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What Homeowners Should Know About Solar Deflection

Fran Beaulieu

October 15, 2021

When homeowners need siding repair and replacement work done on their homes, they often pursue vinyl siding options. In many cases, vinyl siding is less expensive than other types of siding, is energy-efficient, looks great, and essentially requires no maintenance. There’s a lot to like about vinyl siding but there’s one issue it’s vulnerable to that can lead to some unexpected problems. Vinyl melting is more common on vinyl siding than homeowners think and it’s a direct result of solar deflection. Here’s what you need to know about solar deflection and how to prevent it from keeping your vinyl siding in great shape for years to come.

How Does Solar Deflection Occur?

Solar deflection occurs when the sun hits window glass, deflects, and shines directly on a nearby object. This process might seem harmless, but it can be the exact reason why vinyl siding melts in certain areas. When a quality contractor sees melted vinyl siding, the first thing they will do is look around to see exactly where your neighbor’s windows are. South-west-facing windows will deflect an intense amount of sunlight, particularly during the summer. When the light deflection hits your siding for an extended time, it can cause the vinyl siding to melt to the point where you’ll need siding repair and replacement.

The Downfall Of Energy-Efficient Windows

Energy-efficient windows are great because they keep hot air out in the summer and cool air out in the winter. Homeowners love them because they help them regulate energy bills a little easier and keep them comfortable in their homes. However, as the popularity of energy-efficient windows has increased, so has the number of issues homeowners are experiencing with vinyl siding melting.

When homeowners get new window installation in their home, one of the selling points of energy-efficient windows is how well they deflect light. This leads to a more comfortable interior space in the home. The problem is since it doesn’t absorb sunlight, the energy from the solar heat has to go somewhere. A quality contractor might describe solar deflection like being at the beach during the summer. Sometimes the reflection of the sun from the water is more intense and can create worse sunburn than the sunlight itself. This is exactly the concept of solar deflection and how the vinyl siding melting can occur where the light is deflected.

Preventing Melted Vinyl Siding

If your neighbor just completed their window installation project, you probably won’t want to ask them to replace the windows that are causing your vinyl siding to melt. The good news is there are a few other ways you can prevent melted vinyl siding, including:

  • Installing a full screen on the window. A full screen over the windows deflecting the most solar heat effectively prevents melted vinyl siding. Have a quality contractor examine the windows creating the problems and ask your neighbor if they would consider installing a full screen on it.
  • Installing a PTI screen. A PTI screen is effective in reducing solar heat and solar glare. If your neighbor doesn’t want to install a full screen after their window installation project, then a PTI screen might be a simple alternative that still allows their windows to function as normal.
  • Covering the windows with small awnings. Depending on the orientation of some windows, covering them with small awnings can prevent direct sunlight from hitting them and reduce the amount of deflection.
  • Utilizing the benefits of landscaping. Installing a fence, planting shrubs or trees, or other landscaping options can go a long way in absorbing or reflecting sunlight from solar deflection. And as an added benefit, it can improve the aesthetics of your home at the same time.
  • Pursuing siding repair and replacement. If your neighbor is unwilling to help you, then you might need to pursue siding repair and replacement. With no changes being made, you’ll need to repair the siding more often than you would like to. Otherwise, replacing the siding might be the best option to eliminate the issue.

Some of these prevention methods are more ideal than others. The good news is a quality contractor can provide you with additional siding repair and replacement options to ensure you end up with the best solution for your home and budget.

Vinyl Siding Manufacturers Must Change Their Formulas

Vinyl siding manufacturers are aware of the issues solar deflection is causing on their products. They are working diligently to change their formulas in their vinyl siding so they will withstand higher temperatures and prevent vinyl melting from occurring. When you’re looking into siding repair and replacement options, opting for a higher-end material will help you avoid having to replace your siding as often. Whether you’re looking to install vinyl siding for the first time or if you’ve experienced vinyl melting, it’s something you should look at and evaluate closely to prevent future issues.

Beaulieu & Sons can help homeowners with anything from window installation to siding repair and replacement and anything in between. If you’ve experienced vinyl siding melting, we will evaluate the issue and work with your neighbors to offer attractive and functional options that will benefit everyone. Solar deflection is a real issue that shouldn’t be ignored, so contact us if you suspect your home might be experiencing problems because of it.

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