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Distorted vinyl siding from window reflection


Martin Holladay
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I am writing an article for Energy Design Update about the warping or melting of vinyl siding due to reflection from window glass. I am appealing to inspectors to share their observations of this phenomenon. Among the questions that interest me:

1. What color was the vinyl siding?

2. Do you know if the window glass had a low-e coating?

3. If the window had insulated glazing, was it noticably concave?

4. Do you know how the situation was resolved? Who stepped up to the plate to offer a solution: the window supplier or the siding supplier?

5. Do you have any photos of such warped siding?

Thanks for any information you can provide.

Martin Holladay, editor

Energy Design Update

holladay@sover.net

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Originally posted by Martin Holladay

I am writing an article for Energy Design Update about the warping or melting of vinyl siding due to reflection from window glass. I am appealing to inspectors to share their observations of this phenomenon. Among the questions that interest me:

1. What color was the vinyl siding?

2. Do you know if the window glass had a low-e coating?

3. If the window had insulated glazing, was it noticably concave?

4. Do you know how the situation was resolved? Who stepped up to the plate to offer a solution: the window supplier or the siding supplier?

5. Do you have any photos of such warped siding?

Thanks for any information you can provide.

Martin Holladay, editor

Energy Design Update

holladay@sover.net

I have never seen this. Is this a regional problem? Can you let us know when and where this article is published?

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Martin,

Four instances - 3 had low e glass

Vinyl was always Beige

Location was always a south west wall with the window(s) at 90degres oriented north to south.

All were casement windows.

No noticeable curvature of glazing.

Always over a deck - 3 treated wood and one Trex

All on wall exposures of 12' or more.

No photos

Windows were screened by homeowner - 3

Window changed out to fixed unit by bldr on new house.

Not at all common, but fun to find.

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Hi,

I've seen it here Randy. In fact, I had it on a home in Issaquah within the past two weeks. The house in question had a little bumpout that was added at the back center of the house to form the dinette. It projects from the house with the walls of the bumpout oriented 45° to the back plane of the house and has windows on both sides. The back of the house faces dead south. The bottom 3ft. of siding at both the southeast and southwest corner is melted and deformed for about six feet from the outside corners. It clearly isn't caused by a barbecue grill and when you examine the houses at either side, which don't have the bumpout, they are fine. The following week, in another part of that development, when we did a house that had the exact same configuration and also was oriented south, the same thing, on a lesser scale, had occurred.

The sun strikes those windows on the east side of the bumpout at a downward angle in the morning and is reflected onto the bottom of the siding at the southeast corner. In the afternoon, it strikes the windows on the west side and is reflected down onto the lower-west corner. There's nothing fancy about those windows. They were cheap Alping-brand spec-grade vinyl units and I didn't see any obvious concave deformation.

Months ago, in a similar thread on the forum I moderate over at JLC, some contractors posted pictures of similar damage. One of these, was a builder here in Washington State.

So far, in every instance that I've seen this, or have seen photos of it, the siding was a sort of light to medium gray color. Martin, I'd previously told you that it was tan, but after going outside and looking at some siding of the same color, it's without-a-doubt gray in color.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hey Guys,

Martin is good people and there's nobody better to have hanging around here and chiming in on building science issues, so let's do what we can to help him find what he needs.

Kurt, could you or one of the other ASHI guys re-post his query to the ASHI board - you've got my permission to cut and paste it directly off of TIJ. That board is where I first learned of this phenomenon and where I got the photos that I've got archived. Since I guit ASHI....

Could some of you NAHI, NACHI and A.I.I. guys do the same thing on your respective boards. Again, you've got my permission to cut and paste Martin's query to those boards.

If anyone has photos, how about posting them here?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Martin Holladay

I am writing an article for Energy Design Update about the warping or melting of vinyl siding due to reflection from window glass. I am appealing to inspectors to share their observations of this phenomenon. Among the questions that interest me:

1. What color was the vinyl siding?

Every time I've seen it, the vinyl was light colored. Usually tan. But then again most vinyl seems to be tan, at least in my area.

2. Do you know if the window glass had a low-e coating?

I think so. Almost all of our windows have had low e coatings for some time.

3. If the window had insulated glazing, was it noticably concave?

Not particularly.

4. Do you know how the situation was resolved? Who stepped up to the plate to offer a solution: the window supplier or the siding supplier?

I've never heard the outcome of any of the ones I've seen.

5. Do you have any photos of such warped siding?

These four are from a townhome I saw just a few weeks ago. I'm having difficulty locating others that I've seen.

I do have other pictures of this condition that I swiped from other inspectors but I don't feel comfortable sharing them with you until I get permission.

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Hi Gary,

No, without ASHI's and that member's permission, that would be a copyright violation.It would be better if you contacted the inspector involved, explained that Martin is writing an article for Energy Design Update and gave him Martin's contact information and asked him to contact Martin directly.

For those of you who don't catch it, Martin is the Editor of Energy Design Update, which you might call the Lexus of building science pubs (Last time I looked, an annual subscription was over $400!). He's a former employee of, and frequent contributor to, the Journal of Light Construction and is one of the savviest building science people around. In other words, we want guys like this hanging around on TIJ, so we can suck all that knowledge out of their brains. We should do all we can to help him. Just don't tip him off to the subliminal message that's flashing across the screen telling him to withdraw all of his savings and wire them directly to my own bank account.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Staying on topic - I have read of but never seen vinyl siding deterioration such as this. I seem to remember the cause being a result of foil faced insulation board sheathing installed behind. The problem was with a darker (less reflective) vinyl on exposed sides of the structure. I assume only more temperate climates would experience this aberration.

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Originally posted by NewInspector

Staying on topic - I have read of but never seen vinyl siding deterioration such as this. I seem to remember the cause being a result of foil faced insulation board sheathing installed behind. The problem was with a darker (less reflective) vinyl on exposed sides of the structure. I assume only more temperate climates would experience this aberration.

The hearsay you're passing on is wrong on all counts. This melting effect happens readily on new, light-colored vinyl. I don't know what you mean by a temperate climate in this case; the entire U.S. is in a temperate zone. But if you mean warmer states, then no, I've seen pictures of this sort of melting vinyl in Detroit.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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My apologies to those i've offended by posting my initial reply.

I am new to the field & was merely trying to find out if what I had been told/taught was accurate. I should have asked the question as to whether a widespread, melting type, damage to VS could be caused by foil faced insulation board installed behind. I would still like an answer as I am now thoroughly confused. It seems from your posts that foil faced backing has not been a problem. Is this factual?

I should have included a disclaimer with my previous postings that I am neither an experienced inspector nor a wordsmith ("more temperate")

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