Water Penetration Test Descriptions

It can be difficult to pick the right building envelope test based on just the title of the test.  Test titles can be misleading, you might see the right terms in there but it takes time to read through the test procedures to see if it is really right for your project.  Is it a field test, a laboratory test in a controlled environment, or not a test at all but a guide?  Does the test exclude certain products or systems or is it inclusive?  The test descriptions that follow are meant to guide you to the right test for your project. 

AAMA 501 – Methods of Tests for Exterior Walls 

This standard is a guide for testing exterior wall mock ups in controlled laboratory conditions.  It references 3 of the most common laboratory tests for wall performance: air tightness (ASTM E283), water penetration (ASTM E331), and structural adequacy (ASTM E330). AAMA 501 is not a field test and should not be used for installed fenestration products. 

AAMA 501.2 – Quality Assurance and Diagnostic Water Leakage Field Check of Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls, and Sloped Glazing Systems     

Use this test if you are looking to test the gaskets, weeps, and/or sealants on storefronts, curtain walls, sloped glazing or any other FIXED glazing for water infiltration and drainage.  This test is done with just water pressure, no wind pressure.  Ideally, use this test if you are in early construction stages.  This test is NOT used for operable windows and doors.

AAMA 502 – Voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Fenestration Products

Use this test if you need the air tightness and water leakage results of newly installed operable windows and doors. This is NOT the right test for storefronts, curtain walls, or sloped glazing systems.  This test is typically done in new construction prior to occupancy, otherwise refer to AAMA 511.   This test is typically co-specified with ASTM E1105.  

AAMA 503 – Voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls and Sloped Glazing Systems

Use this test if you need air tightness and water leakage results of newly installed storefronts, curtain walls, or sloped glazing systems. This is NOT the right test for residential grade windows or doors.  This test is typically done in new construction prior to occupancy, otherwise refer to AAMA 511. This test is typically co-specified with ASTM E1105.  

AAMA 511 – Voluntary Guideline for Forensic Water Penetration Testing Of Fenestration Products

The AAMA 511 standard is not a test protocol in itself rather it is a tool to help experts identify the root cause of water leakage in walls and fenestration products. Use this guideline for making adaptations to AAMA 502 and AMMA 503 so they can serve as diagnostic tests on existing buildings.  AAMA 511 is for existing construction not new construction.

ASTM E1105 - Standard Test Method for Field Determination of Water Penetration of Installed Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls, by Uniform or Cyclic Static Air Pressure Difference

ASTM E1105 can be used to test for water infiltration on all types of windows, skylights, storefronts, doors, curtain walls, and the joints between fenestration products and adjacent construction.   ASTM E1105 provides the basic procedures for water infiltration testing but needs to be co-specified with either AAMA 502 or AAMA 503 depending on the specific type of opening to be tested. 

ASTM E1105 uses a calibrated spray rack to simulate rain from the outside and a negative pressure chamber inside to simulate wind.  The procedure describes how to test with either a constant or a fluctuating interior pressure.  

Go to "Air Leakage Test Descriptions" or Go to "Test Units Explained"