Siding — Windows and Melted Siding

melted sidingWindows and Melted Siding

By Michael Luckado

Vinyl siding can actually melt from window reflections. When the conditions are just right, the sunlight reflected from nearby window glass has the potential to create very concentrated beams of light. These beams can get so intense that the material that gets hit heats up to 200+ degrees Fahrenheit. And depending on the properties of the siding material heated up, it can melt or burn.

Causes

In many cases, the windows causing the reflection are of a low-e variety. These windows have a special coating that reflects heat to save energy. It can also happen with lower quality windows that have glass with a slight concave shape. This curve acts similar to a magnifying glass… the type you played with as a kid to burn leaves or insects.

The windows and the melting siding typically need to be within twenty to twenty-five feet of each other. This can occur on your home or from the neighbors windows next door.

Remedies

There are several possible solutions to prevent the melted siding. First, you can replace the siding in the affected area with a heat resistant material. Fiberglass or wood will typically stand up to these temperatures. The only problem with this remedy is the mismatch in siding materials. If you only replace the affected area, there will be a difference in color and or shape with the rest of the house. Of course you could replace all of the siding on the home but this could get very expensive.

Another option to prevent the melting is to place a landscape buffer between the homes. Trees or tall shrubs will many times block the reflections from the neighbors' windows.

The third possible remedy for melting siding is to place a screen over the windows causing the damage. The screens will need to be made to cover the complete glass surface. This is many times the least costly repair.

One last option is to replace the window glass. Depending on the number of windows, this can get expensive and the outcome is uncertain. After all, what if you go to all of this expense and the new glass does the same thing?

Avoiding The Problem

So how do people get into this siding melt problem in the first place? When windows are replaced today, many times the homeowners will go with a more energy efficient style. Low-E windows are a popular choice. So replacement windows will sometimes cause the problem.

New home developments are also experiencing this problem at an alarming rate. Why? Because newer communities are designed to save open space and cluster the homes closer together. In doing so, the space between homes is ideal for concentrated reflections to melt siding. In addition, many new building codes require energy efficient windows to be used.

Michael Luckado co-founded ArmchairBuilder.com to help when repairing, remodeling, and building your own home. The owner builder really can save big money when managing the process themselves.

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