If you have vinyl siding on your home, you want to read this. Recent reports have shown the vinyl siding of residences melting. Actually melting. Warping and buckling from excessive sunlight. Take Lisa Forlenza’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose siding is so bad that she worries now about her home’s value.
What causes siding, which is applauded for its affordability and easy upkeep, to become a problem? It turns out that the culprit is the sun itself. At high intensity. Sunlight bouncing off of the double-paned energy-efficient windows hits a neighbor’s vinyl siding, causing more than normal amounts of heat to melt the material.
In fact, the concave shape of low-emittance, or low-e windows, creates a sort of magnifying glass, focusing over 200 degrees Fahrenheit of heat on the nearby surface. Such is the case with Lisa Forlenza’s home. And it turns out that this phenomenon is happening all over the country, as more and more residents upgrade their windows to sun-deflecting energy-efficient windows.
This doesn’t mean, however, that energy-efficient windows are bad. They’ve saved hundreds of thousands in energy costs for homeowners across the country. Rather, experts are now looking to vinyl siding for the solution. A chemical additive may be required in the near future to prevent warping under concentrated sunlight.
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So, how to fix it in the meantime? Forlenza tried to contact the owners, and eventually wrote and distributed a flier saying “My home is melting . . . is yours?” Forlenza had worked hard on her house and wanted to prevent outside forces from ruining it.
Such melting is covered under a first-time warranty, but not when it happens again. Second-time melting damage isn’t covered under any warranty. Without a specific solar effect warranty, says Pulte Homes spokesman Eric Younan, these situations have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
With so many homes going with low-emittance windows, vinyl siding homeowners have to “live in the woods, have no neighbors and no windows in your house or else your siding could melt,” says West Hartford, Conn,. homeowner Troy Grenier.
Without such an option, it’s important to remember a few helpful hints if you feel the need to protect your siding in a residential or urban setting. Look for vinyl whose melting point is more around 220 degrees—which can be more expensive, but ultimately more affordable in the grand scheme of things.
Also consider better windows, such as ones that do not bow in and refocus the sun’s light on nearby materials. There are many types of windows out there. Finally, check on your warranty and what is available to you. Know what is within your rights and when you can file a claim that might save you thousands.