It is extremely important to keep the wind out of your home during a hurricane. Many people protect their windows and entry doors with shutters or impact resistant products, and that’s a good thing.
But most people fail to protect the largest potential opening in their home – their garage door. Approximately 80% of residential hurricane damage starts with wind entry through garage doors. If the building envelope is compromised by failure of the garage door, then wind entering the house can lead to additional damage including significant loss of the roof.
The picture above (courtesy of NOAA/National Hurricane Center) shows two cars flipped upside down by the winds in Hurricane Andrew in 1992. I was told that the cars were originally parked outside the garage. The winds were strong enough to blow the garage door in, blow the cars into the garage, and flip the cars upside down. Note that extensive roof damage followed.
The best solution is to make sure you have a garage door that is code approved for both wind pressure and impact protection – or protect the garage door with a shutter or screen product that is rated for both wind pressure and debris impact. Additional information can be found at www.flash.org and www.ibhs.org.
Reinforcing kits can also be purchased. But note that the IBHS web site states “Vertical bracing systems can be effective for supporting the door against wind pressure loading. Permanently attaching wood members to the garage doors will change the balance of the door and can create dangerous situations that have to be addressed by a professional installer. Furthermore, bracing systems will not improve the resistance of the door to penetration from windborne debris. Backing your car against the door provides little additional bracing and just puts it closer to possible impacts.”