Illinois is well-known for its tornado season. We’re used to the high winds, storms, and funnels that sweep down the streets, but often, our homes and property could still use some extra preparation. Illinois storm warning systems are advanced, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't get that extra prep done to stay as safe as possible while minimizing damage to your home.
The garage is one place you shouldn't forget when you’re preparing for storm season. The National Science Foundation conducted a study on one 2013 hurricane and found that the garage door was most often the weak point where a home’s storm protection failed, resulting in significant damages.
Not only can a faulty garage door be damaged and require replacement, but if it fails during a tornado, it can lead to enormous damages to the rest of your home.
So, how can you prepare your garage for tornado season?
How a Tornado Affects Your Garage
Your garage door is the largest yet weakest entrance to your home. Because your garage door is significantly lighter and weaker than the surrounding walls, it’s the likeliest area to give out first when under extreme pressure.
A tornado creates negative pressure, which has the effect of a vacuum sucking on your roof. If your garage door fails, that pressure buildup can cause the walls and roof to also give way due to that pressure. Photos of tornado damage to homes show everything ranging from a shredded garage and missing roof tiles but no other visible damage, to homes with the garage completely destroyed.
How to Minimize Damage Through Your Garage Door
One of the best things you can do to prevent damage to your home as a whole is ensure your garage door is strong and secure enough to withstand the pressure of a tornado.
A few things to keep in mind when evaluating your garage door’s strength include:
Older garage doors will be less secure. They simply weren’t engineered to withstand high levels of wind pressure. So if your garage door is past its prime, it’s a good idea to invest in a new garage door that will be able to hold its own in extreme weather.
The bigger your door is, the more pressure will weigh against it as a whole, so a two-car garage door will need to be substantially stronger than a one-car garage door.
Is My Garage Door Strong Enough?
If you have a newer garage door that was built to meet modern building codes, it should have a sticker giving the pressure and wind speed rating. Look up local codes in your area to make sure your door complies.
If your door doesn’t live up to the requirements, you have a few options:
Replace your door. If your door is older, if it has a significantly lower pressure rating, or if you were already planning to upgrade your door within the next few years, a new garage door installation is a good option to prepare against tornadoes.
Retrofit your door with additional bracing. You can buy a bracing kit that attaches vertical posts to your garage door to reinforce the door.
Follow Storm Safety Precautions for Garage Doors
Keep an eye on the news during storm season, and if you know that there is a tornado coming, close your garage door and follow the storm safety precautions as advised by your local government. You should lock the door manually if possible for the duration of the storm.
If your garage still isn't storm-ready and you aren’t sure where to start, Midstate Overhead Doors can provide you with our professional opinion and options for garage door replacement or reinforcement.
Illinois will always have storms. While you can’t change the weather, you can change how you react to it and prepare for it. Your garage is an essential element in your home’s safety during a tornado, so secure yours today!