THE NOISE IN THE ATTIC, or is it the windows?

By
Home Inspector with H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

I was called upon a few days ago to come out to a lady's house and investigate the "noises in the attic, and sometimes the windows".

After thoroughly looking around the house, up in the attic, and scrutinizing several of their new vinyl replacement windows, (about 1/2 hour after I arrived) I finally heard the first of the noises to which she was referring to. A crackling noise appeared to come from somewhere in the attic, and then suddenly, a much louder pop, or bang type of noise. The lady jumped and grabbed my arm.. "There, did you hear that?" she said. Hmm, not only did I hear it, I FELT it! (my arm may be black and blue soon). Back up in the attic I go. Soon, more noises, and it was becoming apparent what the source was. Any guesses?

Back down, and now we could hear some small noises that seemed to be coming from the rear window in the dining room, which was quite large. She said "Now you see I have a symphony of noises, and I am not crazy, right?" I agreed.

This house was West facing, and the sun was coming up in the rear (about 10 am).

The noises we were hearing were a result of expansion that most likely happens every day when the sun comes up. The loud banging noise was apparently coming from one single truss in the attic, that when it expanded, was rubbing against another framing member, and when  it expands enough, the pop can be heard. The windows as well were expanding in the morning sun, and crackling against their framing and insulation.

I assured her that these noises are quite normal, and that she probably experienced them in the morning, and again in the evening, when things started to cool down again. Why don't the noises occur all the time? I believe the answer is that they occur because of temperature differentials in different materials, as they are heating up or cooling down at different rates. It is most likely more pronounced when the sun shines in the morning, and starts heating things up. Usually, there is not much that can be done to stop this phenomenon from occuring. However, large popiing noises can sometimes be eliminated or quieted if they can be pinpointed. Sometimes simply sliding a piece of rosin paper in between noisy framing members will do the trick.

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Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

I have also noticed that sometimes a drywall ceiling will be quite noisy. Loose fasteners, and no glue used during contruction can be the cause, which means the ceiling needs additional fasteners, or in extreme cases, taken down and re-installed.

Jul 07, 2008 04:46 AM #1
Rainmaker
335,193
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

Yeah, we get the popping trusses morning and evening. SOmetimes its really loud.

Jul 07, 2008 05:17 AM #2
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

That is very difficult to get that to stop, actually difficult to pinpoint the exact source.

Jul 18, 2008 07:04 AM #3
Rainer
9,227
J. Brandon Roberts
Reveal Property Inspections - Clarksville, TN

Wow, that was some good investigation work Kevin.  Now I have another mental tool to add to my toolbelt.  Thanks for the info.

Jul 18, 2008 08:51 AM #4
Rainer
13,381
Scott Gilligan
Accuracy Assured Home Inspections, LLC - Philadelphia, PA

As far as the roof trusses making noise...is this a situation where additional cross bracing would take care of this persons situation? It's impossible to know what is going on there without actually being there to see it, but it might be an option. They could also possibly ventilate the attic a little more to keep the heat down.

Jul 20, 2008 02:35 PM #5
Rainmaker
179,891
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Kevin we have a SW facing side on our home that is 45' long X 12' high (the side not our house) and all vinyl siding.  When the sun is on its downward arc (in the summer about 1:30pm) the siding starts popping.  If your in the garage or in my office in the rear of the garage it sounds like the Clack Clack Clack of an automatic weapon.  When I first heard it the neighbor had cut down a big silver maple that blocked most of the SW side from the sun.  They planted a Blue Spruce in its place.  I'm going to have to wait about 20 years for the noise to stop.  

Jul 27, 2008 02:55 PM #6
Anonymous
sb

I think you would be very interested in this conversation going on in a forum I frequent. Severla people have been trying to help Cody eliminate the night noises

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=62092&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

 

Best regards.

Jan 10, 2011 08:26 AM #7
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Rainmaker
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Kevin Corsa

H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
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