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.
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
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
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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