Your typical American home will likely feature a sizeable garage door installation. Often they’re the biggest and most prominent feature at the front of your home, and they also offer a big means of access to your property. Unfortunately, they aren’t as strong as you think, especially in high wind!
So how strong is your garage door, really? And how much wind can it handle?
An average garage door in America can handle winds of around 20 miles per hour. That’s not to say that once you get past 20 miles per hour your overhead door installation is going to come flying off the hinges. We simply mean that winds of 20 miles per hour won’t give you any trouble.
Now that’s great if you live in California or Delaware, where the average wind speed stays below 14 miles per hour. However, if you live in Colorado, it’s a different story.
The average wind speed here is just over 20 miles per hour, which means it’s likely going to go past that during the year. Fear not, though. Your overhead door isn’t at risk of breaking just yet.
As we say, garage doors don’t collapse after 20 miles per hour wind, but they will start to weaken. Consistent gusts of 20mph wind will, slowly but surely, cause your door some significant issues.
In other good news, it’s worth us saying that 20mph is usually the minimum that garage doors can stand. There are lots of garage doors out there that can take winds of up to 100mph, and some that can even withstand gusts of 200mph. Impressive!
So the big question is, how much wind can your garage door model withstand? If you’ve had it installed recently, your overhead door company should have told you - but if not, we can help.
The answer to the question we’ve posed depends entirely on the door you have. Hopefully your door is relatively modern, which means it will offer a PSF rating. This should be clearly documented on the inside of your garage door. Look for an orange or yellow label.
The PSF (pounds per square foot) sticker will usually tell you the wind speed that the garage door has been designed to handle. The label will also give you a negative number, and a positive one.
The positive number indicates how good your door is at handling gusts of wind that blow against it. The negative number indicates how good it is at handling wind that sucks the door outwards.
Should your overhead door installation not have one of these labels, it could indicate that it’s not built to modern safety standards.
Before you panic, though, it might be worth looking up your garage door model number online. That’s if you’ve not found a label, of course.
Have you found a WindCode sticker on your overhead door installation?
Or perhaps you’re slightly concerned about the door you do have, and its ability to stand up to heavy wind and storms?
Here’s the deal – WindCode is an advanced rating system that factors in things such as your door’s size, placement within your property and maximum wind speed. The system gives a door a rating of between W-1 and W-9 – with W-9 indicating your door can resist really high wind speeds.
You want to ensure that your garage door WindCode rating is appropriate for the amount of wind you are exposed to. This level of exposure depends on things such as where in America you live, and where your house is placed.
Homes within built-up areas may be less likely to get hit by heavy wind than those on the coast or in open space, for example.
Some of our more skeptical customers often ask us, prior to paying for a new garage door installation, whether wind rating really matters. Our answer, every time, is "yes!"
Should your garage door encounter wind it cannot handle, it is likely to buckle or even get pulled out of the frame. This will not only damage the door, but also the frame and potentially your property. This damage could be intensified if the wind is accompanied by rain, as you could come home from work to a garage that is without a door, and completely flooded. If this happens, you could end up with thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home along with increased monthly insurance premiums.
So that’s why it’s so important to ensure your garage door is fit for purpose.
Our advice is that the right garage door for you should match where you live – the more exposed you are to high winds – the higher-rated door you need.
However, whilst safety is paramount, we know you will have a budget to work to. The higher the wind rating, the higher the cost of an overhead door. So, if you are on a budget, do take the time to ensure you are only buying the level of door you need.
Here at A Better Garage Door, we specialize in overhead door installation and garage door sales. If you’re reading this, and you need some help with a garage door, then we’ve got good news – there’s no need to stick "garage door installers near me" into Google. We’re already here!