Crazy loud house popping in cold weather.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 05, 2016 7:13 AM GMT
    Winter has arrived with single digit temps and my house is making loud cracking and popping sounds. I've heard this is normal, but any builders/ carpenters on here that can confirm? Waiting for the ceiling to cave in.

  • Jan 05, 2016 2:32 PM GMT
    Do you have steam heat / radiators?

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    Jan 05, 2016 3:17 PM GMT
    StrangerinParadise saidDo you have steam heat / radiators?

    Good point. The steam heat pipes in my boyhood home used to bang a bit during heating cycles.

    But his part of the US just went through unseasonably warm weather, then the temperature plunged suddenly. That could cause wood beams to make sounds. If the temperatures stabilize at more seasonal levels he should hear less of it. Not a carpenter, but I lived the first 20 years of my life in that climate, and for years in even colder, actually coldest in the Lower 48. I would call it normal.
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    Jan 05, 2016 4:08 PM GMT
    Living in NYC, with steam/radiator heat, I sporadically hear popping sounds. After some use, they aren't as noisy as before.
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    Jan 05, 2016 5:04 PM GMT
    Loud cracking noises during cold weather are not unusual. The frames in some houses make loud noises when expanding and contracting with the temperature changes.

    http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/february-2005/why-does-my-house-make-loud-cracking-sounds-in-very-cold-weather/
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    Jan 05, 2016 6:07 PM GMT
    My timber ceiling joists sometimes "crack" so loudly it sounds like a baby elephant is walking about upstairs.

    It's just the wood contracting/expanding with the cold/heat (either that or I have a morbidly obese ghost).
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    Jan 05, 2016 6:16 PM GMT
    There are all kinds of possibilities. Wood expands and contracts. Every part of a wooden structure has to be built to allow this movement. This can make sounds, especially if a joint is too tight.

    My house was made from clear Canadian lumber, which seems quite different from knotty kiln-dried US lumber. It was very straight, and nails sank into it like butter, but it swelled and shrank a lot in the first few years. A seasonal bulge would develop where the main beam runs across the great-room floor. Eventually this went away.

    The loudest pops came from the double-pane gas-filled windows. Mostly at sunset after a sunny day. Eventually I realized that it was actually coming from the wooden jambs, which lock into the vinyl rails and stiles. I locked those down to the framing a little tighter when I installed the interior trim, and the pops mostly went away.
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    Jan 05, 2016 6:22 PM GMT
    Houses w/big beams or heavy framing and post and beam houses particularly make a lot of noise contracting in cold weather. When a beam checks (cracks) it sounds like a .50 cal. rifle going off and is unfortunately common in the P&B construction.
    The wind blows so hard here it makes this old house creak and groan all winter.
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    Jan 05, 2016 7:53 PM GMT
    icon_eek.gif I initially read this thread title as "crazy house loud pooping in cold weather"
  • NerdLifter

    Posts: 1509

    Jan 05, 2016 8:37 PM GMT
    Off-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.
  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    Jan 05, 2016 8:48 PM GMT
    So what's the age of the home?

    It is not unusual in most stick built homes to hear popping or popping sounds as the temperature and humidity changes. In the last 30 years this has been exacerbated by the use of immature lumber in construction. At a minimum, decking should be both screwed (not nailed) and glued to iJoists, conventional floor joists, or open web trusses. Masonry structures can be incredibly quiet. Perhaps too quiet to me.
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    Jan 05, 2016 10:42 PM GMT
    Thanks everyone. No radiators, forced air, but it does sound like a .50 cal rifle at times. But only when really cold.
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    Jan 05, 2016 11:05 PM GMT
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    I would be very curious to know why wood is preferred. Cost advantage? Even people in shanty towns in South America use brick, steel and concrete.
  • toolmaker1

    Posts: 29

    Jan 06, 2016 12:49 AM GMT
    Hey Gents I live in Canada and I can assure you its completely normal, the wood in my house makes all kinds of sounds every winter as it contracts. Last two winters were so cold we had what they call frost quakes where the ground is freezing so much it lets out loud cracking sounds that sound like an earthquake. Have a great winter!
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Jan 06, 2016 1:10 AM GMT
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    But those materials generally don't fare so well as wood in case of an earthquake.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Jan 06, 2016 1:42 AM GMT
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    I've noted that too. But we have more, cheap wood,, and it goes up faster. And given the rate that houses get pulled own around here, and replaced with much bigger ones - why use a long-lived material?

  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Jan 06, 2016 1:44 AM GMT
    With regard to popping, remember also that in cold weather the heat differential between outside and inside can be pretty great, and especially if you let the house cool at night, there's a lot of adjusting going on in the rafters and joists, etc.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 06, 2016 1:51 AM GMT
    tazzari saidI've noted that too. But we have more, cheap wood,, and it goes up faster. And given the rate that houses get pulled own around here, and replaced with much bigger ones - why use a long-lived material?


    They have abundant cheap wood in South America too, so why don't they use wood there? Are you sure this isn't related to HR costs (which are far higher in US)?
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    Jan 06, 2016 4:07 AM GMT
    tazzari said
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    I've noted that too. But we have more, cheap wood,, and it goes up faster. And given the rate that houses get pulled own around here, and replaced with much bigger ones - why use a long-lived material?



    Termites.

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    Jan 06, 2016 4:09 AM GMT
    FRE0 said
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    But those materials generally don't fare so well as wood in case of an earthquake.

    Most of America is not in an earthquake zone. Wood is plentiful in America. Not so much in Germany.

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    Jan 06, 2016 4:10 AM GMT
    desertmuscl said
    FRE0 said
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    But those materials generally don't fare so well as wood in case of an earthquake.


    Much of America is not in an earthquake zone. Wood is plentiful there. Not so much in Germany.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 06, 2016 4:10 AM GMT
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    Those relatives should visit South Florida, where wood is not up to hurricane code. All houses are built minimally of concrete block, these days, sometimes with wood or a wood-look composite siding over it. A wood framed house in south Florida is as rare as one in Manhattan (and there are a few there).
  • ramblerman

    Posts: 47

    Jan 06, 2016 4:58 AM GMT
    Or if you have plaster and lath walls you will probably have some visible cracking too. I found if u use the paintable silicone/latex caulk in the plaster cracks it seams to quiet them down. Live in a 1920 2 story balloon frame and still have gravity heat. Going to get cold in Iowa this weekend, thanks for the reminder so I'm prepared for the pops.
  • ASHDOD

    Posts: 1057

    Jan 06, 2016 9:32 AM GMT
    NerdLifter saidOff-topic, but this is reminding me of how astonished a couple of relatives of mine were that Americans build their houses almost entirely out of wood. Where they come homes are entirely made of some combination of stone, brick, steel, and concrete.


    how can you live in wood houses? icon_surprised.gificon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 06, 2016 10:08 AM GMT
    are there any new cracks in the drywall that were not there last summer? Any drywall screw heads showing?

    If the floor seems soft, seems to creek as you walk on it you might think in terms of adjusting the steel columns in the basement. They have a big screw on its end that allows the height of the column to be adjusted. Spray the threads with WD40. Insert a piece of rebar in to the top and turn. Caution; only do a quarter or half turn and wait a few days for the results.