The extent of garage door damage after a storm depends on a number of factors. Is the door recently maintained? Is this a wind load garage door? The ratio of wind speed and garage door damage is always relative. When the storm is fierce and the door not ready, the damage is greater. History has proven that high winds and high speed storms have blown away garage doors which in turn have wreaked havoc on the structural integrity of the home. But even if the door seems to be intact at first glance, it’s not necessarily safe. It requires a thorough inspection and most likely several repairs before you trust to use it again.
Garage door replacement or repair?
There is no question of what you need to do should your overhead garage door has been blown away during the storm or is completely damaged. In such cases, you should replace it. And in this case, it’s wise to invest in wind load garage doors to be prepared for the next time.
Now, if you want to reinforce the existing door, there are retrofit kits. Alternatively, you can call a garage door company which will tell you which parts must be reinforced and what you need to do to make your door resistant to elements. But before it comes to reinforcement methods, you must check the door. It’s not safe to use it before garage door inspection and possibly some repairs.
The way to inspect garage doors after a storm
- Checking the garage door opener and its parts should be your first priority. If the motor is not powered, the door won’t open automatically. But if this is the problem, there is something wrong either with the power outlet or circuit. Be extra careful when you check, especially if the garage is flooded. If the power outlet has been exposed to high levels of humidity or has come in contact with water, your safety is questioned. If the outlet and garage are dry, try resetting the opener in case it doesn’t work. Or reprogram the garage door remote clicker.
- Then you should examine all the mechanical parts, like you do in a routine garage door maintenance checkout. During strong storms, the first parts which are affected are the bolts, screws and nuts. In short, the fasteners. Check them with emphasis given on the garage door tracks. They are the first to go due to the high pressure of the strong winds. You need to make sure the tracks are not vibrating, are in their initial position, and the rollers are sitting in the tracks. While you are there, remember that exposure to water would require additional lubricants to help the garage door rollers slide.
- Then make sure the garage door springs are not broken. You don’t have to come really close to see if they are broken in two pieces. If you want to check their tension, open the door manually once you disconnect the opener and see if the door slides down. If it does, the springs need adjustment. Of course, don’t forget to examine the garage door cables and make sure they are wrapped around the drums and are not broken. Last but not least check the panel and the hinges, especially if you have sectional doors. They should all be intact. In a different case, you should call a garage door repair tech to handle the problem.