- Protect or Replace your Garage Overhead Door ?
Florida’s Mitigation Inspection requires all openings to be Impact rated or be protected with an Impact rated device in order to receive the protection credit and discounts. We are often asked whether it is better to protect or replace your Overhead garage door. Since this opening is a large one, economics plays a big role in making the decision to replace or protect. Garage overhead doors are generally 8’ wide for a single bay garage and 16’ wide for a double bay garage and door heights are typically 7’.
If your Garage door is in good shape and functioning properly, it is hard to justify the investment in replacing it. The “payback” of this investment can be many, many years. Protecting your Garage door with Hurricane Fabric Panels is the most economically viable way to achieve the required “Large Missile Impact Rating”.
As most homeowners know, there is a wide variety of quality and style of garage doors and subsequently, prices also vary. Despite this, using Hurricane Fabric represents the fastest payback in the protection industry. With the easiest to deploy protection product, Hurricane Fabric is the choice of an increasing number of homeowners.
It should be noted that the cost of a door lift has not been included in this analysis. Impact rated Overhead Doors weigh significantly more than a non-impact models and often require a larger lift which will add $200 to $350 to the door replacement cost.
The table below demonstrates the economic advantages of using Hurricane Fabric. Savings from 43% to 90% are observed.
Note; The installed cost of Garage Overhead Doors were derived from the website of a major Home Improvement Store. Installed cost of Hurricane Fabric is typical for the retail market. DIY cost of Hurricane Fabric is our current pricing of $5.99 per sq. ft. (2015).
- Hurricane Fabric Product Approval Questions
We are often asked “what Product Approval do I need for my Hurricane Fabric application”. Product Approval requirements for Hurricane Panels are influenced by several factors. The most significant is the “Authority having Jurisdiction”. This means whomever has the permitting authority for the address where you are installing the Hurricane Panels. It can be a County, Township, Village or the State.
Let’s first discuss the State of Florida. Hurricane Fabric Products have both a Statewide Approval as well as a Miami Dade County Notice of Acceptance. The Florida Department of Business Regulation issues all Product Approvals and our Astroguard Hurricane Panels have Florida Product Approval #15208. Our Astroflex Hurricane Panels have Florida Product Approval #15186.
The State of Florida is comprised of the “Wind Born Debris Region” (WBDR) and the “High Velocity Hurricane Zone” (HVHZ). The HVHZ consists of only Miami-Dade and Broward counties with the rest of the state being the WBDR. Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the only area of the State that has its own Approval Standard. Both these counties use the Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA). This NOA differs from the Statewide Approval as it has a specific requirement for glass separation that is not required anywhere else in the state. It requires a minimum separation from the glass when the Hurricane Screen is under specified wind pressure. This separation requirement can be satisfied by the inherent window/door setback of construction or by the use of “Storm Bars”, “Offset Tracks, angle mounting or “tenting”. Hurricane Fabric Astroguard Hurricane Screens are approved for installation in the HVHZ under Miami-Dade county NOA #12-1004.02. Hurricane Fabric Astroflex Hurricane Screens do not have a Miami-Dade NOA and therefore cannot be installed in the HVHZ.
In the case of Florida Insurance Mitigation requirements, a protective device has to meet any one of the four listed testing standards;
• Miami-Dade County PA 201,202 and 203
• Florida Building Code Testing Application Standard (TAS) 201, 202 and 203
• American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E 1886 and E 1996
• Southern Standards Technical Documents (SSTD) 12
Our Florida State Product Approval makes reference to both TAS and ASTM testing approvals and are approved by all Insurance Carriers for Mitigation discounts.
Outside of the State of Florida several different approvals apply. In Texas, we are approved by the Texas Department of Insurance Product Evaluation SHU-204 which uses ASTM E testing standards. In many other coastal areas, both in the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern Seaboard, States are guided by the International Building Code (IBC) which refers to ASTM E testing protocols. Since these states have no product approval system, you need only show compliance with ASTM E1886 & E1996. These standards are listed on page one of our engineering documents.
It should be noted that all Hurricane Fabric Hurricane Panels have Product Approval information labels for easy identification. All Hurricane Fabric Hurricane Screen Product Approvals are available on our website for convenient downloading at www.hurricanefabric.com
- Hurricane Fabric’s Astroflex and Astroguard Products
We often receive inquiries asking the difference between the Astroflex and the Astroguard products.
Astroflex was the first generation of Hurricane Fabric protection. It was first introduced in the late 1990’s and is a Polypropylene material that is often referred to as Trampoline fabric. This type of Hurricane Panel has evolved very little in the past 15 years. The Polypropylene type Hurricane Shutter meets the minimum impact requirements for code approval but has had other challenges. Some Polypropylene Hurricane Screen manufacturers have used a system of straps and buckles in an attempt to strengthen their product. This has proven unsuccessful, as the buckle system proved to be a failure point during Hurricane event deployment. As these Hurricane Screens were subject to high wind loading, buckle failure contributed to compromising the opening protection objectives.
Hurricane Fabric dealt with strengthening the Hurricane Panel by using our innovative Clip, which added flex to better absorb projectiles. Another issue facing the Polypropylene Hurricane Shutters, was their inherent requirement to be sewn and seamed. Although the Hurricane Fabric product only required sewing to prevent edge raveling, all other manufacturers needed to sew and seam the edges to accept straps and buckle or pressed in grommets. The grommet areas of these Hurricane Screens were then subject to the effects of UV thread degradation which further compromised the Hurricane Panel attachment points.
Hurricane Fabric LLC, decided to bring a better product to the Hurricane Shutter market and introduced Astroguard, which is a Ballistic-Grade Nylon fabric. Unlike previous polypropylene Hurricane Shutters, Astroguard does not require any sewing or seaming. Our patented Clip sandwiches the Fabric and is attached with stainless steel fasteners. Unlike other fabric Hurricane Panels, the Ballistic Nylon product can be field modified and cut if necessary. Additionally, the Astroguard Hurricane Screens go through a coating and sealing process that provides excellent UV stability.
Testing has proved the Astroguard Hurricane Screens to have a burst strength two times greater than the Polypropylene material. Astroguard has been tested to the Australian “Large Missile Impact Test” standard which is more than twice the U.S. standard (74 M.P.H vs 34 M.P.H.). Since the Astroguard is clearly a superior product, we have focused our marketing on Astroguard.
Although both Astroflex and Astroguard meet the Florida “Large Missile Impact Test”, only the Astroguard is approved for use in the High Velocity Hurricane Zone” (HVHZ), consisting of Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Astroguard has all relevant code approvals including Florida Statewide, Texas Department of Insurance and is International Building Code compliant.
- Hurricane Season 2014 was among the quietest on record
Hurricane Season 2014 was among the quietest on record. The US has not been impacted by a major hurricane in over 9 years. This is the longest period of time without a hurricane since the 1800’s. Those who have put off protecting their home or business with hurricane shutters have played the odds very well. How much longer will this bet pay off?
The lack of activity makes it very easy to become complacent. It is also easy to forget the impacts of a major hurricane and the benefits of having a product like Hurricane Fabric. The residents and property owners in Cabo San Lucas had just such an impact with Hurricane Odile. This storm was the most intense to hit the Cabo Peninsula since record keeping began. Odile should serve as a reminder that preparation is always important. Those that were equipped and had properly installed hurricane shutters, suffered little damage. Whether you install hurricane panels, hurricane fabric or hurricane screens, you are doing your best to be prepared. Since Odile, insurance providers in Mexico are now looking to require some sort of hurricane panel or storm protection. The Astroguard hurricane Fabric and Astroflex hurricane screen will be approved for these programs.
In the US, many hurricane prone states have incentives for mitigating loss. Florida, for example, mandates that all wind insurance providers give rate incentives or discounts for homes with hurricane fabric. No matter where you live, contact your insurance carrier and ask about a discount for hurricane shutters. If your provider does not offer a discount or offers a small discount, shop your policy with other companies to see who has the best incentives. The average in Florida is about 20%.
States that do not have mandated insurance cost reductions may have other options. One such option is to look for an insurance carrier that subscribes to the IBHS (Institute for Business and Home Safety) “Fortified” program. This program has different levels of certification that enable increasing amounts of savings for mitigation. From impact protection to roofing improvements, the savings could be significant. Hurricane Fabric, hurricane screens and hurricane panels are all certified for these programs.
When considering Hurricane Protection, remember that it is more than just reducing your insurance cost. Protecting your home or business is also a way of protecting your building and its’ contents. There are certain things that insurance cannot replace, not the least of which is your safety and peace of mind.
Make the call or email today.
- Florida Insurance Mitigation Issues
Since the State of Florida initiated the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form in 2007, Homeowners have found it increasingly more difficult to keep discounts for Hurricane protection devices. The Inspection requirements have become more stringent with revisions to the Form in 2010 and 2012. If a Homeowner has Hurricane Shutters on the majority of their windows, but have one or two windows that are unprotected they are considered non-compliant and discounts are removed. In addition, Hurricane Panels that are not certified and labeled as having passed the Large Missile Impact Test, are also considered non-compliant. These Hurricane Panels must be replaced by certified products. Some Insurance companies have gone beyond removing discounts and have threatened Policy cancellation until all openings are protected. Many Homeowners have found it difficult to comply as some openings cannot be protected with traditional steel Hurricane Panels. Windows flush to an adjacent wall or soffit are often neglected, as hardware and tracks required by Hurricane Shutters cannot be installed. Furthermore, openings with ornate trim will not tolerate the hardware used with standard Hurricane Shutters. The solution to these difficult openings is Hurricane Fabric. These versatile Hurricane Screens, with their unique attachment Clips, can be used with direct mount anchors to satisfy the most unique opening characteristics. The Hurricane Fabric product can be wrapped around obstructions, can be cut to odd dimensions and shapes and can be attached to the structure horizontally or vertically. An additional benefit is that these Hurricane Screens can be field modified if obstructions are encountered. Hurricane Fabric has enabled many Homeowners to provide the required, code approved, protection for their unique situations. Hurricane Fabric is often the only choice for Homes located in Historic Districts where no tracks, protruding hardware or stacks of panels are permitted. Using direct mount flush anchors, results in an aesthetically pleasing installation. The use of high tech fabric Hurricane Screens has allowed more and more Homeowners to comply with Insurance Company requirements and enjoy the Discounts associated with sound Hurricane Protection. Insurance Agents are recommending this product to assist their clients in complying with the latest Mitigation requirements.