Roof popping on the increase


Old 03-06-14, 07:54 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Roof popping on the increase

We live in upper Vermont, in a house that was built somewhere between 1815 and 1850 (depending on which records you look at.) It's a 2 story brick farmhouse with double wythe walls and interior timber framing, which is inset into the first wythe of brick at the exterior wall. The roof is about 6:12 slope, so when we moved in the attic was finished with occupiable rooms and a bathroom.

The house had a sad history, and sat empty for about 20 years - no windows, brick collapsed on the back, etc. About 30 years ago a previous owner renovated the house, and put on lapped metal roofing.

About 6 years ago we gutted the attic to reinsulate it with closed-cell spray-foam insulation, which was applied directly to the underside of the roof decking and between the framing members. The attic hasn't been occupied since.

Here's the issue - over the past four days, we're hearing significant popping in the attic at night. I know this is most likely thermal expansion and contraction noise, as it's been about 10 -20 above zero during the day, and as low as -10 at night. The thing I can't figure out is why, after 13 years of living in the house, with no appreciable noises before either before or after insulating the roof, it's just starting now. The night it started it was scaring our 13 year old (who was in his second floor bedroom) pretty good. I went and stood in the attic for several minutes, and could hear "mild to moderate" noises every few minutes - locations varied. Then one pop just over my head was loud enough to startle me - for as loud as it was I would expect to find the foam delaminated from the framing, or the framing split. Again, it's kind of freaking me out that after 13 years of no noticeable noise, all this is starting in the past four days.

I see no obvious signs of deterioration in the brick walls or roofing. Being two stories up and winter with snow on the ground I can't inspect the outside of the roof close enough to see if screws are being ejected.

We've had a very cold winter up here with prolonged periods of negative nighttime temps due to the arctic blasts that have come through like trains...could the increased noise be a result of the prolonged cold "settling in" to the roof? We've had MUCH colder periods - even this winter - with temps as low as -26, with no noticeable noise; but this winter we've had less severe temps, but for more prolonged periods of time.

The large bang over my head occurred near framing close to the plumbing vent through roof. I guess if a leak has occurred there moisture could be getting under the metal and freezing...? (we hope to replace the roof this summer - it has some other issues as well.)

Any ideas why it's happening just now?
Sponsored Links
Old 03-06-14, 06:47 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My guess is that a house built at that time didn't include soffits. As far as I know, the attic ceiling shouldn't be insulated without them.
Old 03-06-14, 07:59 PM
bigfred's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 418
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My guess is that the loud sound was caused by a roof deck board contracting so much from the cold that pulled loose from the nails holding it to the rafter; and the lesser sounds are the result again of the deck contracting.
Old 03-11-14, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 20
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts

It could be so many things, that you are going to have a time finding it. One thing, if the roof is the metal shingles I think you are referring to, they usually are nailed or screwed on. Even if they are screwed, or even if the nails are ring-shank nails, that type of cold weather can expand the metal and contract it so much, it will loosen the nail or screw. Because of this, the metal will then be loose and make the pop.

That would be a very difficult fix because of how many nails and screws would be in the shingles. It would be almost impossible to find it. That is what is bad about the metal shingles, they will expand and contract a lot when it is that cold.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: