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Why is the Siding on My Chimney Melting?

melted vinyl siding chimneyHave you noticed that the vinyl siding on your chimney is warped or starting to buckle? This indicates that the siding has melted. Melted siding is not a common problem but it can happen. We see this most often in the summer time. In most cases, chimney issues are not the culprit, the sun is. In the rare cases when the chimney is the culprit, it is an indicator of a much graver problem.

If you have ever used a magnifying glass to start a small fire you know that sun rays reflected through glass can be incredibly hot. A western or southern facing window that reflects ultraviolet rays from the sun on to your home’s siding can have a similar effect as a magnifying glass. Instead of lighting the siding on fire, the heat from the ultraviolet rays causes the siding to melt.

To determine if the sun is melting the siding, look for these two indicators:

  1. A western or southern facing window that could be reflecting sunlight onto the siding.
  2. Melted siding in line with the reflected sunlight from the nearby window and unmelted in shaded areas nearby.

If you conclude that the sun is the cause, there are 4 possible solutions:

  1. Install a screen on the outside of the window. This will defuse the sunlight that bounces of the glass making it less powerful so that it cannot melt the siding.
  2. Plant trees, bushes or other greenery around the window or siding to protect it from the sun’s rays. The shade that this creates should prevent the sunlight from damaging your siding.
  3. Place an awning over the window to shade it from the sun and prevent it from reflecting sunlight.
  4. Replace the melted siding with high heat siding that can withstand up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the most expensive option, but it will be a long-lasting investment.

house chimney with vinyl sidingYou can rule out the sun as the cause if the siding all along the chimney is melted even in shaded areas. In that case, the melted siding is most likely the symptom of a serious chimney problem. It may have been melted by a chimney fire that reached a high enough temperature to damage the chimney’s lining and melt the siding, a failing chimney liner chimney due to water intrusion or another significant chimney issue. The best solution is to contact a certified chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and determine the root cause of the problem.

Chimneys are designed to withstand high temperatures and protect the structure of your home, including the siding, from damage. Siding on the chimney should never be hot to the touch when your fireplace is in use. If it is, then there is a serious problem with your fireplace or chimney. You should not use your fireplace again until the problem is identified and fixed. A damaged chimney that is overheating is a significant fire risk. Give us a call if you suspect that your chimney is overheating! Our certified chimney sweeps will do a thorough inspection to find out what is wrong and let you know the best solutions.