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Re: New home noises - need some advice?

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Our house has done this ever since we built it and moved in (13 years). It
happens in the living room area where we have a cathedral ceiling. I've
inspected the connections, rafters, etc. I can get to and have not found
any visual damage after I hear these noises. It usually happens in the late
spring to early fall time period. The house we lived in prior to this one
did it when it was extremely cold and dry - not only the roof but the wall
studs. I'm pretty sure it is all due to temperature changes, and maybe
insufficient insulation!

From: Mark D. Baker <shake4bake(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: New home noises - need some advice?
Date: Thursday, May 03, 2001 5:35 PM

This won't solve your problem, but will relay a similar story.

I was conducting a framing construction observation in a custom home last
year, about 2:00 p.m. on a very hot day. Roof was framed with heavy ridge,
valley, hip beams. While inside the home, a loud (very loud) popping noise
occured coming from the roof area. My immediate reaction was uhoh,
something is wrong with my design.

The framer thought it was pretty funny that I had never experienced this
before since he sees (hears) it all the time. He convinced me it was due to
temperature changes and the resulting expansion/contraction of wood at
connection locations.

To date I have not been contacted by the owner about loud popping noises
after they moved in. I have been living happily ever after beleiving what
the framer said to be true.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Structuralist 
  To: SEAINT Listservice 
  Cc: aec-residential(--nospam--at) 
  Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 1:50 PM
  Subject: New home noises - need some advice?

  I received a call from a homes owner who is experiencing popping noises
fourteen months after moving into a new home. The home is part of a tract
development by Del Webb. The homes are one story, wood exterior, metal stud
interior walls, slab on grade with tile roofs. The property has been
confirmed to be appropriately compacted and on certified fill. The soil is
sand with no clays present.
  The owners are former contractors and understand normal settlement sounds
of a new home, but this, they claim, exceeds what was typical for a new
home. There is a hollow soft sound that they thought was coming from
ducting or near light switches. I asked about electrical problems, thinking
a short may be arcing to the metal studs and this may account for the
popping noise (but would normally produces some smell as well). There does
not seem to be a problem in this regard.
  I keep going back to the metal stud interior partitions as the possible
cause. Assuming settlement of the roof trusses which would place some load
on the interior non-bearing metal stud partitions, I have a feeling that
some of the softer sounds are the studs stressing and the pops may be some
of the screws backing off or popping against the gauge thickness of the
  I am in need of some confirmation from others who have design
conventional homes with metal stud interior walls. Does this sound like a
possible cause and effect? I believe that the walls act similar to a
speaker diaphragm. When the screw pops, the sound is radiated through the
gypsum wall panel like a speaker cone. I don't know what physical
examination I can perform to locate the cause of the problem other than to
confirm that differential settlement is not the issue. There is no damage -
just some loss of sleep by the homeowner.
  Any advice from those of you with metal stud experience would be greatly
  Dennis S. Wish, PE
  The Structuralist Administrator for:
  AEC-Residential Listservice
  (208) 361-5447 E-Fax
  ICQ #95561393

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