Updated October 2023
Did you know that garage doors are one of the most vulnerable parts of your home? Though they might look sturdy, they still have to be lightweight enough to raise and lower. This can lead to issues when your home encounters intense storms. If you want to avoid major damage to your home, you need to make sure your garage door has the right wind rating. The professional garage door specialists at Garage Door Doctor can help!
The Average Strength of a Garage Door
The typical garage door is usually strong enough to resist winds of at least 20 miles per hour. This means that they usually won’t get damaged by the typical thunderstorm or snowstorm. However, most garage doors won’t rip off the second the wind goes over 20 mph. Instead, they just start to weaken at this point. Extended exposure to wind over 20 mph is enough to cause problems with your garage door.
Typically, 20 mph wind resistance is the bare minimum for garage doors. It is very common for doors to be able to resist higher amounts of wind. Many doors marketed as “wind-resistant” can withstand winds over 100 mph. These doors can usually withstand up to 50 pounds per square inch of pressure from the wind. There are even specially designed impact doors that can resist winds of up to 200 mph.
How Do You Find Your Garage’s Wind Rating?
Indiana’s building codes aren’t extremely strict about wind ratings for garage doors, so there’s no guarantee that your door can withstand a certain amount of wind. To be prepared for any extreme weather, you need to take the time to check your door.
Look along the inside of your garage door for a label. This is often an orange, white, or yellow sticker somewhere along the side of the door. If you do not see a label, try looking up your door’s model number online. You can often find a user manual with details about the door’s wind resistance. Once you locate the label, you can look for the part of the label that says something like “design wind speed.” This will tell you the maximum speed of wind the door can handle.
Your garage door label will actually have a lot more information beyond just the maximum wind speed the door can handle. As you look at the label, you’ll find a spot that says “PSF” with a low number and a high number. The PSF rating will tell you the number of pounds per square foot of force that the door can handle. This helps you get a better idea of how the door handles pressure as the wind pushes against it.
There is a positive and a negative PSF number because wind can hit your door from multiple directions. The positive number refers to how much pressure your garage door can handle when the wind blows against it. The negative number refers to how well your garage door can handle wind pressure sucking the door out of the frame.
Understanding What the Different WindCode Ratings Mean
If you’re concerned about your garage door’s ability to stand up to wind, it might be helpful to learn a little about WindCode ratings. WindCode is a standard rating system developed by Clopay. It takes into account things like the garage door’s size, its maximum wind speed, and its position on the building. This rating has levels ranging from W-1 to W-9, with higher ratings meaning the door can resist higher wind speeds.
Some garage doors may mention their WindCode on them, or you can use Clopay’s WindCode calculator to find your garage door’s code. Once you have the WindCode for your door, you can see if it’s appropriate for your exposure level. The exposure rating refers to how exposed your house is to the wind. Homes surrounded by forests or other homes get less battered by wind, while homes on open plains or by oceans get intense wind forces. It is important to find a door with a WindCode rating that gives you enough coverage.
What Will Happen If Your Garage Door Encounters Extreme Wind Speeds?
If your garage encounters winds it cannot resist, it is likely to either buckle inwards or get pulled outwards. The end result is a lot of damage to your garage door. Some issues can be repaired, but it’s more common for homeowners to need to buy a brand new door. If the high winds are accompanied by other extreme weather, you can also end up with a lot of water inside your garage. This can damage any stored items or cause flooding.
A door that is pushed in or ripped off by wind does more than just expose your garage to the elements. It is also a big structural danger for the rest of the home. Modern houses are designed to work as a single cohesive unit. If a large hole appears in any of the walls, you can get uneven pressure zones throughout the home. Wind can funnel into your garage and end up knocking over walls or pushing your roof off. Ultimately, even a tiny bit of damage to your garage door can weaken your home’s structural integrity.
How to Choose the Right Wind Load Rating for Your Needs
Now that you know about all the dangers of a weak garage door, you might be rethinking your current situation. If you are in the market for a new garage door, you need to carefully consider the door’s wind resistance. Many homeowners want a wind-rated door that can withstand at least 50 mph winds. This gives you coverage from most issues like storms, tornados, and blizzards. If you live in an area with a lot of wind, you might want to select an even stronger door.
Though safety should be your priority, it’s also important to consider your budget. Typically, a higher wind rating comes with a higher cost. If you need an affordable garage door, you might want to avoid getting an unnecessarily strong door. However, keep in mind that a higher wind resistance can be good even if you don’t encounter storms. Many insurance companies will give you a discount on your premium if your garage door meets certain safety standards. Check with your insurance company to see if they adjust premiums based on garage door type. In some cases, the higher cost for a door might be offset by lower insurance.
Can You Improve Your Door’s Wind Rating?
If you aren’t happy with your door’s wind rating but don’t want a brand-new door, you do have the option of installing a bracing kit. A wind bracing kit won’t improve your door’s ability to withstand wind-flung objects. However, it does keep the individual panels from buckling when a strong wind hits. This retrofit kit is quite affordable and can help your door withstand wind speeds of over 100 mph.
Are you worried about your garage’s ability to withstand wind? Garage Door Doctor is here to help. Since 2009, we have been helping the people of Indianapolis with their garage doors. Our team is comfortable working with both residential and commercial doors, and we provide a variety of installation and repair services. To schedule a free consultation about your garage door, give us a call today.