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Old 01-28-2009, 05:32 PM   #1
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


I did an add-a-level to a cape cod. Prior was 3/4 dormer, i raised roof and expanded to full dormer so house looks like colonial now. almost 3 years later almost every day i hear loud creaks and pops in what has to be wood (of the new addition only). It happens more in the winter time while extremely dry. Should a house still be "settling" this much 3 years later? there are a couple of hairline cracks in sheetrock and i had to shave a door down 2 years later that lost square.

There is no signs of stress on the first floor so i don't think its a foundation issue. I do know for a fact that the wood during construction was very wet because i am plagued with nail pops as the wook shrunk.

What i'm paranoid about is can wood shrink so much that the house is actually "moving" too much now, causing all those pops and creaks? Maybe i'm crazy. Definitely happens more in winter (NJ) and during heavy winds especiallly, but it also happens on a normal day/night with no wind.

its starting to drive me crazy and get worse as the years go by.

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Old 01-28-2009, 06:50 PM   #2
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


When you say you did the add on does that mean you personally or did you hire it out? Some settling and expansion contraction noise is normal but to the extent you are describing it does not sound normal and I would do some investigating into whether the correct lumber components were used (i.e. proper joist/beam sizes) and were they correctly put together.

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Old 01-29-2009, 07:55 AM   #3
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


used a contractor that has done dozens of similar houses in the neighborhood and all inspections were completed.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:07 AM   #4
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


Wood definately shrinks in the wintertime because the humidity is so low outdoors and inside, but it swells back up as the humidity increases in the spring. That can lead to small amounts of movement, but this sounds more extreme. Since you've got doors going out of square and cracks in the sheetrock I doubt that lumber shrinkage would be the main culprit.

New homes and additions can settle due to loose joints here and there, but probably not for three years.

Does the addition have a proper frost footing? I'm wondering if frost heave could be causing this.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:43 AM   #5
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


frost footing? you mean by the foundation? this was an add-a-level addition. The footprint of the house is the same original. This was an all second level renovation and my first floor is showing no signs of stress, no cracks, no sticky doors etc. I truly believe it is only a second floor and attic addition situation. For example.. i'll be walking down the 2nd floor hallway and when the floor board creaks a bit (normal) it might trigger a "POP" sound of wood in the bathroom somewhere (abnormal).
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:31 AM   #6
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


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frost footing? you mean by the foundation? this was an add-a-level addition. The footprint of the house is the same original. This was an all second level renovation and my first floor is showing no signs of stress, no cracks, no sticky doors etc. I truly believe it is only a second floor and attic addition situation. For example.. i'll be walking down the 2nd floor hallway and when the floor board creaks a bit (normal) it might trigger a "POP" sound of wood in the bathroom somewhere (abnormal).
Don't mind him he's just like your local inspector was......needs to get his nose out of the books might miss the big picture stuck in the details.....
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:03 AM   #7
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


Do you know if the contractor used engineered lumber (TGI,LVL etc.) for joists, beams or was it nominal lumber?
I once started having call backs on alot of homes we were siding in a new subdivision. The aluminum siding was coming unlocked right at the floor rim joist on every call back. It turned out that the floor and rim joist material which was nominal 2X12 fir was green when delivered and several weeks after framing the lumber was warping , shrinking which was stretching and twisting the siding out of lock.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:24 PM   #8
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


the only engineered beam is the top ridge/peak beam. everything else is Dug Fir. I just don't know enough about framing to walk around up in the attic to see if stuff is warped or, heaven forbid, pulling apart. I dunno, my wife tells me i'm too paranoid and too "hands on" with other people's work.

clearly i would believe that some stuff warped because of the door out of square and a couple (call it 3) of hairline sheetrock cracks. (one over the door, one where two walls meet in the corner, and one where a wall meets the ceiling). And when i say a crack i mean like a 6 inch long hairline crack, not like a FISSURE where walls are collapsing.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:15 PM   #9
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


The sheet rock cracks are likely the result of a poor compound job! I wonder if the original ceiling joists were built up to support the new floor? The floor joists, depending on the span, should be at least 2X8's. And may even require 2X10's. If you could post floor plans, with dimensions, a better opinion could be made! Nothing fancy, just a single line sketch would work!
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:31 PM   #10
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


i can't remember what the original 1st floor ceiling joists are but the 1st floor floor joists are 8 inchers (original) so i bet the ceiling joists must be 8 also (or larger). the length of house in direction of joists is about 23 feet and no single span is longer than 12 feet. its a cape cod floorplan.

i had him rip out the original 2nd floor subfloor and put new Ply down instead of just laying over the old because the old REALLY creaked. I didnt insist he glue it down though (my bad) because the new floors creak also.

i know you guys are all pointing down the path of possible inferior foundation/ceiling issues but the noises sound more in the attic and interior walls. I really believe my foundation and the 1st floor ceiling structure is sound. i'm worried more about warping twisting of attic joists or 2nd floor ceiling joists if the wood shrank that much.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:27 PM   #11
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


- Is the sound coming from anywhere in particular (more often in one area or another??
- Does it happen more/less during the day/night? When the heat is on?

I stayed in a house a few summers ago that popped for an hour or two everyday when the sun warmed it up. It was loud! Like gun shots. I got used to it; but it scared the BEJSUS out of my dog.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:59 PM   #12
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


i would say more at night than day, but maybe i just only notice at night because i'm in bed and its quiet. And yes 75% of the pops are confined to one area (bathroom vacinity) the other 25% would be in attic area.

And yes i do think the noise comes and goes as the heat is on. I would almost liken it to popping as the house warms up, and then popping as the house cools down at night.

But so the issue is, is there a point where this expansion contraction means there are issues?
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:13 PM   #13
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loud popping/creaking sounds on addition 3 years later.


You mentioned earlier that your contractor did several similar jobs in your neighborhood. It might be worth your time to go and talk to some of those neighbors and see if any one else is having similar or even other non related issues. It might give you some insight into the quality of work your contractor does overall. By the way you shouldnt have had to insist on the floor sheathing being glued down. That is standard practice and should have been done. There may have been other corners cut that are the cause of your problem.

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