Have you ever looked at the inside of your garage door, and all the various parts that make it work? If you have a double door, at least 16‑feet wide, you’ll usually see a steel bar on the inside of the door. This bar is U‑shaped, and attached via hinges. And it’s like this for an important reason. This is the reinforcement strut bar, and it is a very important part of a safe garage door system.
Reinforcement struts have two main functions:
- They support the garage door when it is open.
- They reinforce the door at all times against inclement weather, particularly important if you live in an area where there are strong winds or threats of hurricanes.
Most reinforcement struts that you’ll see on residential garage doors are 2 ¼ inches (57 mm) wide. These are held in place with hinges or steel clips; while these are very strong hinges or clips, it’s important to understand that you should never attempt to use reinforcement strut bars as a ladder to reach anything stored in the area above the garage door. Children should also be discouraged from doing this, especially if the garage door is moving. This could cause serious injury.
So if they aren’t a ladder for the storage area, what type of support do these bars provide?
Protect your door from strong winds or hurricanes
Garaga doors are the most vulnerable entrance to high winds or inclement weather, specifically because they are the largest opening in a building, typically. The EPA states: “the intensity of the strongest hurricanes is projected to continue to increase as the oceans continue to warm, bringing stronger winds and heavier rains.” So in the future, homeowners can only expect that heavy winds are going to be much stronger. It only seems logical that garage doors are reinforced as this projected increase occurs.
If you live anywhere where you frequently experience strong winds, such as near the ocean, or in an area where you are at risk of hurricanes, like Florida and other Gulf Coast states, you should talk to your garage door specialist about reinforcing your double garage door. An experienced garage door specialist will be able to ensure that your door meets the precise standards as to the number of reinforcement struts that must be added to a door for it to be wind‑resistant.
It is not a good idea for anyone other than a garage door specialist to add reinforcement struts to a garage door. The spring system of the door must be calibrated to counterbalance an exact weight, in order for the door to move normally. This is a safety measure that protects anyone who will be near the door, and thus is extremely important. A well‑balanced door means it should weigh between 8 and 10 lb. (3.5 and 4.5 kg), and be able to be lifted with just one hand.
Here are some garage door DON’Ts for homeowners who live in inclement weather risk zones in Canada, from Dasma, the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association:
- Don’t park your car very close to the garage door. If your door wasn’t reinforced properly and there is strong wind, you risk seriously damaging your vehicle.
- Don’t leave the garage door open. Strong strong winds can also damage the walls and ceiling inside your garage, and even cause damage to your house.
If you live in the United States, there are specific standards for garage door safety in Florida and North Carolina. If you live in these states, be sure you understand the recommendations.
Supporting an open garage door
Only certain types of garage doors need reinforcement struts. The factors that are considered include whether the door non-insulated or insulated, with what material (with polystyrene or polyurethane), and the door thickness. Should the door’s features require the use of a strut, this bar will support the door when it is open. Picture a double garage door, which can be anywhere from 14 to 18 feet wide, left open for hours. Without some kind of support, the door risks bowing in toward the center after being held open for so long.
Typically, garage doors that are non-insulated and moderately lightweight have a tendency to bow more than a garage door with the same thickness that insulated with polyurethane foam. The insulation adds structural support to the door, and since the polyurethane adheres to the walls of the door, it actually creates even greater resistance to flexing.
If you have a double garage door that is the standard seven to eight feet tall, that is not otherwise supported, three reinforcement struts are suggested. If the door has decorative windows across the top, you may even want to increase to four reinforcement struts to add more rigidity. If you want the most support with a strut, use hinges instead of installing with a steel clip
Get an email quote to protect your garage door
If you are interested in learning more about how to reinforce your garage door against hurricanes or strong winds, contact us anytime at 519-942-1956. Once our experienced team has spoken to you about your garage door needs, we can email you an online quote.