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What Is The Best Door For Wind And Water Resistance?

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We recently asked on #TwoCentsTuesday whether a single vinyl swing door was the best access option for a balcony with little overhang that sees a lot of wind and water. The results are in! 71% of our readers guessed true, and 29% false.

Sorry, but the Window Geeks have tricked you again! In truth, it all depends on the product's water rating.

The Importance of Variables

The Window Geeks love a trick question, but there’s a reason. It’s a good way to show just how complicated navigating performance requirements are with today’s standards. The question above lacks context, allowing us to fall into the old habit of assuming a relatively simple question also has a simple answer. Supplying windows and doors today is anything but!

For example, what is “a lot” of wind and water?

What is the context of this statement? What questions need to be answered to determine the best door when it is exposed to “a lot” of wind and water?  

To answer this, we first have to understand…

What Affects a Door’s Water Rating?

Every province that has adopted NAFS (the majority) talks about performance grade, which includes water penetration resistance test pressure and Canadian air infiltration/exfiltration levels.

The building code requires windows and doors to have performance ratings for a specific building’s location, height, and terrain. Wind Pressure and Driving Rain Wind Pressure in coastal areas are higher, therefore products require much higher resistance. 

Location: What standards must it meet? Is it in a coastal climate?

Height from Ground: The higher up the window or door, the more wind pressure it will face. The default is 10 meters (33 ft) and covers most residential housing.

Terrain Type: Open or closed. Closed terrain indicates that the structure is in a valley, subdivision, surrounded by trees, or in an area protected from the wind and driving rain. Open terrain indicates the structure is subject to higher winds. This happens when there is no surrounding protection (top of a hill, exposed to a lake or ocean).

Further Complications…

Sizes and style preferences change the water rating. Some preferences will be known and tested, but some won’t be. Don’t forget, NAFS was adopted more recently and it takes significant time and resource investments to test and pass a product, so while manufacturers have been diligent in product testing, you’re unlikely to find one that has tests available for every single size and configuration at every level.


Let's not forget hardware and accessibility. The best option is to look at each project on a case-by-case basis. There’s no ‘one answer fits all’ anymore. Thankfully, the Window Geeks are here to help you navigate these issues and find the right solution.

We Are Your Certified Window Geeks!

We love to talk windows! We’re here to help, so if you have a question about your window project all you have to do is reach out. Contact us early in the process so that our experts can make sure everything is correct from the get-go.

For more information on this topic (and many more!) contact our local Employee Owners at 1-888-534-3333 or drop us an email at Join the club and become a Window Geek yourself by signing up for our biweekly newsletter, which provides news, advice, and tips about the window industry and upcoming events, and test your window knowledge by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Written by: Les Ferris , December 1, 2022
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