29 November 2012

Protecting Your Collector Car: How to fortify your garage


Sometimes maintaining your collector car properly, storing it well and driving it carefully aren’t enough to keep it completely safe. Weather – from high winds and tornadoes to flooding and earthquakes – can threaten your coveted collector car. Although you can’t change the weather, sometimes being prepared can keep you and your car safe.


What about wind storms?

If a man’s home is his castle, should his garage be his fortress? Making a garage into a fortress may be going a little far, but there are steps you can take to make your car more secure in the event of a heavy wind storm such as a hurricane or tornado.

Stop the wind and rain from getting inside that garage and you can protect your car. Sometimes precautions are easiest to take when you’re building a new garage. However, there are many improvements you can make to your existing structure:

  • The strongest garage doors are made of steel, thick wood or other solid material, which helps prevent high winds from knocking down the door.
  • Another way to increase door strength is to install braces and strengthen door tracks. Make sure you consult with a professional garage door technician before making any changes, but keep in mind that sometimes it may be cheaper to replace garage doors than to strengthen them.
  • Entry doors to your garage should have a minimum of three hinges. The deadbolt on the security lock should be at least 1-inch long. These doors should also be fitted with head and foot bolts (at the top and bottom of the door) with at least a 1-inch bolt length into solid material.
  • Make sure windows are made of weather-resistant “glass” that is made out of a polycarbonate (plastic) or a sandwich of glass and plastic. Or install impact-resistant shutters to cover the window and windowpanes.

If you are particularly concerned about the dangers of hurricanes or tornadoes, there are further steps you can take, but they often require quite a bit more effort and expense:

  • Anchor the roof to the walls with rafter ties (also known as hurricane clips) and straps. These easily can be added when replacing a roof or siding, or when remodeling.
  • Brace the end wall of a gable roof, as these roofs are much more susceptible to wind damage than hip or flat roofs.
  • Make sure that walls are properly anchored to the foundation. A professional contractor can determine if these joints need retrofitting.
  • Securely anchor sheds and other outbuildings to permanent foundations, or strap the buildings to ground anchors. There are different types of ground anchors, so consult a contractor.
  • Use shredded bark mulch in your landscaping instead of gravel and rocks, which can get tossed around by high winds and damage everything in sight.

Watch out for water

For most of us, the chance of a flood is pretty rare. But when flood waters do rise, they can come very suddenly. High waters can be triggered by a violent thunderstorm, hurricane, earthquake or sudden snow thaw.

There are two types of flood-proofing. The first is dry flood-proofing, which involves preventing floodwaters from entering a building. This really only works for stronger buildings constructed of concrete block or brick veneer on a wood frame with no basement or crawl space. Dry-proofing involves sealing the exterior structure with waterproof materials and protecting door and window openings with wooden or metal shields. Although it sounds simple, it requires a full understanding of the forces of water. Before attempting to dry flood-proof your home, be sure to consult a professional engineer.

The alternative and more easily implemented way to prepare for high water is wet flood-proofing, which allows water to flood inside the building but minimizes damage. To do this:

  • Install flood vents that create permanent openings in the foundation’s walls. This allows water to flow through the structure.
  • Anchor fuel tanks securely to the floor. Make sure vents and fill-line openings are above projected flood levels.
  • Install the main electric panel and all electric outlets, switches, light sockets, baseboard heaters and wiring at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation level. In areas that could get wet, to avoid chance of electrocution, have a licensed electrician connect all receptacles to a GFI circuit.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer, outside air conditioner compressor or heat pump at least 12 inches on a base of masonry, concrete or pressure-treated lumber.
  • To prevent sewer lines from backing up, install shutoff or check valves that close when flood waters rise in the sewer.
  • Landscape with native plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.

We hope that you never have to deal with any damage to your car from storms or floods, but sometimes taking a few precautions can limit the damage – or avoid it altogether. It’s not always possible to follow all suggestions, but sometimes following just a few of these steps can make the difference and avoid damage to your beloved collector car.

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