Thunderstorms: Garage Door - Securing

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One of the most important steps you can take in preparing for a windstorm is to make sure that your "building envelope" is sealed. That means tightly covering all windows and doors to prevent wind from entering. If you can keep the wind outside, you and your possessions will be safer inside.  

Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable areas to hurricane force winds for two reasons: the relatively long span of opening that they cover and the weak materials they are built with. Many garage doors are constructed of lightweight materials to conserve weight and expense. Although their lighter weight makes them easier to raise and lower, it often makes them less resistant to the wind and impact forces of a hurricane.  

You can reinforce a garage door by adding girts (usually wooden boards) across the back of the door and by strengthening the glider wheel tracks. If your existing door is old or damaged, you might want to replace it with a stronger door and tracks. Even if you decide to buy a new door, reinforcing it is still a good idea. Hardware and home supply stores, as well as companies that specialize in overhead door sales and installation, can advise you about stronger doors and track systems. 


 Keep these points in mind when you reinforce or replace your garage doors: 

  • Use an approved opening protection to cover your garage.  
  • Reinforcing an existing garage door is something you may be able to do yourself if you have the necessary skills and tools. Otherwise, you can hire a contractor to do the work. The necessary materials, including metal brackets and wood boards for girts, can usually be found at a lumber yard, hardware store or home supply store.  
  • Single-car garage doors usually resist wind forces better than a two-car garage doors.  
  • Don’t wait until a hurricane or tornado warning is issued to reinforce your garage door; you probably won’t have time.  
  • Installing a new garage door is more than a one-person job and is not the type of work that most property owners who lack the necessary skills and equipment would want to undertake. If you buy a new door, you may want to either have the seller install it or hire a contractor.  
  • If you are buying a new door, get one without windows. Unless covered, glass is easily broke by high winds and windblown debris. Again, one reason for protecting your garage door is to prevent wind from entering the garage and damaging the contents inside.  
  • Be sure to follow manufacturer's specifications when using or installing wind resistant and impact resistant products. Improper installation may cause a voided warranty or worse, a product failure that presents a threat to life and property. 

Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy 

  • Helps to prevent structural damage  
  • Helps to prevent damage to or loss of contents in the garage 

Estimated Costs 

If you hire a contractor to reinforce an existing two-car garage door, you can expect to pay about $300. The cost of replacing a door, including installation, can vary greatly depending on the size and type of door. 

Technical Information Provided by FEMA