DWM-logo.gif (6532 bytes)
Volume 6   Issue 11               December  2005

AAMA Analysis

Side-Hinged Door Certification
An Update
by Dean Lewis

Side-hinged doors have been something of a lesser child when it comes to performance standards and certification for some time. That has begun to change with the advent of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/ A440-05 (referred to as 101-05), the first standard to encompass performance requirements for side-hinged exterior entry doors used in residential and light commercial construction.

Key Requirements
While providing for the usual aspects of air, water and forced-entry resistance performance criteria in addition to structural performance (which has been demonstrated historically by testing in accordance with ASTM E 330), 101-05 recognizes that side-hinged exterior doors are quite different from windows, sliding glass doors and their French-door cousins in three key aspects: accessibility requirements, operating frequency and water penetration.

For example, accessibility requirements limit sill heights—a major defense against leakage of wind-driven rain. Even so, because such doors are typically installed in weather-protected areas (such as under a porch or opening into a garage), experience shows there are few instances of significant leakage problems. Thus, it is not always feasible or necessary for them to meet the substantial water penetration resistance requirements of other fenestration products. 

101-05 therefore introduces the new “limited water” (LW) rating concept for water leakage that accounts for these real-world conditions. It allows for testing and rating doors for water penetration resistance at an air pressure differential that ranges from zero up to any selected pressure less than the 15 percent (for all classes except AW) or 20 percent (AW only) of design pressure indicated by the performance class. 

The standard also requires testing according to four AAMA standards governing operating cycle performance (AAMA 920-03), vertical load resistance (AAMA 925-03), hardware load and water penetration resistance (AAMA 930-03) and forced-entry resistance (AAMA 1304-02). 

While 101-05 has been accepted for referencing in the I-codes (International Building Code [IBC] and International Residential Code [IRC]) effective January 1, 2006, conformance to the new standard will not be mandated for exterior side-hinged doors. This exclusion is the result of a need to address the marketplace realities for pre-hangers who must often substitute components to satisfy specific customers. Technically, the whole assembly would have to be re-tested in order to certify the specific substituted component.

AAMA recognizes the plight of the pre-hangers, and is actively working with the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) to develop a component substitution program.

This program’s goals would be to satisfy the needs of the industry, while still ensuring that AAMA’s certification label maintains its value and meaning in the marketplace.

Certification Requirements
In the meantime, an interim certification program covering structural performance of exterior side-hinged doors with an option for impact testing is available through AAMA. The program authorizes certification labeling for both pre-assembled exterior doors and those shipped knocked down (KD), in order to meet mandatory IBC, IRC and Florida Building Code requirements for structural loading and resistance to the impact of windborne debris (per ASTM E 1886 and E 1986 or Miami-Dade standards). Though not as yet required by code, testing to 101-05 for certification is also available to manufacturers interested in demonstrating performance based on the requirements of the standard, including the limited water test.

The next stage of evolution for exterior side-hinged door certification likely will be a component-level program, more substantial in content than the initial structurally-based programs. AAMA door council task groups have been reviewing existing standards for door components and identifying components for which standards need to be developed (such as sweeps, weatherstrip, multi-point hardware, trim sets, shoot bolts and astragals).

One option being explored for a components-based certification program is to integrate door components into the current AAMA component verification procedure. 

Dean Lewis serves as manager, product certification, for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association in Schaumburg, Ill. He may be reached at dlewis@aamanet.org. 

© Copyright 2005 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.