UPDATED September 3, 2013
In almost every corner of the U.S., reports are increasing of vinyl siding that has been melted by sunlight bouncing off nearby windows. This melted-siding pandemic makes vinyl manufacturers very nervous — so nervous that the topic is rarely discussed.
Most reported cases involve siding that melts, gets replaced, and then melts a second time. One possible reason for the apparent increase in cases of melted siding is the increasing use of high-performance glazing.
Not our problem, says Pulte
Arlene Taraschi, a homeowner in Delanco, New Jersey, described her melted siding in a letter to a Q-and-A column in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Two years ago, my husband and I purchased a new, Pulte-built home in South Jersey. After a few months we noticed the vinyl siding on one side of the house seemed to be dented in a diagonal pattern. The siding contractor replaced the siding on the entire side of the house. This was done last January, and by February the denting pattern began again. We were told at this time that it was because of the reflection of the sun’s rays from our neighbor’s house. Pulte has termed this melting of the siding ‘thermal distortion,’ and refuses to correct the problem.”
As Taraschi’s case makes clear, these cases aren’t just public relations nightmares — they’re legal nightmares. Arlene’s husband, Carl Taraschi, told me, “I’ve sued Pulte, the siding installer, and the siding manufacturer.”
Since 2007, when I first reported on cases of siding melted by window reflections, I’ve collected homeowner reports of the phenomenon from 16 states (Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington).
Danny Winters works for Cimarron Homes, a builder in Durham, North Carolina. Winters told…