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sljacobs 03-08-2010 01:41 PM

Question about vinyl siding bulging and forming bubbles
Hi - I had Certainteed .042 vinyl siding, color granite gray (dark gray) installed on my home last summer as part of a county low income home improvement program. I have a warranty on the work through this August.

I have one place on the front of the house, facing south, where two planks of siding are bulging outward. The two planks look like four pieces of vinyl wood. Sorry, I don't know the correct terms. They are together on the wall between two bedroom windows, one plank above the other. There are no seams in these vinyl pieces. Sometimes there are about 6 bubbles on these pieces, sometimes they just look bulged out from the wall when viewed from the side. The appearance of this area is kind of wavy from the bulging.

I found one plank on the garage wall that also has bubbles and bulges.

What might be causing the vinyl to be bulging and bubbling in these areas? What would be the best thing to do to correct them?

Thanks, Susan

houseinthewoods 03-08-2010 02:17 PM

Sounds like the siding was installed in the summer (hot) and is now buckling in the winter (cold), correct? Vinyl expands and contracts a lot, so it can't be fastened tightly to the house. The mounting holes are slots so the siding can expand and contract smoothly.

I'm not an expert, but it sounds like it might have been fastened too tightly in the areas you're having problems. The siding company has a 'zipper' tool that can separate courses of siding, giving them access to the nails. The offending fasteners need to be removed and replaced with properly installed fasteners.

troubleseeker 03-08-2010 02:41 PM

Not exactly what you mean by "bubbles", but bulges like you describe are almost always the result of an installation problem. Definately sounds like the pieces were cut too long and have no room for expansion, or adjacent fasteners were driven home, and are restricting the expansion to the short distance between hard driven nails. As suggested , have the pieces in question unzipped to check the nails. I would document this problem with photos and a written letter of complaint, with proof of receipt, so that you have some ammo if this problem starts showing up in other areas.

sljacobs 03-08-2010 03:27 PM

Thanks for your replies.

The bubbles are about golf ball size mounds in a cluster of 5 or 6. On a painted surface, you might call them blisters. They look like a cluster of insect bites.

Yes, the siding was installed last summer. Now the days in MI are sunny, but the nights are cold.

This contractor works for this county program and some of his other work on my house has been rather shoddy. I have written to him, under the warranty, that the aluminum wrap on my garage door frame is coming off (another post at this site). He called today, I told him of this siding problem also. He said that is just how vinyl is. Which is why I am asking here. My contractor hasn't proven himself to be very skilled or truthful.

I can bring the building inspector into this if his warranty repairs aren't satisfactory to me. However, if more of this happens after the one-year warranty is up, I probably need to find a handiman to do the repairs. Might actually turn out to be better than the one I was given.

Questions: Will unzipping the pieces of siding to check for too tight nails cause any damage to the siding? Are the places where the siding bulges outward permanently dented? Or if the pieces are shortened or the nails redone, would the length of siding lay flat and not bulge?


Thurman 03-08-2010 04:02 PM

I install vinyl siding on smaller homes, storage buildings, and do siding repairs, but--I'm no expert. With the two pieces (planks) of siding being between two windows and one above the other--I'll agree that they were installed a bit too long, and the fasteners were driven/screwed home hard. I'll bet the piece on the garage is abutted on each end preventing movement also. Vinyl siding has to "float" with weather changes whether in Florida or Alaska. I have no idea as to the "blistering", that's a new one to me. I would love to see photo's. Individual pieces of installed vinyl siding can be unlocked (unzipped?) from the pieces above and below them, with no harm to any pieces IF done properly. Your bulging pieces need to be evaluated to determine if they are too long, properly/partially removed for trimming. I'm wondering---are the "blisters" in somewhat of a straight line, or--are they in somewhat of a rounded pattern?
I'm thinking the fasteners used on the siding may be backing out and the heat is causing the head(s) of the fasteners to try and push through the vinyl. David

sljacobs 03-08-2010 05:20 PM

Thanks for your reply.

Right now in MI, it is cold at night, then warms up during the afternoon, close to 50 lately.

The "bubbles" appear in the early to mid-morning. They are not in a straight line, but a random circle perhaps. You can only see them from certain spots in the yard. Up close, the area looks more like a bulge. Perhaps it is a shadow effect that they look like bumps. I don't have a camera, sorry.

I had my neighbor come to see today, by the time he came, it was warmer and he could see the pieces of vinyl were bulging and had a wavy appearance on the wall. But not really bubbles.

He also thought the nails were either too tight or the pieces too long.

Hopefully this contractor will be able to unlock them and reattach them less tightly without damaging the siding.

Questions: If the contractor does damage the siding in unlocking it or cuts too much off the end, would the leftover pieces I have from last summer still match? I have so little trust in him.

And are you saying that the bulging area would flatten once those things were done and not be permanently bent out of shape?

Thank you!

Thurman 03-08-2010 07:17 PM

"And are you saying that the bulging area would flatten once those things were done and not be permanently bent out of shape?"
One word answer--NO. I can't sit here in GA. and say that about your situation, of course. I will say that most of the time, here, in GA. the siding will return to it's normal state of flatness. ME? I would not hesitate to remove one or more pieces of vinyl IF the outside temp is 60 or more for an hour or so. ALL vinyl pieces would be the same temp, so I,ME, would cut/trim as needed.
"Questions: If the contractor does damage the siding in unlocking it or cuts too much off the end, would the leftover pieces I have from last summer still match? I have so little trust in him." IMO--This will depend on where/how they were stored. IF the pieces are still in the original box, and stored out of direct weather, they may even be very slightly darker than siding that has been exposed for 6-8 months. Maybe. But then-what's the option? Being as you have left-over siding, go look at it to understand how the pieces interlock together, and you will better understand how they can be "unzipped" or removed. Good Luck, David

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