Window & Door Testing 101
A Guide to Assessment
06 September 2022
No building is complete without windows and doors. From picture windows to transoms, hung to casement and everything in between, windows play an important role for both light and ventilation. And whether a front door, side door, French door or sliding, entryways protect from the elements and provide privacy. While common, these products are not exempt from testing and, in some cases, certification. Ensuring their safety, performance and integrity helps ensure those of the overall building they are a part of.
Why test these products? Natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, and wildfires can impact windows and doors. So can man-made factors like fires, noise, and destructive forces. Testing products can help meet regulatory and code requirements, like the International Building Code (IBS) or North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), but also for quality controls—make sure the design works, get information for warrant, and the overall quality of your product. Job standards may also require testing. Whatever the reason(s) for pursuing testing windows and doors, there are several test methods to employ.
The most common, basic test methods can be summed up as:
- Air Infiltration: Tested to ASTEM E283 and assesses the air leakage rate of a test specimen assembly, not an installation. A specified pressure is applied, and resultant air flow is measured and reported.
- Water Infiltration: Tested to ASTM E331 and determines the resistance of a specimen to water penetration by applying water to the outdoor face and measuring the resultant penetration to the innermost plane.
- Structural Loads: Assessed using ASTM E330 and determines the structural performance of a specimen under uniform static air pressure difference to test structural performance.
- Impact: Evaluates how the products withstand windborne debris and uses missile impact tests under TAS 201, ASTM E1886, and ASTM E1996. No penetration can occur on the inner plane.
- Cyclic Load: Under TAS 203 AND ASTM E1886/E1996 windows and doors are subject to cyclin wind pressure loading for 4,500 positive and negative cycles. Products must be operable after test.
- Forced Entry Resistance: Determines the ability of window and door assemblies to restrain, delay, or frustrate forced entry using ASTM F588/F842 AND AAMA 1304. All exterior fasteners and loose component items are removed, and specific loads and forces are applied to the window or door to determine whether or not entry can be gained from the exterior.
For a number of reasons: safety, quality control, brand protection and legal requirements, it is important to assess windows and doors. Working with your testing partner and understanding the various requirements and assessments, you can build a test plan to evaluate the necessary factors for your product. Get more insights into window and door testing by downloading our webinar recording.