Understanding the Importance of Garage Door Wind Rating

Importance of Garage Door Wind Rating

If you ask someone about the most vulnerable part of their home during a hurricane, the answer might be the windows. In fact, the answer might be your garage door. Garage doors accounted for 80% of the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, according to Jack Stumpf, owner of a company that developed a garage door reinforcement system.

When a garage door is blown off, it leaves a large gap that causes a sudden pressure change. This change in pressure can cause the roof of your home to peel off, causing significant structural damage. Additionally, once opened, the home becomes even more vulnerable to flooding. Just one inch of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home.

No matter where you live, understanding the wind loads on your garage door can mean the difference between catastrophic damage to your home and a simple escape from a bad wind. Sacramento hasn’t seen any hurricanes (yet), but extreme weather with strong winds remains a major threat.

What is a wind rating and why is it important?

Garage door wind loads are measured in pounds per square foot (PSF). This represents both positive pressure (wind blowing towards the door) and negative pressure (wind pulling the door outward) that the door can withstand. The design pressures, or wind loads, that a garage door must withstand vary by location, including building codes and weather.

You may also see the term “test wind load”, which is often higher than the official wind load. This PSF value means the door withstood this load in the test before failing. This serves as a gauge of whether the garage door’s wind loads can withstand occasional pressure overloads, but there are no guarantees.

Do you need to replace your garage door?

How do you know if your garage door can withstand Sacramento weather?

First, check your local building codes regarding garage doors. You should be able to find the specific wind resistance. If necessary, contact your garage door manufacturer to obtain the door’s technical specifications to ensure it meets your city’s requirements. If not, you will need to replace your current garage door with one that is compliant.

Next, go online to see what others in the area are saying. Which wind load was best? Was it worth choosing a garage door with a higher wind load? Although Sacramento occasionally experiences strong winds, it is not usually considered a high wind zone. The highest wind speed recorded in Sacramento was 136 mph, well below hurricane threshold, according to the National Weather Service.

Therefore, if you are a NorCal resident, especially if you live in an urban area, you may not need a high wind rating. Most people can overcome standard wind speeds without issue. However, if you live outdoors, at high altitude, or in an area exposed to other hazards, choosing a hurricane rating may be a wiser option.

Other ways to spruce up your garage door

Another option is to purchase a brace system for your door. This allows the door to withstand the impact of storms. Other options include garage netting and hurricane panels. However, this only provides additional support and insurance and does not compensate for a weak garage door.

If you’re not convinced about protecting the integrity of your home, talk to your insurance company to see if you can save on your annual premium. Some insurance companies are offering a 30% discount just for making sure your garage is windproof. Another thing to consider is the garage door installation. If improperly installed, a hurricane door can be less wind resistant than a standard garage door. Also, the wind load on your garage door is determined by all the parts that secure the door, so make sure the quality of the hardware you use is suitable for the wind load on your door.

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