Friendly people, four distinct seasons, and low costs of living are among the great reasons to live in our service areas around Bloomington and Indianapolis. You might even benefit enough to live in a home with a garage attached to it. However, you also live in an area known to be at risk of storms and tornados. Your top priority should always be the safety of yourself and your family, but you also need to do everything you can to protect your home and its contents. Getting your garage as prepared as possible for tornados is a great step in that direction.
How Tornados Impact Garages
Your garage door will normally provide convenient access to your home as its biggest entrance. However, it’s also weaker and lighter than the walls that make up the rest of your home’s exterior. That unfortunately means it’s the most likely part of your home to give way to the extreme pressure of a serious storm.
Tornados create negative pressure. That’s how they’re able to suck tiles off of roofing, if not an entire roof itself. A failing garage door might likewise face pressure buildup that lets a tornado rip it off of your house.
Start With a Door Inspection
Schedule a service technician working with a garage door service provider in your area to come out and look at your door. They should make sure your current door is capable of withstanding a heavy load of wind. You’ll know then whether it’s possible to do upgrades or if you need to do a total replacement. If you don’t actually know how old your current garage door is, then a replacement is probably going to be a good idea.
Maintain the Garage Door
Garage door maintenance is a crucial step towards being ready for storms, and a lot of the tasks involved are better off in the hands of service professionals who know what they’re looking for and how to deal with potential issues. Breaches, cracks, and holes are the biggest storm threats to your garage. No matter how small they are, they can let storm winds in.
Once wind does get in, there can be forces from it blowing through or even getting pushed out into the storm’s pressure. This causes a lot of damage, even if a full-blown tornado doesn’t come by. If one does, your garage will certainly be at much higher risk.
The first thing to do would be to seal cracks or holes in the actual garage door. Next, you and your technician should also regularly inspect the weather stripping for holes, cracks, and missing portions. Finally, the garage door bracing and tracks might have portions that are bent or weakened.
Any identified problem spots need to be also fixed, sealed, or otherwise addressed. Keeping your garage properly secure and sealed off gives it a better chance of surviving storms and tornados.
Make Sure the Door Is Braced
Vertical braces are components of a larger system secured in multiple places. They can be secured above the garage door, along the hinges, and in the flooring. Normally, the braces wouldn’t even be in physical contact with the door, as they would keep the door from actually opening.
They can be handy if you’re home when a tornado warning happens. You can stick the braces in place, where they’ll give your garage door extra strength that it might need during a storm.
Proper bracing helps most garage doors. Overhead doors are run on tracks, and carriage doors open with hinges; neither is usually strong enough to deal with extreme wind in a serious storm.
Braces anchor the garage door to your floor and walls. They’re often made of robust materials, such as aluminum, so that they provide a structural backbone against wind forces. Get one with a high rating for wind resistance.
Secure the Windows
Garage door windows are a potential point of a breach in a tornado or storm. Replacing them is one option. Removing them altogether is a better move for the sake of security.
Impact-resistant glass is a good upgrade. You can follow that up with exterior shutters that you can close before locking up to prevent debris from penetrating your garage doors. Wrought-iron window protectors can also provide some shielding from bigger pieces of debris getting through.
Install a New Door
A new door that doesn’t have windows is going to fare better in storms than one with windows. While you’re at it, consider getting a door that’s 9 feet wide or less. When the door width is more narrow, the door is going to be stronger against storm winds. The winds blowing about just won’t have as much surface area to work with.
Since tornados and rain storms go hand in hand, you might face problems with water. That water might be blown into and across your neighborhood by strong winds even if it wouldn’t naturally flow there. It only takes an inch of water to deliver serious damage to your home. Make sure your new door seals tight and doesn’t let water in.
Your new door needs to have a high impact rating to avoid penetration by flying debris. It should also have wind-resistance measurements appropriate for tornado-prone areas. That means withstanding winds of 130 mph or even higher.
Put Flood Vents and Drainage in Place
If possible, have contractors design and install a trench drain right in front of your garage. It should also go along either side of your property’s driveway. You want it there to direct water in any direction that’s away from your home.
You might even install flood vents inside your garage. If water gets in, then it drains out quickly. That will hopefully prevent water from accumulating enough to do real damage to your home.
No matter how much you prepare your garage for a tornado, you’re still dealing with one of the most destructive forces of nature. Even with upgrades, a garage is not a safe place for your family to be during a tornado. Even adjoining rooms are still at higher risk than other potential safe spots. Riding out a tornado in a car inside your garage is also a risk if the garage door is removed and your vehicle is pulled into the storm. The whole point of this is to prevent damage to your garage and home, but it does not create a tornado shelter for your loved ones.
Turn to Trusted Professionals
If you want to tornado-proof your garage, turn to our trusted professionals. Count on our seasoned professionals for any or all of the tasks listed above. We offer residential services and repairs, including spring repairs and emergency calls for garage doors. Commercial clients can contact us for garage door brands and openers. We provide anyone who needs it with products including garage door types and openers as well as loading dock equipment. We also offer free consultations, so calling us costs you nothing in terms of money or commitment. Contact the Garage Door Doctor for any of these services right away!