If you live in the Midwest, then you know the havoc, inconvenience and uncertainty that tornadoes can bring — ripping through towns and flattening them, sometimes taking lives in the process. Most of the time people do get out safely, but whereas a person can hide from a tornado and stay safe, their houses and the belongings in it may not be so lucky.
However, there may be some steps you can take to make your houses sturdier and safer during a tornado. A study by The University of Alabama and other partnering institutions found that lightweight garage doors might be the reason that high winds can get into a person’s house during a tornado.
If the roof of a garage can get blown off during a tornado, that leaves a significant weak spot and leads the house to be susceptible to future tornado damage. Not only can garages be the weak link when it comes to letting temperature-controlled air out — they can also let these high winds into a house from a tornado.
The study found this garage data to be especially relevant in areas that had lower wind speeds associated with their tornadoes. Generally if a tornado has a strong enough wind speed, then it is going to rip through anything and a garage door isn’t going to matter much. But when wind speeds are lower, you’ll want the sturdiest garage door you can get; this is because, in truth, it might just be the one thing holding everything together for your house.
“When a garage door is breached during a tornado, it typically leads to pressurization of the garage, subsequent loss of roof over the garage and collapse of the garage walls,” according to a report by Carrier Management.
If you’re looking for the sturdiest kind of garage door, manufacturers make some very heavy aluminum garage doors, and there is also the option of a steel garage door. Heavy-duty aluminum doors have extremely durable, extruded frames and dent-resistant, laminated panels, which also help protect the door against every day occurrences like basketballs or soccer balls hitting it or hail damage. These generally tend to be rustproof as well, but you may have to shell out around $10,000 for this type of door. However, if you live in an area that has tornadoes often, it might just be the investment that saves your whole house.
Steel doors are slightly less expensive than the heavy-duty aluminum doors, but steel also has two key vulnerabilities: namely, dents and rust. Sure, it’s a better choice than wood, but steel doors also require a lot of maintenance after you have them installed. Most of the time, steel doors will come with a lifetime warranty though, which might make them a better option for someone with a smaller budget who isn’t afraid of doing a little maintenance work. You can also minimize rusting by getting a steel door with an overlay. For reference, overlays generally need to be repainted every couple years, so this is also another maintenance factor you should consider when making your garage door choice.
Keep in mind that tornadoes can cause a lot of damage to you, your loved ones and your home. Living in tornado valley, anything you can do to help protect yourself from the havoc that tornadoes can wreak will surely be worth it!
Written by the staff of G.P. Construction, the leading experts in garage door repair Columbia MO has to offer!