Can door replacement protect against wind, water and thieves?
January 20, 2012
Your exterior doors don't have to look as if they belong on a fortress to provide protection from floods, burglars or hurricanes. In fact there are many doors that hide remarkable strength underneath an elegant exterior. Of course, wind or water that knocks a home off its foundation is a different story, but preventing wind from rushing in can keep it from blowing out the roof and walls. Strong doors also can't prevent a burglar from breaking in your window, but in all but the worst situations, a really sturdy front door can be a strong deterrent.
Replacement doors that resist hurricanes and floods
Impacts and infiltration from wind and water often come as a package deal causing damage to your home. Your doors should be resistant to both. Consider these weather-resistance factors:
- The strength of the door material. Tests for impact-resistant doors include such things as firing an 8-foot-long, 2-by-4 stud into a door with an interior steel plate at 35 mph. Look for a Miami-Dade County or Texas State hurricane rating.
- Impact-resistant glass that has an interior membrane. Tests are performed similar to those for door strength. The glass can be up to one-inch-thick and is designed to crumble and stay in place, rather than shattering and creating sharp missiles--even after repeated impacts.
- Weatherstripping and structural strength. Impact and water resistance can be augmented by the quality of the unit's weatherstripping and corner strength, as well as things like hardware strength, sill profile and door sweep.
- How well the door frame is secured. If the door is not attached properly, it might not put up much resistance to the forces of nature.
- The rest of your doors and windows. Your windows, patio doors and garage door must resist wind and impact as well as your entry door.
Doors that deter burglars
Intruders can be a bigger threat than hurricanes or floods in many areas. In that case you don't need the wind and water resistance, but strength and impact resistance are important assets. Your big garage door and small or high windows also might not be as important to protect, but your patio door definitely is.
Your options include the following:
- Hand-crafted ornamental steel doors with impact glass--and endless design possibilities
- Brand-name, solid fiberglass doors or reinforced, steel doors from a door and window retailer or home improvement store
- Attractive but effective, security screen doors over your existing exterior doors
To be effective, however, these door options still require a first-rate locking system and heavy-duty hinges, preferably on the inside.
While door replacements designed to guard against hurricanes, floods or intruders can be costly, it is usually not as costly as the losses you can suffer from any one of these incidents. Good replacement doors resemble an insurance policy--only with curb appeal.