Reinforcement struts – what is their purpose?

Reinforcement struts

If you have a double garage door, let’s say a door 16 feet wide, you probably noticed that there is at least one U‑shaped steel bar attached using hinges to the inside of the door. You are sure they must be there for a reason and had to have been manufactured that way.

In fact, you are right. Reinforcement struts play two essential roles:

  • as a support for the garage door when it’s in its open position,
  • as reinforcement if you live in an area where there are strong winds or threats of hurricanes.

Reinforcement struts found on residential doors are typically 2 ¼ inches (57 mm) wide and are screwed in place using hinges or held in place with steel clips. What’s important to understand is that these bars should never be used as a ladder to access the area above the garage door. If you see one of your children do it, especially if the door is moving, make it clear to them that the door is not a toy and that they could be seriously injured with this careless move.

So, what are they used for?

Support when the door is open

Depending on the model of garage door you have, whether it is non-insulated or insulated (with polystyrene or polyurethane), and the door thickness, reinforcement struts are used to support the door when it is open. A double garage door, from 14 to 18 feet wide, left open for hours, risks bowing in toward the center if it isn’t supported. However, even if the door is bowing, this will not affect its closing.

If your garage door is non-insulated and it seems to be moderately lightweight, it is understandable that the door sections will have a tendency to bow more than a garage door with the same thickness insulated with polyurethane foam. In fact, since the polyurethane adheres to the walls of the door, it ensures greater resistance to flexion.

If you have a double garage door, three reinforcement struts are suggested for a 7- to 8-foot high door. This could increase to four reinforcement struts if there are decorative windows in the top section. In addition, for more rigidity, it is advised to screw on the reinforcement struts with hinges instead of installing with a steel clip

Strengthening to combat strong winds or hurricanes

Garaga doors are most often the largest opening in buildings and vulnerable high wind events. In the US, the EPA says that “the intensity of the strongest hurricanes is projected to continue to increase as the oceans continue to warm, bringing stronger winds and heavier rains.” With this in mind, it seems logical that garage doors are, or should be, reinforced as a measure of prevention.

If you have a double garage door and you live in an area either with occasional strong winds, near the ocean, or at risk of hurricanes, like Florida, this should be mentioned to your garage door specialist. Depending on your type of situation, there are precise standards as to the number of reinforcement struts that must be added to a door for it to be wind-resistant.

Do not attempt to add reinforcement struts yourself, or any other type of material that adds weight or reinforces the door, without discussing it with a garage door technician. The spring system of the garage door was calibrated to counterbalance an exact weight in order for the door to move normally. 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. Thus, increasing the weight of your door can make it dangerous to use in day-to-day operations.

Here are some garage door DON’Ts from DASMA, the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association:

  • Park your car very close to the garage door. If your door wasn’t reinforced properly and it is hit by strong wind, it can’t protect you from negative pressure (the door is pulled away from the building) and you risk seriously damaging your vehicle.
  • Leave the garage door open. Once again, strong winds risk damaging the walls and ceiling of your garage, and in this way find an avenue to enter the house.

If you live:

  • In Canada: these are the standards that govern garage doors subject to strong winds.
  • In the United States: there are specific standards for Florida and North Carolina. If you live in these states, be sure you understand the recommendations.

Remember this…

To learn how to adequately reinforce your garage door to resist hurricanes or strong winds, contact us anytime at 815-657-8173. We know garage doors better than anyone else does. Once they understand your requirements, we can email you an online quote.

We also encourage you to come and meet us at our showroom. It would be our pleasure to explain our whole range of garage doors to you and advise you on the best choice. You can also use our Design Centre or take a look at our image gallery.

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