How to Hurricane-Proof Your Garage Door in the Offseason

Even though the “official” hurricane season does not start until June 1 st this year, and runs through November 30 th , it does not mean there cannot be named storms outside of this period. According to the Weather Channel, there has been one named storm in March and two in April.

In addition, around two percent of all named storms and hurricanes have occurred outside of the traditional June to November period from data provided by NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division. 1 For the 2018 hurricane season, predictions are still underway by many of the major agencies.

hurricane tropical storm

The only one to release their predictions so far was TSR (Tropical Storm Risk), a United-Kingdom-based consortium of insurance risk managers and climate researchers. According to a news article from the Palm Beach Daily News, TSR has predicted an above-average hurricane season for 2018, with fifteen named storms and seven hurricanes. 2 Out of those seven hurricanes, TSR predicts three will be intense hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, and Maria last year.

Floridians are all too familiar with tropical and hurricane storm activity. If you remember back to 1992 when Andrew impacted the state and caused severe damages, especially in South Florida, the state updated building codes. Part of this update was requiring new garage doors or garage door repair replacements to have added tropical storm and hurricane prevention standards.

These standards called for an increased structural integrity of the doors by reinforcing them in various areas so they can withstand higher wind speeds. Hurricane-proof garage doors have specific features that set them apart from other standard garage doors, including:

  • Individual door panels are thicker in various parts.
  • Garage door tracks are heavier and of a thicker gauge.
  • Doors feature either post or built-in door reinforcement.

However, homes built prior to the new garage door requirements, or those that have not replaced their existing doors, still have older doors that may not be reinforced to stand up to the high winds common tropical storms and hurricanes.

brick house with grey garage door

Potential Damages from Unreinforced Garage Doors

If your home has an older garage door that is not reinforced and which does not comply with the current building codes, you do need to be aware of the risks to your home. During a strong tropical storm or hurricane, the winds can cause an excess amount of pressure to build up in the garage.

Eventually, this pressure builds up and is so powerful it can cause the entire garage door to blow off of the garage. In some homes the pressure has been so strong, as we saw with Irma this last year, that it blew off the roof over the garage and knocked down support walls. Aside from this potential damage, once the garage door has blown out, the rest of the home becomes vulnerable to water and wind damages.

Are Reinforced Garage Doors Required to Get Homeowner’s Insurance?

Whether your home requires a reinforced garage door or not does depends on your insurance provider. In the past, providers would still offer coverage on Florida homes with one catch: If you did not have a reinforced garage door, then your insurance rates were much higher.

The increase in rates is often enough to justify the costs to invest in a new reinforced garage door. Plus, some insurance providers will offer a discount on coverage rates for homes with reinforced doors.

In addition, after Irma tore through the state, some insurance providers are now requiring homes to have reinforced garage doors. If the homeowner decides not to upgrade, then their insurance can be canceled. If you have any questions about your coverage and requirements, we recommend contacting your insurance agent.

worker fixing garage door

How Do Reinforced Garage Doors Work?

There are two general styles of reinforced garage doors. The first one uses built-in reinforcements that are part of the door. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the homeowner simply locks the garage door. The reinforcement requires no additional setup since it is already part of the door. The homeowner can continue to open and close the garage door, if necessary, simply by unlocking it.

The other type of reinforced garage door uses post reinforcements you set up before the storm. The posts are placed in specific locations behind the main door and lock into place. Once installed, the door cannot be opened or closed. After the storm passes, the homeowner has to take down the post reinforcements before using the garage door.

What Are the Required Minimum Wind Ratings on Reinforced Garage Doors?

The minimum wind ratings on reinforced garage doors do vary. It is important to verify the building codes in your area, like contacting our garage door repair, replacement, and installation company . In most areas of Florida, the building code requires doors to have a minimum wind rating of 130 mph. In other places, the minimum wind rating can be 150 mph or more.

Having a higher wind rating on your garage door can be beneficial. To give you an idea of wind speeds for tropical storms and hurricanes, the National Hurricane Center uses the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, as follows: 3

  • Tropical Storms: Maximum wind speeds can reach up to 73 mph.
  • Category 1 Hurricanes: Wind speeds are at least 74 mph, with maximum wind speeds of 95 mph.
  • Category 2 Hurricanes: Wind speeds range from a minimum of 96 mph to a maximum of 110 mph.
  • Category 3 Hurricanes: Wind speeds will be between 111 mph and 129 mph.
  • Category 4 Hurricanes: Wind speeds are sustained at a minimum of 130 mph and a maximum of 156 mph.
  • Category 5 Hurricanes: Wind speeds are 157 mph or higher.

trees in a hurricane

To help give you an idea of how powerful these wind speeds are, let’s review some facts about Irma, provided by the Weather Channel: 4

  • Hurricane Irma had maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and higher and maintained these wind speeds for a 37-hour period.
  • When Irma came ashore in the Florida Keys, it had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.
  • Irma still had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph when it reached Marco Island.
  • In Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, wind gusts of up to 109 mph were recorded.
  • In Naples, wind gusts of up to 142 mph were recorded as the hurricane headed north.
  • In Orlando, wind gusts ranged between 70 to 80 mph for several hours as Irma continued to track north up the west coast of Florida.
  • In Jacksonville, winds frequently gusted between 80 and 90 mph as Irma’s outer bands moved over the city.

As you can see, even though Irma greatly impacted southern and western Florida, the effects of the storm were felt across the entire state, even here in Jacksonville.

Can Reinforced Garage Doors Get Damaged?

There is always a possibility that reinforced garage doors could get damaged by a major storm. The door could get dents, dings, and other damages. If the storm is powerful enough, it could cause debris to be driven through the door.

The thing to remember is that the primary purpose of reinforced garage doors is to mitigate and reduce the amount of potential damage to your home during a tropical storm or hurricane. As long as you have hurricane insurance coverage on your home, your insurance company will help cover any garage door repair expenses, as well as other homes repairs, minus your deductible.

Garage doors installation Worker

Why Upgrade to a Reinforced Garage Door in the Offseason?

The biggest mistake homeowners can make is waiting until there is a storm heading toward Florida. Everyone will be taking steps to protect their homes, and the demand for storm shutters, reinforced garage doors, and other such materials are in high demand.

As a result, shortages are quite common, and many homes end up going unprotected. As you can see, it is in your best interests to take steps now to protect your home against tropical storms and hurricanes. Not to mention, you could qualify for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance!

With 2018 expected to be an above-average hurricane season, don’t you want to make sure your garage and home are protected? You never know where the next major storm to impact Florida will make landfall, as we all saw with Irma.

To learn more about hurricane garage door reinforcement and upgrading the garage door on your home, please feel free to contact A1A Overhead Doors Company at (904) 821-8463 today! We serve Jacksonville and the surrounding areas.

Sources

  1. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-03-06-march-1908-atlantic-hurricane
  2. www.palmbeachdailynews.com/weather/early-forecast-above-average-hurricane-season-2018/BMA9RIMiEzii8XgGJSYvtO/
  3. https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php
  4. https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-tropical-storm-irma-recap-2017

Common Garage Door Repairs and When to Call In the Professionals

The garage door is a complex piece of hardware some of us use every day. We open it in the morning to back our car out and close it as we head off to work. Then we return home in the evening and open and close it again. If we have a family, our spouse will also use the garage door to get their vehicle out to go to work, run errands, or take the kids to school.

Not to mention, your kids will open and close the door to get their bikes and toys out. Plus, you will be opening and closing the door on the weekends when you do yard work or other things around the home. With so much use, it is a wonder garage doors last as long as they do.

house with new garage doors

Yet periodically, they do need some general maintenance and care to keep them working correctly. If you ignore performing maintenance, then your garage door could break. If that happens, then you need to decide if the garage door repairs are something you can handle or if you need to call in a professional technician for help.

Before we get into the various repairs, let’s first look at garage door maintenance tips.

  • Inspect the Door: You want to look for dents, dings, cracks, and other areas where the door is not sealing. Check at the bottom to make sure you cannot see light from the outside, as well as along the sides.
  • Inspect the Door Hardware: Look at the hinges, springs, lift arm, and other hardware used to open and close the door for any signs of rusting or damaged parts and components.
  • Inspect Door Tracks: The door tracks should not be bent or misaligned. The wheels on the door hardware should roll when you open and close the door.
  • Check Door Supports: Check to make sure no anchor screws have come out of the overhead door supports or tracks.
  • Replace Automatic Opener Batteries: Once a year, replace the batteries in your remote garage door openers.
  • Lubricate door hardware with an appropriate product: Your garage door technician can let you know what product to use to keep hardware lubricated and working correctly.
  • Wash the door: You can use a gentle detergent, like a car wash soap and a soft cloth to wash the door. DO NOT use a power washer, as this can take paint off the door. A garden hose with an attached nozzle is all the pressure you need to rinse the door off.

Maintenance should be performed at least twice a year, as well as after any major storms. If you discover any problems, you need to get these fixed as soon as possible.

brown garage door

Repairs: DIY vs. Professional

Now that we’ve covered what maintenance you should be doing, let’s look at when things go wrong.

  • Broken Springs: Springs are under constant pressure. When one breaks, you will know, it as it makes a huge banging sound. Garage door springs should be replaced by a professional to ensure they are installed correctly. Not to mention, this repair is one that requires taking the right safety precautions.
  • Broken Hardware: If it is just a single hinge, then you may be able to do the repair yourself. On the other hand, if you have to replace multiple hinges or other hardware, you will want to get help from a professional.

man fixing broken garage

  • Broken/Cracked Door Panels: Even though the door panels look like they are not heavy, they do weigh a lot. This type of repair requires at least two people that know how to safely replace the panels. It is not an easy DIY repair.
  • Broken Wheels: If the wheels are locked and no longer turn, they need to be replaced. You have to be careful when replacing wheels to not bend the door track or cause other damages. It is for these reasons you should rely on an expert.
  • Missing or Damage Weather Stripping: Replacing weather stripping is a DIY repair you can do on your own. It is not hard to install new stripping on the sides or under the door. However, for stripping in between door panels, you should call your local garage repair technician for help.
  • Dents and Dings: You may be able to use a plunger to get out some dents and dings on your own. If they are deeper, then it may be time to replace the damaged panels or upgrade to a new door.
  • Broken Automatic Opener: Automatic openers have many different moving parts and components, as well as electrical wiring. Due to electrical hazards, it is best to have a garage door technician do the work.

As with other complex hardware, it is essential to know when things are just beyond your skills. There can be certain risks and hazards of attempting certain garage door repairs on your own that could lead to additional door damages and personal injuries. In addition, it may be more beneficial and cost-effective to have a new door installed rather than repair your existing one.

fixing broken garage door track

Benefits of Getting a New Garage Door Installed

If your garage door and the opener are getting to the point where repairs are becoming a common occurrence, it is time for a new door. Even if your door is still working fine, but is more than five years old, you could gain some added benefits by upgrading to a new overhead garage door .

  • Better Insulation: You can improve the energy efficiency of your home and garage with an insulated garage door. The insulation helps keep the garage cooler in summer and warmer in winter, which also can help lower your energy bills.
  • Stronger Doors: Here in Florida, you need a strong door to stand up to tropical storms and other severe weather. Modern doors are much stronger today and meet or exceed current hurricane building codes.
  • Appearance: Getting a new door is an easy way to change the exterior appearance of your home. If the door is faded, dented, dinged, or simply looks bad, then get a new one. Not only will your home be more appealing, the new door could increase the value of your home.

house with big brown garage doors

  • Safety/Security: New doors and garage door openers have improved safety and security features—for instance, reverse door sensors to stop the door from closing when something or someone is under it. There are also security keypads you can get installed to open the door from outside when you do not have the remote control opener, as well as “pin-based” and smartphone app openers.
  • Better Insurance Rates: Some insurance companies offer a discount on your house insurance for installing a new garage door with improved insulation and added safety and security features.
  • Quieter Openers: Modern door openers are much quieter when combined with the right garage door hardware components.
  • Battery Backup Features: In the event of a power outage, you no longer have to try to figure out how to disengage the automatic control arm from the door with a battery backup upgrade. You will be still able to open and close the door for a short period of time.

Several of these benefits could result in the new door paying for itself over a period of time, such as reduced energy bills or lower insurance premiums.

For all types of garage door repairs , or to find out your options for upgrading to a new garage door, please feel free to contact A1A Overhead Door Company at (904) 821-8463 today! We service the entire Jacksonville metro area as well as up to 50 miles into the outer counties.

Common Broken Garage Door Problems and Repairs

The garage door on your home is not something you might think much about so long as it is working. The only time you truly notice the door and all its parts and components is when something goes wrong. This is when you call a garage door repair technician to have them come fix your door .

It is not uncommon for many people to be unfamiliar with garage door terminology. Before we discuss some of the more common garage door problems you can experience, let’s do a review of garage door basics. This will help you have a better understanding of what can go wrong.

grey garage door

Garage Door Basics

There are several working parts and components which make up the entire garage door system. These can be broken down into three specific categories: the door itself, hardware components, and weather-stripping.

Doors

There is some general information you need to know in regards to the door itself, which can affect how it functions.

  • Garage doors can open either vertically (up and down) or horizontally (left and right).
  • Garage doors can be insulated or uninsulated.
  • Insulated doors are ideal for the warmer Florida climates, as well as in colder northern climates.
  • Insulated doors have an R-value, which tells you how effective they are at insulating your garage.
  • Doors with higher R-values have more insulation to keep out the hot and cold.
  • Certain types of doors are better at standing up to tropical storms and hurricanes.
  • Garage doors can be made from aluminum, vinyl, wood, steel, fiberglass, and PVC materials.
  • Some styles of doors will feature windows as part of their design.
  • The most common types of door used on homes in Florida are vertically opening, sectional doors.

Hardware Components

When it comes to the garage door’s hardware, this is where things can start to become a bit confusing for most people. If you look on the backside of the door, you will see a variety of components. These work together in perfect harmony to open and close the door when everything is working correctly.

white garage door

  • Lifting Cables: Your door could have lifting cables, which are attached to the door’s springs and aid in opening and closing it.
  • Springs: Springs are an essential part of the counterweight system used in garage doors. This system is what makes it possible to open and close the door with one hand. Springs are typically one huge coil at the top of the door. Some designs also have secondary springs located over the door tracks. Secondary springs are more common on heavier styles of doors.
  • Hinges: The hinges are located in between each sectional piece of the door. They help to keep the door in place and allow each section to bend as the door is opened or closed. You can tell the quality of the door by looking at the hinges. Better-quality doors use double hinges, which better support the weight of each door section.
  • Door Rollers: On the side of garage doors are small rollers or wheels. As the door is opened and closed, the wheels should turn freely inside the door tracks. If you want a quieter opening door, consider upgrading from galvanized steel to nylon door rollers.

men installing garage door

  • Door Tracks: The tracks are those metal pieces attached to the sides of the doors to allow it to open and close easily. In most homes, the tracks are suspended and secured to the garage’s ceiling.
  • Garage Door Opener: The opener is a motorized device attached to the garage door to automate opening and closing. The opener has its own specific parts and components, including a lifting arm, manual disconnect, and chains.

Many of the door’s components will be made from galvanized steel since it resists corrosion better than regular steel. The key thing you need to remember with steel is its gauge rating. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel will be. For example, 12-gauge steel is thicker than 16-gauge steel. If you want superior quality, you will want to use components with a lower gauge rating.

Weather-Stripping

An important feature your door should have is weather-stripping. The stripping is what keeps rain and water from getting into the garage. It also blocks out wind when it is sealed correctly. On the bottom of the door, there should be some sort of rubberized weather-stripping to stop water from running under the door and into the garage.

You should also notice weather-stripping around the exterior of the garage door’s framing. Depending on the quality of the door and who installed it originally, there could be weather-stripping on the exterior and interior sides of the door. In addition, higher-quality sectional garage doors normally include weather-stripping in between each section.

garage door track

Common Garage Door Repairs

Now that you have a better understanding of garage door basics, let’s talk about some of the more common problems and repairs.

  1. Broken Springs: The springs on your garage door are designed to open and close the door a set number of times. Eventually, they will break, and you will know it if you are at home. When a garage door spring breaks, it makes a loud noise, almost like a firework going off in your garage.

At this point, attempting to open or close the door can be very dangerous. There can still be tension left in the spring, and it could knock the door off its tracks, as well as cause personal injuries if it snaps off.

If the spring breaks on your garage door, do not try to open it. Instead, call and schedule garage door repair service immediately . You should also stay out of your garage until after the door has been fixed.

  1. Broken Cables: Cables can break on their own from normal wear and tear or from the stresses placed on them when springs break. If a cable is broken, one side of the door may appear to be “sagging” compared to the other. That side of the door may also seem heavier.

You may also notice the door is slightly angled and lower on one side as it opens. If all the cables are broken, the door may not stay in place when it is opened. Instead, it will fall down as soon as you lift it up, which can be a serious safety risk.

  1. Sticking Rollers: The rollers on the sides of the door should spin and turn. If they are stuck and sliding, this can cause the door to come off its tracks. Stuck rollers can also make opening and closing the door noisier.

If the door has come off its tracks in either the open or closed position, leave it in place. Attempting to close or open the door could result in the cables and springs also breaking. If the door is just being noisy, you need to have the rollers replaced and the tracks cleaned. Often, stuck rollers are due to insufficient lubrication and excess humidity.

automatic garage door open

  1. Door Closes and Reopens: This type of problem occurs when the automatic garage door opener needs to be adjusted. Openers have door limit settings which control the open and close functions. Periodically, from normal usage, these can require slight adjustments and resynching.

Essentially, the limit settings let the door know how far it should move to be fully closed or opened. If these are off, when it touches the ground the sensors on the opener translate this as hitting an object, not the ground, so the door reopens.

Another cause for this type of problem is if something is in front of the door sensors. Toward the bottom of the door, about four to six inches off the ground will be sensors on each side of the door or on the interior wall of the garage. These sensors detect if something is in the way and will cause the door to reopen.

  1. The Opener Runs but the Door Doesn’t Move: Check to make sure the automatic door disconnect cord has not been pulled by attempting to open and close the door manually. If you can, then you will need to reattach the door to the automatic opener’s lift arm. Another common cause of this problem is if you have locked your garage door. Check to make sure the door is not locked.

worker fixing stuck garage door

  1. Door Opens But Won’t Close: This problem is often related to the sensors. If the lenses get dirty, or there is something directly in front of them, they will prevent the door from closing. Clean the lenses and verify nothing is in the way of the sensors. If the door still won’t close, then it is time to call a garage door repair technician.
  2. The Door Sticks or Stops: A sticking door can be quite common from changes in humidity levels to a lack of proper lubrication on moving parts and components. It could also be caused if the door is no longer level and needs to be realigned.
  3. The Remote Opener Doesn’t Work: If the garage door opener remote is not working, see if you can open the door using the switch inside the garage. If the door opens, then it could indicate the batteries in the remote need to be replaced. After replacing the batteries, if the remote still doesn’t work, it may need to be resynched with the opener or replaced.

If the door doesn’t open and you have power, verify the opener is plugged in and the breaker has not blown. Once verifying these things, if the door isn’t working, it could mean an electrical problem or that the opener needs to be replaced.

As you can see, there can be all sorts of reasons for a broken garage door . If your garage door is not working correctly, please feel free to contact the A1A Overhead Door Company at (904) 821-8463 today! Our technicians are skilled at new garage door installations, garage door repairs, spring replacement, installing and repairing garage door openers, and more.