What is a Wind Load Garage Door?

Garage DoorWind load garage doors are designed to hold up to the extreme forces that can be placed on a garage door by winds from hurricanes and other severe weather events. They are available in different styles that can be chosen to fit with your home’s exterior design and can thus be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. A wind load garage door has special features like jamb brackets, hinges and reinforcing struts that are designed to stand up to high wind pressures; all of these different parts work together to form an effective wind resistant system.

Why Wind Load Garage Doors Are Necessary

A home’s garage door is usually its largest opening. The size of a garage door means that the pressure from high winds (such as from hurricane activity) can cause it to detach from its tracks or collapse. When a garage door fails, the powerful winds of a hurricane can enter the house and blow out doors as well as windows. These winds may affect the roof and walls as well. The wind may also carry debris from the outside that may place the integrity of the home’s structure along with the lives of those inside it in even greater jeopardy. The winds from a category 3 hurricane can exert force on a garage door comparable to the weight of a car.

The Value of Wind Load Garage Doors

Wind Load Garage doors can provide protection from:

  • Hurricanes and high winds
  • Internal and external changes in pressure
  • Debris carried by the wind

Some insurance companies provide discounts for garage doors that exceed the requirements of the local building code. This includes garage doors that are able to withstand impact by windborne debris where that feature is not mandated by the building code. A wind load garage door may therefore lower the homeowner’s insurance premiums.

How High Winds Affect a Garage Door

High winds can create pressure against the home’s windward side and may also hurl debris at the home. The windborne debris can damage the garage door and compromise its ability to provide protection. When the wind moves down the side of the structure, this can increase the pressure and may cause garage doors that are not reinforced to buckle.

Facts about Wind Damage

  • As much as 80 percent of the wind damage to homes is the result of wind entering through a compromised garage door, according to the Sun Sentinel.
  • More than 70 percent of the homes in areas prone to hurricanes lack doors that are reinforced to provide protection from wind.
  • Less than half of residents in areas prone to hurricanes are aware that their garage doors should meet building code requirements regarding wind pressure.

How to Find Out the Garage Door Wind Load Requirements for a Specific Area

There are wind load calculators online that can provide homeowners with an estimate of wind load requirements for their garage door. However, only their local county or municipality will be able to tell them about the specific mandated requirements for their area. They should check with the local authorities before purchasing a wind load garage door.

Having adequate protection from the wind in the form of a wind load garage door is one of the essential aspects of getting a home ready to face hurricanes and other severe weather events. The choice of garage door is therefore not something a homeowner can afford to neglect.

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