Cooking on a grill or barbecue in your backyard is one of the joys of good weather, but if you do fire up a grill outside, move it away from your siding, no matter what type of siding you have. Grills heat up quite a bit and can transfer enough heat to a house to cause damage. Most often this damage is to the siding next to the grill, but sometimes the material behind the siding can sustain damage as well.
The siding damage that is most often associated with grills is melted vinyl siding. The heat from grills can be too intense and end up causing the material to melt. Grills should be kept at least 10 feet away from vinyl siding to reduce the chances of something happening to the siding.
But don't be fooled if the siding is made from a material like aluminum. You might think it's OK to grill next to that because it's metal and won't melt, right? There's one problem with that reasoning -- it neglects the material behind the siding. When you use a grill next to a home, the heat from the grill can transfer into the siding, making it hotter and hotter. That heat can transfer into the material behind the siding, be it insulation, a wood frame, or another combustible material. The Fort Campbell Courier reports that wood behind siding "can smolder for hours before it could potentially ignite into a fire."
Grill Safety and Siding
Before using your grill, measure the area around where you plan to use it. If you can't get that 10-foot clearance on all sides, or if you find that the spot is covered by a low awning or tree branches, don't use the grill in that spot -- move it somewhere safe. If you can't find any good spots, stick to using a grill pan indoors and don't use your outside grill at all. It might not be as fun, but it will be more fun than trying to put out a house fire.
If you're reading this right after you have used a grill near your house, start inspecting the area immediately. Note any damage such as melted spots or warped spots, and check the siding for hot spots that could indicate smoldering materials behind the siding. Call the fire department immediately if you feel any hotspots when the house should have been cool.
For more information about protecting your siding and home when you grill, contact a siding company (such as Lifetime Exteriors) to discuss the materials that are on your house. Have the siding inspected and fixed or replaced if necessary.