The Importance of Impact Garage Doors in Florida

Swing Doors

Living in Florida offers many advantages, including sandy beaches, year-round warm weather, and local attractions. However, residents of Florida have also to be prepared to face the annual threat of hurricanes. A Category 1 hurricane in Florida usually puts 350,000 homes at risk, while a Category 5 hurricane could put around 3 million homes at risk.

The cost incurred by hurricane damage can be expensive, even for the most insured house owner. For this reason, you need to take precautions to ensure that your home is not as damaged by the hurricane.

One way to protect your home is by ensuring that your garage door is reinforced and sturdy enough to withstand hurricanes. Although it safeguards your lawn equipment, vehicles, and other possessions in a harsh windstorm or hurricane, your garage door could be your home’s weak spot. This vulnerability presents an approximately 300 square feet opening into your home, exposing it to the powerful winds and debris.

In the wake of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, the building codes in South Florida, and especially the Miami Dade area, were toughened. The new codes required garage doors to be able to withstand wind speeds of around 150 mph, which is similar to a Category 4 hurricane.

What Are Impact Garage Doors?

Impact garage doors, in contrast to ordinary garage doors, have a physically reinforced load component, which turns the whole garage door into a vast wind barrier when faced with storms. The reinforced doors typically consist of a steel layer and may have added layers of steel, insulation, aluminum, or and wood paneling.

These extra layers make them sturdier and wind-resistant. The number and thickness of the steel layers, together with the type of steel used, determine the wind speeds that the door can endure.

An additional distinction is the heavy gauge track, which keeps the doors in their place, preventing violent winds from twisting, removing, or lifting the door. For most homeowners in Florida, it is recommended that you strengthen your current door using a retrofit kit or replace your old garage doors so that you can adhere to the new codes.

Useful Features of Impact Garage Doors

The additional reinforcement provided by impact-rated garage doors comes from their unique features. If you are looking for hurricane-resistant garage doors, look for the following qualities:

  • Multiple layers:
    Aside from the minimum steel layer, the multiple layers provided by additional wood paneling, aluminum sheeting, and insulation is characteristic of these strengthened garage doors. These layers protect your home from strong winds and protect you from hurricanes.
  • Insulation:
    In addition to the many layers, you could opt for insulated doors, which will provide extra protection from the extreme heat, and weather conditions all year round.
  • Reinforcement rods:
    Impact garage doors come with firm steel rods mounted to their interior to give extra wind protection. The steel rods bolster the door and increase their strength. This support protects the door from the potential twisting effect caused by whirling winds.
  • Sturdy tracks:
    Unlike the ordinary garage doors, these doors have heavy gauge metal tracks that keep the doors steady and prevent them from being dislodged by powerful winds.
  • Upgraded hinges:
    Additionally, impact-rated garage doors come with improved hinges that offer further strength. They also have more robust rollers that are less likely to slide out due to the high winds faced during a storm.

Why Are Impact Garage Doors Important?

Given the building code recommendations, it would be essential to understand precisely how these reinforced doors protect you during severe hurricanes. A few ways they protect your home is by safeguarding you from:

  • Hurricanes:
    These doors are designed with Florida’s unique climate in mind. With the annual hurricane season expected, starting from June until November, these garage doors ensure that your home is protected.
  • Severe winds:
    Aside from hurricanes, powerful tropical winds are also experienced in Florida. Ordinary garage doors may not withstand such gales. But the additional reinforcement defends your home from the strong winds.
  • Windblown debris:
    An additional feature of hurricanes and storms is flying debris. Depending on the strength of the wind, the debris could vary from small leaves to patio furniture or trees. Impact garage doors minimize the damage caused by such debris to your home.
    Impact-rated garage doors are those confirmed to withstand a 2-by-4 piece of wood, which is shot at the test garage door from a cannon three times. For impact-rated doors, the garage door should be operational and should not have any holes larger than three feet wide after the impact.
  • Heavy rains:
    The weakness in standard garage doors may let water in during a storm, leading to water damage. Damage caused by water can be too costly, with only an inch of stormwater possibly causing about $25,000 in repair expenses. The sturdiness provided by reinforced garage doors reduces these costs.
  • Abrupt changes in air pressure:
    Depending on where your house is located, and the structure of your house, and the strength of the winds, your garage door may be exposed to negative or positive wind pressure. Should the garage door be opened, these strong winds could tear through your house, causing a buildup of unrestrained internal pressure. This pressure can eventually blow out your home’s roof, windows, and supporting walls.

Installing Impact Garage Doors in Florida

The high occurrence of storms and hurricanes in Florida has resulted in the establishment of a strict wind code in the state. There are various components you need to consider as a homeowner to ensure that your home meets the set standards.

Some things you need to consider include:

  • The structure of your home
  • Wind speeds
  • The possible hazard caused by windblown debris
  • Exposure levels

These components are unique to each homeowner, with various parts of Florida having higher wind speeds and exposure levels. Working with a trained garage door technician will hence be incredibly beneficial to you as they are familiar with these requirements and can guide you on your best options. Shield BP are experts at the distributions, sales and installation of impact garage doors in Florida. Contact us today to learn more.