Shedding Light on Window, Door, and Skylight Testing
Common reasons for testing and basic test methods
11 April 2023
No building is complete without windows, doors, and skylights. Not only do they protect occupants from the elements, they also bring in natural light, increase energy efficiency, and reduce noise from the outside. In addition, numerous studies have shown that natural light in buildings improves occupant health and wellbeing.
Windows are made from a wide variety of materials, including wood, PVC, aluminum, brass, and steel, and can be fixed or operable, opening via casement, tilt and turn, horizontal, or sliding. When we talk about doors, this includes residential doors, commercial entrance doors, automatic doors, sliding doors, and bi-fold doors, constructed using wood, aluminum, and PVC. Common skylight types are either dome or tubular.
In this blog, we'll look at the common reasons for testing windows, doors, and skylights, as well as introduce basic test methods and the recently updated NAFS-22 standard.
The Reason for Testing
Why do manufacturers need to test and why have standards have been developed over the years? The key reasons for testing windows, doors, and skylights include:
Performance and Safety
Testing performance and safety of windows, doors, and skylights helps ensure they can withstand weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, thunderstorms, and flooding; survive man-made events like bomb blasts; and minimize noise, especially in big cities with stricter noise parameters.
All companies have some type of quality control test program to ensure the windows, doors, and skylights they design will work before they are used in the real world. Quality control testing also enables the manufacturer to offer a warranty for peace of mind that the products will last a long time when installed properly.
Compliance with Building Codes and Standards
It's imperative to ensure that windows, doors, and skylights comply with relevant buildings codes and standards, like the International Building Code and Florida Building Code, as well as others like the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), Texas Department of Insurance, ASTM, Miami-Dade County, and National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) certifications, standards, and specifications. Two of the most common standards/specifications manufacturers of these products need to follow are non-impact products NAFS 22 document and testing to NFRC for thermal to come into U.S. market.
Basic Test Methods – AWSFER
The basic test methods for windows, doors, and skylights address:
- Air Infiltration
- Water Infiltration
- Structural Loads (wind)
- Forced Entry
North American Fenestration Standard
The 2022 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for windows, doors, and skylights (NAFS-22) was recently published, replacing the 2017 version. NAFS-22 is the primary standard for the testing and evaluation of windows, doors, and skylights in the U.S. and Canada. I recently presented a webinar that examines the standard and its development. Watch it on-demand to learn about performance classes, gateway requirements, typical test procedures, and what happens after testing.