Vinyl Siding

joepa2325January 31, 2008

My new house (2007) has vinyl siding. The siding next to my neighbor's house is melting. The cause seems to be sunlight reflecting off of the neighbor's windows and onto the siding. I am told that the windows are "Low E" windows that are designed to reflect the sun. I have pictures of the focused light hitting the siding where the melting occurs.

Anyone else have this problem or familiar with issue?


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Wow!!! That is simply not acceptable siding performance. I'd be going back to the building contractor for immediate resolution. Hope the siding company has a warranty.

Unbelievable, too. I can't imagine that much heat being generated by reflected sunlight. Direct sunlight is way hotter than reflected unless there is some weird effect from a concave window pointing a concentrated beam on your house which I gather you are describing when you say the light is focused on your house. Like one of those solar powered ovens used for demonstration purposes on Earth Day.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 11:46AM
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I've heard about this problem before!

Google "siding melting due to window reflection" and you'll find a LOT of articles about it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:31AM
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that is one of the reasons i shot down vinyl real quick when my wife suggested it. her grandfather put vinyl on his house about 5 years ago. under his carport there are 2 spots where it has melted and warped. these are caused by the heat coming off his vehicles during summer. the way his carport is facing, there is no airflow under there and the heat rising just sits there. i like to grill year round, and if we went with vinyl then i would melt it the first winter or first rain whichever.

don't get me wrong, vinyl has MANY benefits, but i just don't like how easy it melts.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:02AM
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Holy sun beams, JoePa. I wouldn't have believed it but after reading your post and googling and seeing pictures/reading other stories of the same problem you have, I am a (shocked) believer now. Seems my instincts were correct that the neighbor window must be somewhat concave and that it isn't very unusual for windows to be that way, particularly vinyl framed windows.

From all I read your best hope is to ask your neighbors to install insect screens on the offending window(s) year round. That may diffuse the reflections enough to cool them down. Seems like they'd be glad to do that since they are wrecking your house. I'd feel sick to my stomach if my windows did that to a neighbor.

Otherwise, can you plant big evergreen trees or bushes to block the reflection? Around here it would cost several hundred dollars to have a full sized tree moved into place. Or replace the siding with hardiplank - very expensive. But if the window screen fails to soften the reflection enough, you really are needing to look into long term remedies.

I would defintely be contacting the siding manufacturer first off to see if they are obliged to help. That is one sorry product if you ask me. The manufacturer ought to be held accountable to replace all of your siding with something that can survive real world conditions.

Can you post pictures of your house for us to see?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 2:22PM
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I will be happy to post some pix but I do not know how. I tried to copy and paste but that did not work. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 4:04PM
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I also have this same issue. My siding on my Norther facing wall is melting due to my neighbors southern facing windows reflection. After reading these post I wanted to add some comments:
This is not due to poorly installed product ( its a freaking Laser gun) if it was installation you would have this all over the house Not in just selected areas that follow the path of the sun as it traverse the Horizon... I fell like a freaking Inca priest tracking the celestial bodies... not cool.
I also have contacted the manufacture ( letter post will soon follow with their response letter). They will not cover this since it is not a manufacturing defect... ( its the result of a laser gun hitting my house for about 36 months) so obviously they will not do anything about this. Like Plastic ( vinyl is performing as expected) it will melt when It is heated to 160 degrees for 3 hours. Duh.....
The options provided in here are a bit lacking, for several reasons. If you replace with aluminum then you really need to do the entire house, not just one side.. unless you have a couple trucks in your front yard , with no wheels and tires and they're up on blocks... while if thats the case then you could / are probably ok with the whole ¾ ths covering idea, but if your like me and you want some level / degree of aesthetic with your house... then you really need to opt for an entire covering of your house with the same material, not just 1/4th.
If you replace with Hardie plank , or aluminum then you still have the issue of a freaking laser gun hitting your house and acting like a microwave oven creating a heat source that in effect will increase your cooling cost over the life of your house... not an option.....
this occurs when the offending glass is energy efficient glass and its reflecting on your wall. Typically the distance of the physical structures is distance is less then or equal to 15 feet
Solution is that the neighbor must replace the offending item with non-energy efficient windows.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 10:20AM
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My neighbor's 2nd story windows ( two of them) are melting my vinyl siding. Apparently this is the result of low E Energy efficient double pane windows that when exposed to sunlight the thermal gas in these windows expands. The pressure from the heated gas drives the window paynes in opposite direction ( the gas acts upon the external glass and drives them apart) which in turn creates a sort of magnifying glass effect.

For the past 36 months I noticed slight distortion on my siding. I have discussed this with my Neighbor, whose house is 15 feet from my house. I have also sent a sample of the damaged product to the vinyl manufacture to see if this would be covered under warranty. CertianTeed identified this was not defective siding, but more likely a result of reflective light from a southern facing window that is being reflected on my Norther facing wall ( where the damage occurs).

I was able to get some more information about the cause of my distorted / melted siding. Apparently there are some issues with Insulated windows ( energy efficient windows) where the material between the glass ( the Gas) gets heated during the summer months ( sometimes winter as well). This heat causes the glass panes to expand slightly and thus create an effect similar to that of a magnifying glass

I was able to verify my theory of reflective light damage by use of thermometers, placing one in the effected area and several in the non-effected area. The results: The effected area thermometer reached a 150-170 degree value. While the non-damaged ( non-reflective ) areas maintained a temperature only slightly higher then that of the current temperature.

There are two issues with this, damage is ongoing and can not be repaired untill the neighbor replaces the windows and there is potential for fire if this is neglected.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 10:33AM
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Hello all,
Iâve been dealing with this and wanted to provide my research. I can tell you that this is not simply reflective light, but more accurately should be described as reflective concentrated light. Similar to a Laser beam. If this was simply reflective it would be constant throughout the day given the same sunlight, but not the case. The light beam only seems to occur after the inert gas that resides between the two widow pains is acted upon by the heat of the sum. Causing expansion and pushing the inner and outer low-e windows expand with heat. At this point the outer windows bows out ever so slightly. This creates an effect similar to a magnifying glass focused on an ant. So the result is a concentrated beam of light that that damages vinyl, fiber cement board, or any other item that you attempt to install your home. Some suggested Wood siding, or fiber cement siding, but my investigation discovered that these would not be acceptable solutions because no paint manufacture will support their product being exposed to direct and concentrated heat in excess of 130 degrees. I contacted approx. 7 paint companies and they tell me that eventually the painted surface will turn dark black and peel off the coated surface.
The Violation:
Upon engaging a lawyer I was told this is a relatively open and shut case. This is considered an artificial enhancement which is man-made and NOT an act of God. Sunlight is an act of God, but manipulating the sun to create an artificially concentrated light beam that exceeds 130~190 degrees is a direct manipulation of the sun and would be considered an act of man. Therefore, the person whom is maintaining this is intentionally, or unintentionally creating a public nuisances.
Legal Remedy:
Legal remedy would be the same approach as any other public Nuisance case, the approach would be a Court Order requesting a Cease and Desist (having them immediately change the window(S)) and further litigation to sue for damages to property. In some states if you have a good audit trail demonstrating ongoing attempts to work with the other party and they consistently and continually refuse to resolve the issue and refuse mitigation. You might be able to sue them for all legal cost incurred.
I suggest have a cordial conversation with your neighbor and explain the issue. Try to be non-adversarial and cooperative. Explain the situation and provide some discovery. Show them how you came to your conclusion and how they can verify the effect of their windows. During the initial engagement I would not offer any solutions, but simply bring it to their attention and allow them some time to come of up with a solution. Several days / weeks after this initial engagement I would reach out to them and see what can be done to resolve this. If there is no cooperation. I would contact a lawyer and begin the legal process. The Lawyer will probably advice a certified letter and then set a court date.
The only issue I have is more president in the courts and also coming up with the fees to retain the lawyer. I might be able to sue the neighbor for court / lawyer fees, but just having had the time to invest at this point. The insurance company wonât touch it because it is a legal issue. The homeowner of the offending windows wonât touch it because if they act then they are automatically assuming liability.

I was in correspondence with a Lawyer in the Boston Ma area who brought suit against his neighbor and followed this same approach with success. I must point out that I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but only my initial research into this issue and my findings so far. I am also not a structural engineer. Nor a Doctor, teacher, or candle stick makerâ¦.
Not only does this cause damage to your siding , but think about it⦠this light is so intense that I might potentially cause vision damage, the melting siding may release cancer causing carcinogens⦠The Window manufactures are going to be the next Cigarette manufactures..

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:40PM
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I would tell you to pound salt and take me to court and prove it. You registered today and happen to have all this information at hand. BS you came looking for this exact post.....

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 4:32PM
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And now waiting for the Spam.............

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:04PM
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I know the original post is 2008, so I believe it was solved long ago.
But from reading the responses and especially the recent one, I noticed one thing.
People don't even know their next door neighbors anymore. Every home I bought I made it a point to meet and be friends with my neighbors. And in 99% of the cases, it worked. And in the one case where we didn't become friends, at least we were neighborly.

When a case like this arises, you say "Hey Mike. Come here, I gotta show you this!" And point out the reflection from his window is melting my siding. We find the remedy. He places a dark screen on the window if that's all that's necessary, and I fix my siding. Case closed.

But nooo. We must get a lawyer to send him a cease and desist letter! We must SUE! He created a public nuisance! We must demand he replace his window! Better yet, we must sue the window manufacturer too. After all they are the ones with the money! I'm surprised he didn't include mental stress and pain and suffering too!

I kinda like my solution better. Mike pays to fix the cause, and I pay to fix the section of my siding.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:54AM
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