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Storm-resistant Doors

A steel door could protect your home from getting blown in.

© Ann Thomas/Corbis

Even if your house isn't knocked down by a powerful storm, your front entrance can take a real beating. That's not a good thing, especially if you're hoping to remain safe from the weather and also from looters who sometimes take advantage of a weather disaster.

Texas Tech's Wind Science and Research Center actually tests doors for storm resistance, using a giant air bladder that simulates up to the force of an EF5 tornado, the most powerful twister around. (Here's a list of doors that they've tested.) One state-of-the-art product, Curries' StormPro 361 door and frame assembly, is essentially a door-within-a-door, with a 10-gauge steel hollow exterior that contains a layer of polyurethane cushioning and a second layer of steel inside [source: Rice, DeMatto].

But that $5,500-plus door could go to waste if you've got another, bigger vulnerability -- an interior garage with a slide-up garage door. Such doors are notoriously flimsy, and if yours fails during a tornado, you'll get a lot of internal pressure inside your house that potentially could blow out your walls and ceilings.

Protect against this by picking a good stiff garage door, and hiring a technician to add weights to the door's counterbalance system. This will make it less prone to roll up in strong winds [source: FLASH]. You can also buy a specially designed bracing system such as Secure Door [source: DeMatto].

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