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The Right Choices

We believe the ‘little things’ make all the difference.
We encourage you to continue your research and consider the following:
Choosing the Right Manufacturer

  • Fleetwood is family owned and operated since 1961 and makes its products in the USA.
  • Fleetwood’s Market Leadership. Product design focus is the luxury home market, not on all markets such as commercial or institutional.
  • Products are designed for the entire house envelope which brings continuity in design and finishes.
  • Each and every Fleetwood product AND component is designed with a “make it better, not cheaper” philosophy.
  • Fleetwood offers a straightforward Limited Lifetime Warranty.
  • Once your manufacturer is selected, then you need to make certain you are Choosing The Right Dealer.

Choosing the Right Dealer

  • Make sure you select a dealer within a short driving distance to the installation. Dealers are responsible for providing exceptional service before, during and after the sale.
  • Make sure you are able to view and operate full size, current displays.
  • Make sure you DO NOT pick the least expensive dealer. We encourage you to select a dealer who will provide the best service after the sale.
  • Make sure you choose a dealer listed in our Dealer Search online. If you are outside any of those areas contact sales@fleetwoodusa.com, for assistance on finding the right dealer.
  • Make sure your dealer is involved during installation EVEN if they are not providing it.
  • Make sure ALL your Fleetwood products are being fabricated by the factory. Get this assurance in writing to verify you are getting a full Fleetwood warranty. Some products do not carry a factory warranty unless installed by an Authorized Dealer.
  • Make sure your dealer will be there to provide FREE labor on warranty issues.
  • Make sure your dealer knows the product exceptionally well. Challenge them in this regard and if they do not pass the test, find another dealer.
  • Please let us know about your experiences so we can improve our product training.
  • You are relying on their professional know-how to help you in Choosing The Right Product.

Choosing the Right Product

  • Choose aluminum windows/doors for its many enduring characteristics. Regardless of temperature or corrosive environs (salt air), aluminum will last decades longer than most other window products.   Extreme ConditionsThe Energy Code Trap
  • Consider thermally broken sliding doors only for extreme cold climates. Thermal Aluminum Twisting
  • Choose aluminum if your home is in a fire hazard area. Extruded aluminum retains its form at over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit thereby protecting your home. Wood and vinyl incinerate quickly.
  • Make sure the products are factory glazed to enjoy the full warranty. Further, glass deflection is normal and especially noticeable in larger pieces of glass (exceeding 40 sqare feet). Glass flexing does not affect the warranty but concerned customers should discuss stiffer glass options with the authorized dealer, architect or Fleetwood.
  • Investigate the glass you desire. For example, the glass specified or recommended may have a hue that is unacceptable. Fleetwood offers glass from PPG, Guardian, Cardinal as well as others.
  • Make sure you order “dealer drawings” to insure the correct reveals, sightlines and wall conditions. This process adds a few weeks to the lead-time.
  • Make sure ALL products are being fabricated by the factory to enjoy the full warranty.
  • Investigate the hardware you desire as we offer different options. Our brochures and website are rife with information and our dealers will assist you as well.
  • Make sure the window or door you want is properly equipped to handle your unique weather conditions.
  • Other helpful documents: Series 3800-T System Vs StorefrontHinged Door Vs Storefront, SustainabilityBi-Fold/Accordian Doors Vs Sliding DoorsCompetitor ComparisonsLEED Points Available.
  • Once you have selected your windows/doors then you can concentrate on making sure you are Choosing The Right Product Finish.

Choosing the Right Product Finish

  • Anodized Finshes
    One of the unique traits of aluminum is its ability to be “anodized”, a process like no other. There are several grades of anodizing but Fleetwood uses Class I, which is the best offered for architectural metals. Among many other things, the US Military selected it as a finish to protect against aircraft corrosion. It is ironic that anodizing is controlled corrosion of the aluminum surface that actually protects the aluminum and makes it thicker. If cared for, anodizing can last a lifetime (review the Care & Maintenance Instructions).What is involved in the anodizing process? Aluminum is first cleaned, and then submerged in a tank where acid is electrically charged while the aluminum is grounded. The resulting chemical reaction changes aluminum oxide to aluminum hydrate that forms in the grain of the aluminum, which gives it an extremely hard surface, called clear anodize. If an earth tone color is desired, the clear anodized metal is dipped in a color tank before sealing. The third and final process is a dip solution that seals the new, harder surface. Anodizing reveals the natural character of extruded aluminum, especially Clear Anodize. Custom earth tone anodizing is often chosen because of its less than uniform appearance. Fleetwood offers a range of colors: F1 (slightly darker than clear) to F5 (slightly lighter than black). Those considering custom anodizing need to understand there is an acceptable range of variance. If exact color uniformity is desired, painting is the better choice (see F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5 painted finishes).

 

  • Painted Finishes
    The painting process we use to coat our products is unlike typical painting. If cared for properly, the factory finish can last a lifetime (review the Care & Maintenance Instructions).A brief explanation of the wet paint process follows: First, each length of aluminum is chemically pre-treated to prepare for the coatings. The first coating is the primer, which is sprayed on the aluminum. The second coating is the paint color, which is applied like the primer. In some colors, a third coat is required which is a clear coat which is applied the same way as the primer and color. After all, coatings are applied the finish is heat-treated for proper curing. During the spraying method, the paint is charged while the aluminum is grounded. Robotic automation sprays each part for uniform coverage. Fleetwood ONLY supplies an extraordinary paint blend on custom colors. Many know of this blend as Kynar 500. Its unique ingredient is a 70% fluoropolymer resin, which is designed to retain color integrity in the harshest environments. This is the same paint which high-rise buildings around the world demand because of its exceptional color retention and salt air protection. Once painted, your custom colored extrusions are ready for fabrication. In applications where limited care and maintenance will be applied to the products, we recommend Edge Armor or purchasing the Special Finish Warranty.

 

  • Which Finish is Best?
    Spend a short time researching this question and you will discover the controversy. Two things to strongly consider: First, anodized finishes are part of the aluminum and not a coating as with paint. In highly corrosive environments wherein the products are not adequately cleaned, unfinished paint edges can corrode and edge corrosion can crawl several feet and bubble the paint. Anodized aluminum edges can corrode too but the corrosion cannot crawl under the anodizing, making an anodized finish truly a lifetime finish.

Choosing the Right Delivery Method

  • Make sure your products are shipped directly to the project. Fewer hands mean less damage. Dealers are expected to remove factory packaging and inspect product within 48 hours.
  • If a job delivery is not available, make sure your products are factory packaged to ensure the protection of glass.
  • Part of choosing the right delivery is to make sure you are Choosing The Right Installation.

Choosing the Right Installation

  • Confirm each opening is plumb, level, and square. The less shimming required the better the product will perform.
  • Make sure your dealer provides either a glazing license or can verify expertise/experience to install Fleetwood sliding door products.
  • Be certain the installer follows the installation instructions for your specific window/door products.
  • Before installation review these documents to avoid potential issues:  Galvanic Corrosion  Smart Building/Extreme Weather.
  • With your new windows/doors installed, now you need to make sure you are Choosing The Right Safeguards.

Choosing the Right Safeguards

  • Make sure your builder protects the doorsills from damage by other trades. Wheelbarrows, foot traffic, and construction debris will all damage your new products.
  • Make sure your glass and metal parts are protected against corrosive agents such as concrete and stucco. Contact will damage anodized finishes within minutes. Consult our Care & Maintenance Instructions Smart Building/Extreme Weather.
  • Make sure no caustic chemicals or abrasive materials come in contact with the glass or finish during the clean-up stage. This is also a time where glass scratches occur so make sure you only use window-cleaning professionals.

Choosing the Right Performance Configuration
Traditional Sliding Doors

  • Choose field attached handles for easier operation than flush pulls.
  • Choose the High Water Sill for higher water performance (may necessitate risers so also consider the Sub Sillpan on the Series 3070 and 3070-T Multi-Slide/Pocket Doors).
  • Choose air barriers for reduced air infiltration and better sound attenuation (will not operate as easily so also consider the staggered Sub Sillpan on the Series 3070 and 3070-T Multi-Slide/Pocket Doors).
  • Choose high performance verticals, e.g. HP1-T, for high wind areas.
  • Choose non-meeting stiles, e.g. OXXO, where high winds are a concern or choose high performance meeting stiles.
  • Choose the thickest glass lites available to reduce deflection.

 

Multi-Slide/Pocket Doors

  • Choose field attached handles for easier operation than flush pulls.
  • Choose a fixed panel, e.g. OXX, as opposed to XXX, when air and water infiltration are a concern.
  • Choose air barriers for reduced air infiltration and better sound attenuation.
  • Choose the Sub Sillpan option for better air, water, and sound performance, and choose a staggered Sub Sillpan option for even higher performance.
  • If screens are chosen, choose to orient screens to the interior to weatherproof the pocket.
  • Choose high performance verticals, e.g. HP1-T, for high wind areas.
  • Choose the thickest glass lites available to reduce deflection.

 

Hinged Doors

  • Choose out-swing orientation for the highest weather and sound performance.
  • Choose the 3900-T over the 3200-T if concerns exist over the close proximity of lever and jamb.
  • Choose the 3900-T for the highest security.
  • Choose the 3900-T for the most adjustability.
  • Choose to install an aftermarket closer in windy zones.

 

Folding Doors

  • Choose out-swing orientation for the highest weather and sound performance.
  • Choose the taller sill for the best possible weather and sound performance.

 

Operable Windows

  • Choose casement or awning windows for the best air, water, and sound performance.
  • Choose a Subsill for sliding windows to maximize water performance.
  • Choose the cam handle/concealed hinge package for casement windows in windy areas or the Sash Limiter for roto gear/butt hinges.
  • Choose High Performance Interlockers for sliding windows concerned with high wind loads.

 

Fixed Windows

  • Choose deeper frame systems, e.g. 4800-T & 3800-T, for higher wind load performance.
  • Choose outside glaze for highest air and water performance.
  • Choose the thickest glass lites available to reduce deflection.

TRUE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Well-intentioned building codes have ignored the TRUE energy performance of windows and doors. This instructional video provides a common sense method to bring honest context into the conversation.

Watch Video