Volume 13, Issue 4 - May 2012

AAMA Analysis

Seize the Day
Gearing Up for Installation Season
by Dean Lewis

Buoyed by a slowly improving new home construction market and the National Association of Homebuilders’ (NAHB) highest Remodeling Market Index in five years, the industry is gearing up for anticipated opportunities for both new and replacement window installations.

This serves to remind us that, despite its importance, installation quality is inherently variable, depending on the experience and expertise of the installer. Codes only go so far as to recommend that installers follow the manufacturers’ instructions, which can vary in their attention to detail and clarity.

In view of the oft-stated truth that door and window performance is only as good as the installation, AAMA has developed standard practices and training over the past decade to help ensure that it’s done properly.
Installation Standards

For example, AAMA has developed two installation practices for properly integrating the most common window mounting configurations with the building envelope of detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses.

• AAMA 2400, Standard Practice for Installation of Windows with a Mounting Flange in Open Stud Frame Construction for Low Wind/Water Exposure addresses the common configuration of windows with integral mounting flanges or fins. It includes details of anchorage, use of both mechanically attached and self-adhering flashing and proper sealing.

• AAMA 2410, Standard Practice for Installation of Windows with an Exterior Flush Fin over an Existing Window Frame addresses replacement window installation in which the mounting fin covers the exterior of the pre-existing window’s frame.

Developed in conjunction with the southeast regional Fenestration Manufacturers Association (FMA), FMA/AAMA 100, Standard Practice for the Installation of Windows with Flanges or Mounting Fins in Wood Frame Construction goes beyond normal installation practices by specifically addressing installations subject to hurricane-force wind and water exposure.

FMA/AAMA 200, Standard Practice for the Installation of Windows with Frontal Flanges for Surface Barrier Masonry Construction for Extreme Wind/Water Conditions focuses on the installation of frontal-flanged windows into masonry or concrete buildings with surface barrier (e.g., direct-applied stucco) wall construction.

All of these standards are extensions of ASTM E2112, Standard Practice for Installation of Exterior Windows, Doors and Skylights.

Even the most well-designed product can fail if improperly installed. Manufacturers’ installation instructions can vary in methods and thoroughness, often providing insufficient detail on how to handle various surrounding wall and job site conditions. In the past, the installer has had to rely on experience and knowledge to figure out the details, which results in inconsistency among installers as to the technique used and final installed quality. It was this understanding that propelled the development of the AAMA-founded Installation-Masters Training and Certification Program to educate and certify residential window installers. Following its nationwide launch in 2000, the program has now registered more than 11,000 program participants.

The overall goal of Installation-Masters is to establish consistency among installers, improve door and window installation practices, and reduce the number of callbacks to correct faulty installation and long-term legal liability that can result from improper installation practices.

The program requires participating installers to attend an intensive two-day course conducted by an accredited instructor, utilizing a comprehensive 360-page manual. Each participant who submits all required registration material and passes a thorough written exam is deemed a certified installer and receives an official InstallationMasters photo identification card.

In addition to reducing post-installation claims, the program offers manufacturers a distinct marketing advantage based on consumer confidence and satisfaction versus competitors who do not participate in the program.

Dean Lewis serves as chief engineer, certification programs for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association in Schaumburg, Ill.



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