Keeping Up with Fiberglass
Profile Certification Standards and
by Dean Lewis
Fiberglass is definitely a growing market. According to
the AAMA/WDMA 2010/2011 U.S. National Statistical Review and Forecast,
the size of the market for residential fiberglass-framed windows experienced
a gain in both new construction and remodeling and replacement segments,
and increased overall from 1.2 to 1.4 million units from 2009 to 2010.
Lest performance standards and verification programs lag behind the market
share curve, AAMA has released an updated edition of
AAMA 305, Voluntary Specification for Fiber Reinforced Thermoset Profiles,
and has also defined a stand-alone fiberglass profile certification program
per the new AAMA 112-11, Procedural Guide for the AAMA Fenestration Exterior
Fiber Reinforced Thermoset Profile Certification Program.
AAMA 305-11 specifies the foundation of performance parameters for profiles
made of fiberglass, generically called Fiber Reinforced Thermoset (FRT)
profiles. The standard establishes test procedures and quantified minimum
requirements for dimensional stability, impact resistance, tensile strength,
flexural strength, compressive strength, water absorption, thermal expansion,
heat deflection temperature and color weatherability.
What You Need to Know
Building on the previous 2006 version, the most important revisions in
the 2011 edition of AAMA 305 are:
• Clarification that the specification applies to the main frame, sash
and all profiles related to glass retention, including structurally divided
lites within a common master frame. Profiles not involved in the retention
of glass, such as decorative muntins, are not included;
• Definition of material composition as a) the ratio of reinforcing fiber
to resin mixture, which cannot vary by more than ten percent without retesting,
and b) the chemical family of the base resin, which may not change without
• Definition of “critical areas” of profiles to be inspected as those
portions exposed to view when the finished product is installed completely
and in the closed position;
• A listing of requirements for the appearance of finished and unfinished
profiles, giving 12 types of imperfections that might be present;
• Referral to AAMA 623, AAMA 624 or AAMA 625 for the performance of coated
• Addition of weathering requirements for door sills based on performance
after extended UV exposure; and
• Addition of requirements for laminates which involves an adhesive bond
test method with a 60-minute boiling water immersion test. For weathering
performance of laminates, the specification references AAMA 307, Voluntary
Specification for Laminates Intended for Use on AAMA Certified Profiles.
For initial fiberglass profile certification, AAMA 112-11 requires an
independent program validator to visit the licensee’s plant(s) to randomly
select profiles for testing at an AAMA-accredited independent laboratory
of the licensee’s choice for compliance with AAMA 305-11 (including weathering).
Lead content is tested and any laminate must be tested and may be listed
in the AAMA Verified Components List (VCL).
Once approved for certification, the test data is valid for five years,
after which time the profiles must be resubmitted for testing and certification
This sort of continual upgrading to underlying standards and certification
requirements gives end-users confidence that they will continue to realize
the intended benefits of all high-performance fenestration products, regardless
of the framing material they select.
Dean Lewis serves as chief engineer, certification programs, for
the American Architectural Manufacturers Association.
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.