Is Your Home’s Vinyl Siding Melting?

This is a guest post from Renaissance Alliance member agency Wolpert Insurance
So…your vinyl siding is melting, but the neighbor’s house isn’t on fire. What’s the deal? MAIA’s Tech Talk, author Irene Morrill, Vice President of Technical Affairs, discussed an “interesting property claim” involving vinyl siding in November 2010. Unfortunately, such claims have been reported right here in Worcester, as well as other neighboring towns and elsewhere in the country.
So, as you’re looking at the side of your house, scratching your head and wondering what happened, here are a few things to consider:
Your neighbor’s new energy-efficient windows; great for keeping their energy costs down, not so great at keeping your vinyl siding up. Although these windows do meet building code requirements,

“these windows can also warp inward and act like a magnifying glass, concentrating too much heat on nearby homes or business buildings”.

The heat which is caused by these windows can reach temperatures over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the siding to melt. ‘Low E’ glass reflects 70% of the sun’s heat, which can easily melt vinyl siding when the distance between houses/buildings is 15 to 20 feet.
Another cause of melting vinyl siding can be neighboring roofs when the heat of dark roofs re-radiate, deforming adjacent siding.

The sun’s energy strikes the roof and the heat is re-radiated and absorbed by the siding, causing it to warp. This might happen when you have a sloping, dark-colored roof that intersects a vertical wall close to a window. In effect, the building could melt itself or a close neighboring premises.

Other variables that can contribute to distorting siding:

  • outdoor temps and wind speed
  • proximity of other heat sources, i.e. ac compressors
  • color and solar absorption of the siding (darker colors absorb more heat)
  • angle of the sun and orientation of the glass relative to the siding

Unfortunately, if your home/business insurance coverage is a “named peril policy”, such instances would not be covered.
If you have vinyl siding and are curious about other insurance options available to you, please contact Wolpert or your local Renaissance insurance agency.
Photo courtesy of Irene Morrill and Tech Talk, 2010
Double-pane windows can melt more than vinyl siding