High Hurdles for Hardware
by Ken Brenden
Modern doors and windows are highly engineered products
involving many constituent elements that must work together to strike
a balance among a variety of sometimes opposing performance demands. This
understanding is the basis of today’s performance standards for complete
door, window and skylight products – the latest version being AAMA/WDMA/CSA
101/I.S.2/A440-08, NAFS - North American Fenestration Standard/Specification
for windows, doors, and skylights (NAFS-08). This standard currently is
being updated for the 2011 edition.
These NAFS standards reference additional specifications setting minimum
requirements for the array of critical door and window components. Components
approved for potential use in certified products are listed in the AAMA
Verified Components List (VCL). Updated monthly, the VCL lists more than
100 manufacturers, several hundred individual products and the corresponding
AAMA standards for sealants, weatherstripping, anodized coatings, organic
coatings, installation products and, of course, hardware.
A Hard Look at Hardware
Casement and similar windows (awning, jalousie, etc.) are excellent examples
of the importance of hardware that must perform smoothly and precisely
over years of constant use. The applicable standards are:
• AAMA 901-07, Voluntary Specification for Rotary Operators in Window
Applications, which sets forth performance criteria for determining the
durability of gear type rotary operating devices. A good example of the
rigor of these standards is the requirement for 8,000 open/close cycles
without any compromise in performance.
• AAMA 904-01 Voluntary Specification for Multi-Bar Hinges In Window Applications,
which describe performance requirements, test methods and necessary laboratory
test report data for the multi-part hinges used in casement, as well as
project-out and project-in configurations. Hinges may be tested for either
an R or C grade and are given a maximum weight, height and width rating
as applicable for the exact window type.
Hung windows depend on sash balances for proper function. Standards for
these critical hardware components are:
• AAMA 902-07, Voluntary Specification for Sash Balances; and
• AAMA 908-02, Voluntary Specification for Friction Based Sash Balances.
Roller assemblies on sliding glass doors bear the brunt of day-to-day
operating stress. AAMA 906-07, Voluntary Specification for Sliding Glass
Door Roller Assemblies, covers these assemblies, requiring 10,000 full-open/full-close
cycles without the roller “jumping” its track or causing the sash to become
more difficult to operate.
All steel hardware items also must meet AAMA 907-05, Voluntary Specification
for Corrosion Resistant Coatings on Carbon Steel Components.
Door Hinges and Locks
Standards also exist that govern hardware performance for exterior side-hinged
• AAMA 920-03, Specification for Operating Cycle Performance of Side-Hinged
Exterior Door Systems, establishes an accelerated operating test method
and performance specifications for a door system and associated hardware
• AAMA 925-07, Specification for Determining the Vertical Loading Resistance
of Side-Hinged Door Leaves, determines the ability of a side-hinged door
system (including the hinges) to withstand the application of a vertical
load along the lock stile of the door leaf.
The real impact of hardware and other component testing comes when model
codes reference NAFS standards that encompass the component requirements,
and building officials begin looking for evidence of compliance – be it
a certification label or test reports. At that point, meeting every component
performance specification – right down to the sash balances and sliding
door rollers – is as much a requirement as passing air, water and structural
performance tests for the entire product.
Ken Brenden serves as technical standards manager for the American
Architectural Manufacturers Association in Schaumburg, Ill. He may be
reached at email@example.com.
His opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this
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