Maybe you are noticing it for the first time, maybe you are about to replace or upgrade the garage door, or maybe you’re just curious about that U-shaped steel bar secured to the inside of the door. What is it? What’s its purpose?
This is the reinforcement strut, and it is there for a few good reasons. The first is that it offers support to the door while it is open. The second is that it reinforces the door against strong winds when closed.
They are a common feature on most residential garage doors and are usually around 2.25″ wide and put in place with steel clips or heavy hinges. While they are incredibly rugged and durable, they are not meant to support you and should never be used as a climbing tool. Kids are particularly keen on messing around on them, so be sure you always caution kids about the dangers of reinforcing struts.
Not clear about them just yet? Let’s delve a bit deeper, then…
Their First Purpose
As we noted above, they are on the door to ensure it remains rigid and supported when open. Depending on the style of door you have (non-insulated or insulated with polystyrene or polyurethane), its width (usually they are on double doors only and for those of 14 to 18 feet wide) and how long you leave it open (some people leave their garage doors open all of the time), the struts really keep the door in good shape. They prevent the center from bowing inward.
You might think that a non-insulated door, light in weight, is going to bow a bit more than one more rigid and insulated with polyurethane foam, and you would be correct. The polyurethane adheres to the walls of the door and resists bending.
Even so, the reinforcement struts will appear. If the door is double, it is going to have three struts, but could include more if there are decorative windows in the uppermost area. These should always be fitted with hinges rather than steel clips to offer optimal rigidity.
Their Second Purpose
We also noted that you may have struts because your garage doors are mounted in a home in which hurricanes and high winds are common. 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.” No matter where you live, then, it seems that reinforced doors may be a great idea.
However, if you do already live in an area noted for its hurricane seasons or strong winds, such as homes near the sea, you should be sure your double garage doors are properly fitted with reinforcement struts. If you don’t see them, get in touch with a garage door specialist and find out what you need to ensure better wind resistance.
Keep in mind that this is not a DIY project, and that any changes to the door should be done by a technician. They can ensure that your spring system and the weight of the door are properly calibrated and balanced, this ensures safe operation. After all, your door should feel as if it weighs no more than ten pounds and able to open with one hand. Adding even a small amount of weight yourself can make the door function dangerously.
A Few Additional “Don’ts”
The DASMA, the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association also has this to say about your garage doors:
- Never park a car close to the door – especially if a door is not reinforced properly. If it is hit by high winds and negative pressure, it will damage the vehicle if pulled away our outward form the building.
- Never leave the door open for prolonged periods. Strong winds can actually tug at the door in the open position and cause serious structural damages.
- Canadian residents should know that there are standards for garage doors that are frequently subjected to strong winds.
- Residents of United States should know property in Florida and North Carolina will want to have doors that adhere to similar guidelines to homes in Canada.
If you are unsure whether your garage door needs to be reinforced against winds and hurricanes, just contact us anytime at 330-889-0062. We are experts in garages and are happy to give you an online quote.
Alternately, you can pay a visit to our showroom where we can review the entire line up of options and help you choose the right model or design. Our online Design Centre allows you to test drive models on your home or you can peruse our image gallery to find a few ideas or a bit of inspiration.