Media Alert: Brick Industry Association (BIA) Misleads Homeowners about Vinyl Siding

In response to a news release issued by the Brick Industry Association, Kate Offringa, president of the Vinyl Siding Institute has issued the following statement:

“Claims made about vinyl siding by the Brick Industry Association are inaccurate, misleading, and an obvious attempt to incite concern among the millions of homeowners whose houses have vinyl siding.

“Under the guise of providing a public service on fire safety tips during the holidays, the Brick Industry Association is shamelessly promoting its own products.

“In reference to a house fire reported by an NBC affiliate, the release incorrectly says a cigarette left on a deck ignited the vinyl siding and foam board insulation, when the fire chief’s report clearly says ‘the smoking material ignited the wood deck.’

“The news release also says unnamed fire chiefs are seeing an increase in home fires resulting from the combination of increased insulation and certain types of exterior wall cladding. First, this is preposterous. Combinations of building materials do not simply catch fire by themselves. Second, the incidence of exterior house fires is not increasing; in fact, residential fires have been on the decline for decades, and fire statistics bear this out. It’s also important to note that less than four percent of residential fires start on the outside of homes.

“As for the UL study cited in the news release, the technical deficiencies of the study were so egregious that representatives of the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association (XPSA), the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Industry Alliance, the Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) Industry Members Association, and the Vinyl Institute (VI) signed a joint letter in February, 2016, requesting that UL promptly remove the report and related wall assembly training videos from the UL website, UL’s YouTube channel and other UL forums.

“It’s true that all organic materials (that is, anything containing carbon) will ignite, but the higher the temperature a material has to reach before it flames, the safer it is. Vinyl siding won’t ignite, even from another flame, until it reaches about 730°F (387°C) and won’t self-ignite until about 850°F (454°C). Those ignition temperatures are significantly higher than common framing lumber, which ignites from a flame at 500°F (260°C) and self-ignites at 770°F (410°C).

“The facts unequivocally show vinyl siding to be a safe cladding option and we will vigorously defend it against scurrilous attacks.”