Garage Doors Vulnerable In Hurricanes

Homeowners Urged To Strengthen Garage Doors

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HOUSTON - Garage doors often bear the brunt of hurricane-force winds, but there are steps that homeowners can take to limit the damage.

It happened during Hurricane Ike. Garage doors collapsed, and homes were left open to some serious damage.

"The garage door is the biggest opening to your home. What we don't want to have happen is your door collapse, because if the door collapses then you have wind damage inside the house," said Brad Gallion, residential manager at Overhead Door Company. "The interior doors could blow out, the windows could blow out even the roof could come off the house. Then we have all that water damage to deal with also."

In Texas, there are three tier levels of windstorm regulation along the coast, according to Gallion.

"Seaward is everything outside the intercoastal (area), which requires doors that are rated 130 miles per hour," Gallion said. "Inland 1, which drops to 120 miles per hour, and Inland 2, which drops down to 110 miles per hour wind gust."

Gallion said homeowners can add additional materials to a door to try to strengthen it, but if those going for windstorm insurance will need a certified insurance door.

"You can actually buy struts and put them on a garage door. The door won't be a rated, tested system, but it will still be cost effective for you to do that," said Craig Roll, president of Coastal Building Inspections. "If you don't have the struts in your door, I would highly recommend to at least upgrade it with struts, but then you might need to put on a heavier spring."

Roll recommended homeowners with older garage doors install a new windstorm door that can average in price from $900-$1,200.

"Don't worry about the date the house was built. What I would do is go out there and look at the garage door, and if you don't have any struts, it is very likely it could be damaged by wind during a storm," said Roll.

Most new homes are already engineered with windstorm doors.

"Each storm we learn something. Now homes are built better than before," said Roll.

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