If you walk outside and notice that your siding has started to buckle, droop, or twist off your house, then you have encountered warped siding . This occurs with vinyl siding materials, and in addition to looking unsightly it can also cause moisture issues and damage to your inner walls.
What causes siding to warp or melt?
Vinyl is a type of plastic and, like many plastics, it can start melting when subjected to too much heat. Many cases of bad warping occur during the summer, when the air heats up and the sunlight starts directing a lot of thermal energy at the walls of your house. Poor quality vinyl or dark paint colors cannot take this abuse, and the siding will start to warp and buckle as it absorbs the heat and expands.
This is often exacerbated by especially cold winters, where the vinyl contracts and makes the warping worse. Vinyl can also melt under harsh conditions, such as being exposed to intense reflected light from low-UV windows.
Can I prevent warped siding?
Monitoring the amount of sun that shines on your house is almost impossible (although new trees can add some shade) and summers tend to be extremely hot, but you can make smart choices about your siding. When buying vinyl siding materials, choose lighter colors such as whites, off-whites, and soft shades that will reflect as much light as possible.
If you are replacing or painting siding, try not to choose a color darker than the colors already used on your house. Many warped vinyl problems originate when homeowners decide to paint their walls a darker color without realizing the vinyl cannot handle the additional heat it will absorb. You should also avoid oil-based coatings, which tend to crack more easily when applied to vinyl materials.
My siding is already warped! What do I do?
There is no easy fix for warped siding other than replacing the sections entirely – it just can’t be returned to its original shape. Fortunately, it is common for damage to occur on one wall or side of your house, so you won’t need to replace all of your siding.
There are two options for siding replacement. You can choose a new type of vinyl siding, but pick one with a lighter exterior paint color so that it will not absorb light easily. This allows you keep the advantages of vinyl siding, incliuding low prices and lightweight materials, while avoiding future problems with melting. However, if the summers are particularly hot in your area, you may want to consider replacing your siding with a different material, such as wood, fiber cement, or another product that will not warp due to temperature changes.