Melting Vinyl Siding on New Construction

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Old 07-20-08, 12:52 PM
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Melting Vinyl Siding on New Construction

Good Afternoon!

My wife and I have a new construction home that is now just a few months shy of two years old. We have a garage that is positioned just forward of the rest of the house on the left side, with the front of the house facing south. Immediately to the right of the garage is the den. So, from the outside of the house, the front wall of the den meets the right-side garage wall. There are a pair of windows on the front wall of the den.

We had the builder come out this spring and replace about eight or nine rows of siding because the windows are apparently somewhat concave and have caused reflected light and heat to melt a neat vertical path on gargage siding. The melted siding runs from about two feet off the ground up to about nine feet.

They swapped the upper panes of glass on the windows to see if that would help. It hasn't because the siding has melted again, only worse this time. I don't want to get mad at people who aren't responsible but when we recently spoke with the builder again, they suggested planting a tree in the small area of dirt in front of the windows (it needs to be a tree that won't get very large because the sidewalk that leads from the driveway to the front door passes the garage and den at an angle, leaving a triangle of space to plant shrubs with the legs of the triangle only being about 12 ft each). They also suggested putting a decorative yard item there to prevent the heat from hitting the siding directly.

My question is, if the builder/builder's architect planned the layout of the house, wouldn't they also consider how light would enter the house itself and as a result, know that the sun could reflect off certain windows and cause something like this? Shouldn't they be the one's to supply a tree? I know they aren't responsible for the path the sun takes but isn't planning for that part of the building process?

There isn't much room for a tree and I would think a tree that could block the heat would need to be twleve feet or taller and also be positioned rather close to the windows to be effective. I don't think the tree would be very effective in winter without any leaves... Are there any window film products that are recommended for this kind of thing?

Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 07-20-08, 02:01 PM
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I believe your problem can be solved by having replacing your "double pane" insulating glass units (IGU's) with triple pane IGU's, or by having new double pane IGU's made that have thicker glass, such as 3/16" glass per side.

Almost all windows are made so that the IGU can be swapped out and replaced fairly easily by a professional glazier.
 
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Old 07-20-08, 07:59 PM
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That's the first time I've heard that. Does the number of insulating panes change the focus of light or is it that because the panel is more rigid, it is less susceptible to warping?

Also, do you think the responsiblity for this would fall with the builder or homeowner (in your opinion)?

Thanks!
 
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Old 07-21-08, 04:01 PM
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A triple pane IGU would likely change the focal point. A double pane IGU that has thicker glass would have glass that is more rigid, so it would be less prone to become concave since the glass would lay flatter.

If I was to place blame, it would be on the window manufacturer. But you won't get anything out of anyone, IMO... this is a freak occurance.
 
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Old 07-21-08, 04:55 PM
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I've been in construction for 28 years and have never heard of such a thing. Is there a way you could put a trim piece where the siding usually melts (along the vertical line)? Even if it has to be very wide it could work. It may not be the most pleasing suggestion but might be better than a tree. As far as responsibility, I do not know a builder or architect that would ever be able to foresee something like this. If you have pics I would love to see them.

Good luck
 
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Old 07-21-08, 05:05 PM
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Is it possible there is a vent for a water heater or fireplace in this area? We have vinyl siding on some homes out here in AZ (not many), but I can't imagine reflected light would cause that much heating??
 
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Old 07-21-08, 07:08 PM
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I used to have a window that had this same "focal point" problem. My upstairs window reflected on the neighbor's one story house in the wintertime when the sun was directly south, and low in the sky (as it is here in the winter). The focal point was unbelievably bright, like holding a magnifying glass to the sun. Thankfully she did not have any siding that was harmed.

Remodelling turned that wall into a patio door and deck, so it's no longer a problem. I'm not suprised such a reflection could sear vinyl siding. I've seen plenty of grills melt siding just because they were positioned too close to the house. Doesn't take much.
 
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Old 07-21-08, 08:05 PM
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You see this from time to time at home inspections:



One suggested solution it to install a screen at the reflecting window:

IG Cardinal - Vinyl Siding and Window reflections
 
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Old 07-22-08, 07:31 AM
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Wow MT
Well, learn something all the time. I already knew about the issues with grilles, had just never heard or seen it from reflected light.

Pictures worth a thousand internet posts, I guess.
 
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Old 07-22-08, 03:57 PM
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Perhaps an awning over the reflecting window would fix it.
 
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Old 07-23-08, 06:39 PM
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While I wouldn't exactly say this is common, this is my second new construction home where this has happened. Last time it was from the reflection off a neighbors window.

I'm not sure how to effectively figure out how to block the path of the sun apart from screens in the upper part of the window.
 
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Old 07-25-08, 03:36 PM
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Putting screens on the offending windows will stop any reflection problem and be the cheapest solution. If the windows are opperable they should have come with screens. Some windows only come with 1/2 screens that only cover the openable "lite" but most windows are set up to take full screens YOU WILL NEED FULL SCREENS!. You can either order the screens from the window manufacturer [probably from a company that sells the window] or have screens made for the windows. I would reccommend charcol aluminium or vinyl for the screens. If you order them they will need the sizes of the windows, width then height, [tell them this is the frame size] they will also need the model of the window [this should be in the paperwork you got with the house, sometimes on the window or you may need to call the builder for this information. If the windows will not except screens then you could try that plastic window darkening material they use on car windows
 
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