What are retrofit windows?
Retrofit windows are an alternative to complete window replacement. Typically retrofit style windows are used when replacing the entire window into the exterior wall is not possible or is cost prohibitive. In other words, these windows are an easy solution to otherwise removing interior and exterior finishes. Retrofit style windows are most commonly found in vinyl. Although other materials are available, most manufacturers product large quantities of vinyl and are usually the most cost effective.
For contractors, the vinyl retrofit window replacement comes with its own set of hiccups. Which is to say, the installations are not without issues. Depending on what area of Los Angeles you are installing these windows, different rules may apply. For example, in the city of Santa Clarita, building permits are not allowed for retrofit window replacement. However, according to this contractor in Whittier, they are. Or, at least for this building.
Testing retrofit windows in Los AngelesWater Testing Retrofit Windows is not new to Mazza Testing, however, they are rare. Because the windows are installed into existing window frames, they tend not to leak. Of course, that is only;
- If the existing frames do not leak
- The fenestration product is not defective
- Sealant was used where necessary
- The window wasn’t lowered to accommodate egress code
The last one isn’t particularly an issue if the installer is careless with the installation after cutting into the buildings envelope. Otherwise, the installation should be leak free. For this project, there were a number of windows which were required to be installed with a lower sill height. This means the contractor cut the wall and made the overall sill height lower in case of an emergency and the occupant needed to escape. Water Testing Retrofit Windows is always a good idea after the building envelope has been cut, in our opinion.
On this project the contractor was given correction notice from the city. Anyone who may not know what this is… its essentially a writ to comply. In this case, to comply with what the city inspector requests or wants to see happen. In other words, the city inspector wanted to ensure the windows did not leak after the installer cut into the buildings envelope.
Testing The Specimens
Water Testing Retrofit Windows for this project required that we only apply water to the specimen. There was no mandate to test in accordance to any standard such as the AAMA or ASTM standards. Specifically, the ASTM E1105 or the AAMA 502 or even the AAMA 511-08;
That said, however, we felt it necessary to perform a test that at the very least follows some type of protocol. We chose to use the ASTM E1105 test standard, or at least part of of it. The contractor did not wish to have a negative air assembly constructed on the interior of any of these windows, nor did the cities directive require it.
A static test method was chosen for 15 minutes. Upon which time we applied water with the use of a calibrated pray rack at a rate of 5-10 GPh, successfully.