Challenging standard practice helped transform window and door resiliency
According to Freedonia Group analysis, the U.S. wood window and door industry commands a 26.2 percent market share of the $27.6 billion windows and doors marketplace. Only metal products top it. It’s easy to see why wood continues to play a leading role. What other material presents the durability, constructability, versatility, sustainability, attractiveness, affordability, and insulation qualities of wood? On the other hand, wood can also leave builders and contractors on edge because of its susceptibility to water damage, rot, and termite infestation.
Most wood window and door manufacturers guard against these hazards by dipping window and door parts in a bath of chemical solvents for about 20 seconds. The quick, inexpensive bath imparts a protective topical coating. Today nearly all-wood window and door manufacturers use some form of the dipping method.
Except one …
In the late 1990s, JELD-WEN challenged the status quo, partnering with wood treatment experts to identify a more sustainable, enduring, and higher-performing wood preservative method. This pioneering effort led to a material science breakthrough that has revolutionized the industry’s understanding of wood resiliency.
The solution was a reversal of the standard industry practice. No more post-production dipping insolvent. Their process treated the wood in pre-production.
They termed the next-generation process AuraLast®. The five-step process in a nutshell:
- Untreated cut pine is wheeled into an immense 80-foot-long-by-12-foot-high vacuum tube on a rail tram. All air is removed from the chamber. The vacuum draws the air out of the wood, down to the last cell (referred to as a full-cell process).
- The chamber is flooded with a heated water-based solution unique to JELD-WEN. The vacuum environment draws the solution into the wood, but not completely.
- The vacuum is shut off. The chamber is pressurized. High pressure completes saturation.
- The vacuum is switched on again. The vacuum extracts any loose solution. The wood is now treated to the core, but wet.
- The wet wood is rolled into a kiln for drying. Total process time: nine days.
Wood emerging from the patented AuraLast process is remarkably transformed. The new characteristics are unlike any other method of preserving window and door wood:
- Full penetration of the protective ingredients
- Prevents rot
- Resists water
- Repels termites
- Adds no odor or color
- Wood may be stained or painted
- No constructability issues (easy to cut, shape, sand, etc.)
- Reduces ongoing maintenance
- No VOCs
Could AuraLast pine deliver as promised? There was only one way to find out: Find a termite nest in the rainiest spot on Earth and let nature dish out its worst on an AuraLast window over a full year.
Justice Hoffman, JELD-WEN project development manager, remembers the Hilo (Hawaii) Experiment well. “It was incredible. We put a non-treated feeder frame around the AuraLast window to tease the termites. After a year, the feeder frame was completely consumed. The AuraLast window was untouched and operational,” Hoffman says.
That was 20 years ago. Today AuraLast pine has proven itself in tens of thousands of projects across millions of windows and doors. “It’s a bulletproof process,” says Hoffman. “There’s nothing like it for windows and doors.”
AuraLast® Pine Industry Certifications
Far exceeds WDMA IS-4, T.M. 2 Swellometer Test standards
WDMA highest performance rating
WDMA T.M. 1 Soil Block Test