How To Look At A House
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Do I need a permit to replace an exterior door, garage door, or window in Florida?
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Yes, and the main reason for the permit requirement is to protect your home from destruction from a hurricane. If any door or window is not structurally sound and collapses during a hurricane, a curious thing happens: the opening allows the uncontrollable buildup of air pressure inside the home.
What follows next is that an opening on the windward side exerts tremendous outward pressure on the walls and ceiling; or, if on the leeward side, inward suction. So the building envelope begins to either explode or implode. The loss of a major opening like a garage door can be catastrophic. Yes, really.
The purpose of the permit is twofold:
1) To confirm that the door or window has been evaluated and rated to meet the Florida Building Code standards to withstand the expected wind loads in the part of Florida where the home is located.
2) For a local building inspector to check it to make sure that it is installed to meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Replacement windows and doors in South Florida may also have to meet wind-blown debris standards.
Interior door replacement does not require a permit. But closing all your interior doors during a hurricane has been proven to keep any minor breach of the building envelope—like a broken window—from pressurizing the entire house and blowing off the roof. To learn more, see our article What can I do during a hurricane to reduce the possiblity of roof damage?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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