It is said that the devil is in the details. But so is quality.
The basic quality of a complete window assembly—as evaluated through testing for conformance with requirements for structural integrity under wind loading, resistance to water penetration and resistance to air infiltration as enumerated in the North American Fenestration Standard—is the foundation of credible third-party certification. But it is the quality of the various interacting components—framing extrusions, glass, weatherstripping, sealants, hardware and finishes—that combine into a functioning product to ensure a window’s durability beyond this initial performance test.
For this reason, NAFS, along with the AAMA 1701.2, 1702.2 and 1704 manufactured housing fenestration specifications, references separate specifications for components. The FGIA/AAMA Component Verification Program based on these specifications serves as a key prerequisite for overall product certification. Qualified components are recognized via testing at an accredited independent laboratory and by listing in the online FGIA/AAMA Verified Components List.
As a class of components, polymeric framing profiles must be independently certified, which requires testing of randomly selected production line samples by an accredited third-party laboratory. For use in products tested for certification to NAFS, compliance must be established with the appropriate AAMA specification among those for PVC (AAMA 303), cellular PVC (AAMA 308), fiberglass (AAMA 305), cellulosic composites (AAMA 311), molded aliphatic polyurethane elastomer (AAMA 313) and others.
Qualified components other than profiles are grouped in four categories in the VCL: hardware; weatherstripping; sealants, tapes and flashings; and finish applicators. Four associated program manuals define the requirements.
Component program manuals
Guidelines for verification of hardware are published in Component Verification Manual CVPM-H. It references specifications for rotary and linear operators (AAMA 901-16), sash balances (AAMA 902), friction-based sash balances (AAMA 908), multi-bar hinges (AAMA 904), and sliding glass door rollers (AAMA 906). Other specifications govern hardware performance for exterior side-hinged doors.
Guidelines with regard to weatherstripping are set forth in Component Verification Manual CVPM-W. Weatherstripping must meet minimum requirements for weatherability and compression set or shrinkage as spelled out in AAMA 701/702, Voluntary Specification for Pile Weatherstripping and Replaceable Fenestration Weatherseals.
Sealants, tapes and flashings
Guidelines for verification of VCL-listed flashings and sealants are set forth in Component Verification Manual CVPM-S. It references specifications for self-adhering, mechanically attached and liquid-applied flashing (AAMA 711, 712 and 714, respectively), as well as those for sealants, aerosol expanding foam sealant, glazing tapes and adhesives for simulated divided lites. The underlying specifications are AAMA 800-16, Voluntary Specifications and Test Methods for Sealants; AAMA 812, Voluntary Practice for Assessment of Single Component Aerosol Expanding Polyurethane Foams for Sealing Rough Openings of Fenestration Installations; and AAMA 813-19, Voluntary Specification and Test Methods for Adhesives Used in Simulated Divided Lites.
Paints and coatings comprise a special case in component verification in that the VCL lists finish applicators who meet the requirements of Component Verification Manual CVPM-FA, not the finish itself. The finish applied, however, must conform to the appropriate AAMA specification referenced within NAFS. These specifications are organized in a sequential basic-performance, high-performance and superior-
performance trilogy of increasingly stringent criteria, i.e., “good, better and best.” This allows a specifier to select the most cost-effective match for the type and climate of a given project location.
Depending upon the substrate to which they are applied, organic (hydrocarbon-based) coatings must meet the appropriate coating specifications referenced in NAFS, all of which have been updated in 2020. For aluminum profiles, the appropriate coatings are covered in the “good, better, best” series of AAMA 2603, AAMA 2604 and AAMA 2605.
Coatings for thermoplastic profiles (such as PVC) are addressed by AAMA 613, AAMA 614 and AAMA 615. Coatings for thermoset profiles (e.g., fiberglass) are encompassed in AAMA 623, 624 and 625. Integral finishes, such as anodized finishing on aluminum, are covered by AAMA 611.
Testing of these components is required to be by an AAMA-accredited full-service independent laboratory or an AAMA-accredited component laboratory.
With its unique profile certification and component verification provisions based on NAFS-referenced requirements, the Component Verification Program (a prerequisite to AAMA Gold Label product certification) is a more stringent and demanding path to compliance with the NAFS requirements for components and profiles.