Billions of dollars in damage occurs in the U.S. annually due to natural events, the majority caused by Category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes. Hurricane Andrew caused more than $25B in just Dade County Florida. Hurricane Katrina caused more than $100B in total economic loss. Fueled by this period of destruction, the science behind hurricane-rated products and building structures to withstand these storms has evolved considerably.
What does Hurricane or Storm Resistant Mean?
Let’s begin with looking at hurricane ratings. Most hurricane resistant doors are required to meet at least one of the following standards:
- ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
- ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)
- TAS (Testing Application Standard)
- IBC (International Building Code)
- IRC (International Residential Code)
Refer to the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) to determine which one to refer to for your area.
What makes an entrance hurricane rated? Most test protocols will include static loads, cyclic loads, air infiltration, large missile impact, water infiltration and forced entry.
— Special-Lite Inc. (@SpecialLite_inc) November 22, 2016
The most stringent of these requirements is an approval in Miami-Dade County. If a product can make it through Miami-Dade’s NOA (Notice of Acceptance) protocol (TAS 201, 202 and 203), we can generally submit it in other states or regions (such as the Florida Building Commission and Texas Department of Insurance) with a high degree of confidence.
Product testing requires a lot of homework to determine how a product will perform under test conditions before sending it to the testing lab. This upfront work reduces the likelihood of failure during testing. Water infiltration is an excellent example. Water is not your friend in the test lab. One drop of water that infiltrates a test specimen results in a failure. Through many trials and tribulations, we found that all-fiberglass or fiberglass/aluminum doors perform exceptionally well during this type of test. Furthermore, due to their resistance to humidity and saltwater, they are great options when considering new or replacement doors in the coastal regions of the U.S.
Hurricane-Rated Special Requirements
Hurricane-rated products come with stricter requirements than some other types of tested and rated products. One important thing to remember is that the size of the product that you intend to sell or install cannot exceed the size of the specimen tested– although it can be smaller. The hardware and seals must be consistent with the configuration the approval states. You can deviate from the approval only with permission from the AHJ. This is why a manufacturer will sell a complete hurricane rated entrance: door, frame, hardware, seal, etc. in exactly the configuration tested.