Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable areas to hurricane force winds and tornadoes because they cover large openings, and are usually constructed of unreinforced materials. Many garage doors are constructed of lightweight materials to conserve weight and expense. The lighter weight makes them easier to raise and lower, but it also makes them less durable in adverse weather conditions.
Single-car garage doors usually resist wind forces better than two-car garage doors due to the smaller span of the opening (across 8’ rather than 16’). Wind damage may cause the doors to buckle, force the door-mounted bearings out of the roller track that supports the door, or a poorly-fastened track could even rip from the frame all together. Once the opening is unprotected, wind can rush into the garage space and cause damage by uplift and shear force on the walls. Reinforcing garage doors helps to protect not only the garage, but its contents as well.
Garages are also particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage because the narrow walls on either side of the garage door opening must be able to perform in seismic conditions. Reinforcing a garage door and its accessories, and bracing the walls at the sides of garage door opening should be accomplished by consulting with a professional. There are garage door reinforcing kits available for the handy homeowner; however, added weight to the door often changes the tension on the spring. Adjustment of the spring mechanism is best left to the experts.
Installing a new reinforced garage door starts at $600 (per single opening) with the price varying widely, based on its design. Garage door retrofit kits range in price from $175-$500 (per single opening).