Dear Bob, I am writing because I had new vinyl siding installed a few years ago and now it’s beginning to warp on one side of our house. What is wrong with it and can it be fixed?
Vinyl siding is a great, low-maintenance material that can improve the curb appeal of your home while relieving you of those pesky routine paint jobs. But once in a while, I get a call or email just like the one from this homeowner, who is baffled to see that their new siding has suddenly begun to warp. There are generally three reasons that this can happen.
The first and most common cause is that when the siding was installed, it was nailed on too tight. Vinyl is a material that expands and contracts with the climate, and it needs room to move. If the siding is nailed onto the house too tightly, it will begin to warp or distort. Unfortunately, the buckling won’t correct itself and will have to be replaced. If you’re having siding installed, grab a piece of it and make sure you can move it about a half an inch side to side. Another rookie mistake is nailing a flagpole or shutters directly through the siding and into the wood underneath. If you do this, you pin the siding down, which will potentially leave it to distort.
The second cause is a real palm-to-forehead moment, but I see it all the time, especially in the summer. If you have a gas grill, make sure it’s at least three feet away from your home. The heat from the grill can easily melt your siding if it’s too close to the house.
The third is a little rarer and often comes as a big surprise to homeowners. These days, replacement windows are made with Low-E glass, which is an energy-efficient material that helps to diffuse dangerous UV rays from entering the house. The problem is that when the rays are diffused, they reflect back off the glass. If you live in an area where the houses are very close together, and your neighbor recently installed replacement windows, his or her home improvement could be causing your siding to warp. Luckily, by installing an external screen, the UV rays will be diffused and you shouldn’t have any problems. The same goes for you too, especially if you have a new window in a corner that reflects light back onto your house.
One very important tip is to make sure you check the warranty on your siding. Special circumstances like warping from a neighbor’s glass won’t be covered so be aware of your siding’s environment and what could cause problems in the future. By taking a few preventative measures you can ensure both its longevity and your peace of mind.