As builders, architects and remodelers embark on the creative journey of designing their next project, there are several elements that need to be taken into consideration: from the geographic location, to climate, to the unique taste of the customer, as well as specific standards and regulations for windows, doors and skylights. These codes and standards are continually updated to harmonize industry practices and create the basis for high performing, relevant product ratings. Performance requirements for Exterior Side Hinge Doors, otherwise known as “Entry Doors”, are specified in AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-17 North American Fenestration Standard/ Specification for windows, doors and skylights (NAFS). NAFS is a comprehensive standard/spec that includes requirements for air tightness, water tightness, structural performance and resistance to forced entry as well as material and component requirements. If certified through a program such as WDMA’s Hallmark Certification Program you can be assured that your window, door or skylight will meet or exceed all minimum building code requirements. However, in most U.S. jurisdictions it is permitted that Entry Doors only meet the structural performance requirements of the International Residential Code or the International Building Code.
For those of you who may not know, NAFS is in the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) for residential housing. In the US, this is simply a method of compliance as opposed to a requirement (as it is in Canada.) This standard requires window, door and skylight manufacturers to test and label windows and doors in accordance with the standard, ensuring doors and windows are rated to perform in the area they are being installed.
Photo credit: Masonite
What Does This Mean For Exterior Doors?
Exterior side hinge doors must be tested and labeled for air infiltration and exfiltration (if sold in Canada), water penetration resistance and structural wind load resistance to be NAFS compliant. This is considered a huge improvement in the industry, as historically, most doors have been the weaker link in the performance of a building. In addition, all side-hinged entry doors are included in the NAFS standard and all entry doors have to be tested to comply with the building code. In the US, infiltration is not required.
When it comes to the specific requirements in Canada, these vary by region, product, and terrain. For example, a building considered to be located in an “open terrain” area will have higher test pressure requirements than “rough terrain” conditions. There is also a component for Height off the ground since wind pressure increases with height. So, it’s essential that builders and architects understand the requirements proper to each building area to ensure all products are NAFS compliant.
Qualifying Site Installed Door Hardware
NAFS has always tested windows and doors as systems whose performance ratings depend on the use of the same specific components that were installed on the test specimen. However, properties such as wind load resistance are based on the structural properties of hinges and locking hardware, which is why it’s common for doors to be shipped to the jobsite without hardware (or with hardware selected by the customer that is different from the hardware used to obtain the rating). This leads to the possibility that the installed door product may not perform the same way as the lab test specimen.
Photo credit: ProVia
As standards development is a dynamic process that involves many interest groups, it is always a work-in-progress. An updated version of the NAFS is currently underway, with final changes to be approved by the CSA Group, Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) and Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). The new version is meant to offer fewer complex tables, greater harmonization between the U.S. and Canada, a reduction in detail in material and component requirements, added limited water for sliding doors and no redundant definitions.
Photo credit: Therma-Tru
In Collaboration With:
Craig Drumheller｜Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) Vice President of Technical Activities
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