The problem: window reflections melting vinyl siding.
The solution: Turf Guard Window Film.
Seems simple enough, right? But if you care about protecting the appearance, function, and value of your home and you want to make sure you’re a good neighbor who doesn’t risk damaging the property of other people (and potentially getting into a lawsuit over it), then you owe it to yourself to gain a comprehensive understanding of how and why sunlight reflected off windows melts vinyl walls and how Turf Guard Window Film can stop the problem quickly and completely.
What is vinyl siding, exactly?
Vinyl is a versatile, durable material made from a synthetic plastic polymer. It is properly known as polyvinyl chloride and commonly called PVC. And chances are good that you have plenty of PVC nearby you right now: vinyl is one of the most common construction materials of the modern era, and is especially prominent in the home building industry.
Vinyl siding was first used in home construction starting in the late 1950s. It largely replaced the use of wooden and metal slats that had been used as siding in years prior. This was thanks to the ease and affordability of production and thanks to vinyl’s durability and ease of handling. Vinyl is slowly extruded in long strips that are then cut down to the size needed. It is relatively lightweight, it withstands all types of weather and temperatures, it resists discoloration caused by UV light, and it can be sawed, sanded, and painted as needed.
Despite the long and largely successful history of vinyl siding used in construction, the material is not without its drawbacks, a major one of which has only recently become a prominent problem: in recent years, many homes and businesses have found that their vinyl siding is becoming warped, damaged, or outright ruined due to melting. While a grill placed too close to vinyl siding or a faulty water heater or furnace can certainly cause the material to melt, the primary reason vinyl siding is melting these days is caused by windows. And not the windows of the afflicted property, but rather nearby windows that reflect sunlight onto vinyl-clad walls.
How can windows melt vinyl siding?
Windows can melt vinyl siding (and more — see below for other potential trouble areas) due to a confluence of factors, but the short answer is this: concentration of energy.
Modern low-e windows are great for keeping the inside a home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, reducing the property’s energy costs and its carbon footprint at the same time. But the design of these windows creates a perfect storm for damaging nearby structures and landscaping due to two particular qualities of their design. First and foremost, these windows are designed for high solar reflectivity. They are supposed to keep solar heat out, after all, and thus have that high reflectance; that reflected light (which is effectively heat) has to go somewhere.
But there’s even more to it than that.
When an energy efficient double paned window is working properly, it can maintain one interior temperature despite the marked difference in outdoor air temperature thanks to the buffer zone between the dual panes of glass. But these differing temperatures can create a vacuum effect in that zone, causing a slight concavity on the panes of glass as they are drawn inward by this vacuum. The inward flex of the panes is far too minor to be noticed by the human eye, and it has little to no effect on the function of the windows in terms of insulation, but it does have a marked effect on how the windows reflect light.
This concavity and the reflectivity together can, in fact, effectively turn the windows into lenses that not only reflect but that highly concentrate the light that bounces off of them. If you have ever burned a hole in a piece of paper using a magnifying glass, then you have witnessed a very similar phenomenon first hand.
Regular glass windows (single pane windows without enhanced reflectivity, that is to say) have been known to melt vinyl siding, but this is rare and requires a precise set of circumstances including proper alignment of the angle of the sun relative to the windows and the afflicted structure. Low-e windows concentrate light and create hotspots much more readily. This concentrated heat is of particular concern when there are homes or businesses with vinyl siding nearby because of…
The low melting point of vinyl
Homes or businesses built of brick or wrapped with a cement-based cladding are at little risk of damage caused by sunlight reflecting off windows. Homes or commercial properties wrapped with vinyl siding, however, should be wary if they see the neighbors upgrading their windows.
If energy efficient windows concentrate their heat enough, they will create a hotspot more than capable of melting vinyl siding, that’s a simple fact: it’s just a matter of where those hotspots end up. If the heated light shines on vinyl walls, it’s surprisingly easy for this melting to happen: according to the Vinyl Siding Institute, most vinyl cladding has a melting point of only around 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. On a hot summer day, it takes only a little extra solar energy, then, for start vinyl siding to become distorted through heat. In fact temperatures approaching 220 degrees have been detected in sunlight reflected off energy efficient windows, and that’s not only enough heat to melt vinyl, but also to damage other surfaces and structures and even to cause injuries to a person.
Even on cold winter days, though, focused sunlight reflections can melt vinyl walls. This is not a seasonal issue, but a potentially permanent issue if left unmitigated.
Window reflections melt turf grass and more, too
While sunlight reflections melting vinyl siding might be the most prominent issue these low-e windows create, they are hardly the only issue. Artificial turf grass also has a low melting point, and it can be easily ruined if the concentrated light reflections bouncing off a window create hotspots on the ground. Turf that has been melted by window reflections cannot be repaired; it must be removed and replaced. Reflect solar hotspots can also melt plastic garbage cans and can make short work of the thin plastic of trash bags. This reflected light can damage seating, children’s play structures, car port covers, and much more. Anything with a melting point of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, in short, could be damaged or ruined by light reflected off of windows.
And here’s another major issue many home and business owners have faced: often the artificial grass, the vinyl siding, or other property features melted by vinyl siding will be on a neighbor’s property, therefore raising the specter of legal action.
Melted vinyl siding lawsuits
Even as melted vinyl siding lawsuits (and melted turf and other such legal actions) become more commonplace, it’s not always was to know where to point the blame. Some lawyers began to assemble massive class action lawsuits that accused companies producing vinyl siding of turning out inferior materials that were too easily damaged and that left property owners with devalued homes or businesses.
Other major cases aimed the blame at the producers and/or installers of the low-e windows that were creating the reflections. Multiple people have also files smaller lawsuits against neighbors and businesses in which they blame the property owner of the offending windows for their damaged vinyl siding (or grass). Other individual cases go after the makers of their damaged siding seeking recompense under the terms of a warranty outside of a class action level of suit.
The best way to deal with a melted vinyl siding lawsuit is to not get involved in one in the first place. And the best way to do that is to stop windows melting vinyl siding by using Turf Guard Window Film
How can window film stop vinyl siding from melting?
Turf Guard Window Film stops reflected sunlight from melting vinyl siding, artificial turf grass, and other property features by preventing low-e windows (or regular glass windows, glass doors, and more) from creating concentrated reflected light in the first place. Sheets of this thin but durable and capable film can be applied to the exterior of a window and will effectively scatter the light that hits the pane, preventing any concentration of focused light and eliminating hotspots.
Anti-glare window film is made with thousands of minute perforations that allow plenty of visible light to pass through into the home (or business) and for you to see out through the windows, but they also alter the exterior of the glass in terms of its reflective properties, sending photons bounding away in countless directions instead of channeling them all into a focused beam.
Here’s what Turf Guard Window Film will not do, for the record: it will not reduce the efficacy of low-e windows when it comes to heat rejection and quality of insulation. Low-e energy efficient windows treated with anti-reflective window film will still reject as much solar heat and will not lessen the insulation properties of the windows whether the exterior temperature is warm or cold.
And Turf Guard Window Film does not block the view through the windows. In fact, it does not damper the view any more than a traditional bug screen, which can hardly be noticed except on very close inspection. As with a bug screen, you’ll appreciate this specialty window film for what you don’t see, which in this case will be the absence of ruined vinyl siding, melted turf grass, and some very angry neighbors.
Finally, Turf Guard Window Film need not alter the appearance of the exterior of your property in any perceptible way. It is available in a clear film that will not chance the appearance of the windows or glass doors to your eye, but that will very much change the way light interacts with the surface.
And in fact beyond not damaging the aesthetics of the home, Turf Guard Window Film can even enhance the appearance of a property’s exterior. Beyond the clear finish, it is available in white, black, or gray shades that can add depth and character to a property in just the same way the a fresh coat of stain or paint used to render contrasting trim colors can make a home or business look its best.