Help My Roof is Popping

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 13 seconds

I Hear Popping

I get some intriguing questions from time to time. I could not pass this one up. A popping roof means it is not just a weird occasional issue, it actually wakes her up. This concern is that the house is in some danger of collapsing. Although possible it is unlikely even from a layman’s perspective. If it is real fear then by golly it was my responsibility to investigate and that is exactly what I did.

Catastrophizing Is A Thing

Fear of things makes them worse. Did you hear that? Another pop. Let’s face it everything gets worse when you are focused on it. The same principle applies to hardwood floors. Some can ignore it and enjoy the sound, it makes others nuts. We make an attempt to mitigate the sound on roofs and floors by adding an underlayment between the woods.

What Can Causes Attic Popping?

  1. Thermal expansion and contraction: With any type of roof construction technique, there is wood expanding and contracting with the change in temperature. This can cause the wood to move against each other and this creates sound. Proper connections using screws or nails that are sunk in all the way should alleviate most of this.
  2. Animals and critters: As unsettling as it seems, there are critters that can get into your attic or more likely, on your roof and make popping and scratching sounds. I will let your imagination run wild here.
  3. Wind-Driven: Popping from wind-driven changes is frightening. Your roof is likened to an airplane wing and has a propensity to lift. A noisy roof with high winds is a good reason for an inspection to determine if the roof diaphragm is connected to the walls correctly.
  4. Broken parts: Broken trusses happen. The wood used is graded structural select which is the top of the line. I have had trussed seriously damaged during delivery. The good news is there are prescriptive repairs that will fix them. Ideally, they are fixed prior to installation. Occasionally a tree or aircraft into the roof accidents need further attention.
  5. Moisture issues: This is mostly a stick-built issue because trusses use kilned dried lumber. The moisture content can cause wood to shrink or swell. Either way causes movement, and sound is possible.
  6. Settling: Foundations settle sometimes. Typically this is a short-lived issue or over eons. If something significant is moving have a structural engineer come check it out. I have seen the spectrum from. Naw, no big deal, to Holy Shit move out now!
  7. Fire Damage: Trusses damaged by fire need a structural engineer to evaluate them for structural integrity and a prescriptive repair. Not sure this fits into popping but worth a brief mention.
  8. Faulty Workmanship: I did not expect to see this one but I did. Somebody used staples2″ – 1/2″ crown to be exact. To but scraps together for additional backing or something. They were butted together with gaps. This is just ridiculous and the exact area the noise was emanating from.

What Can Be Done To Stop It?

I suggested a splint that spans the gaps and glue and screws them to gether creating an immovable joint. Working in the attic is always an adventure, almost as fun working in a crawl space but without the heat.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about fixing stuff, click here to email me directly, or call 208-639-1808

I do these things during non-Levco time to be sure it doesn’t interfere with the Remodeling business. Repairing things and understanding homes is just another passion of mine.

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Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

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