (some were blown into the mangroves & never found). Ask your local garage door dealer today for a free estimate for a garage door that already meets or exceeds your local windload requirements before the next storm heads your way.