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Old 03-10-2008, 11:26 AM   #1
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Structure problem


I've been living in my 15yr old house for 3 years. The odd time when there's a temperature change we get a loud bang in the house. It's extreamly intense and you can actually feel it when your in the basement. It seems to be getting worse every year and happening more frequently. My basement is finished so I can't see the main beam or the foundation wall but I'm getting really conserned. What could this be?? Should I start ripping down drywall? I've got 1 beam across the house sitting on the foundation and 2 jack posts. I think there's a problem there somewhere and maybe it's not sitting down properly. There are no cracks in the drywall anywhere in the house but I am seeing drywall screw marks in the basement. 1 door upstaris really shifts between summer and winter as well.

BTW. The plaster in my living room hasn't fallen quite yet but I'm sure it will if this continues. I might get the building inspector over too.

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Old 03-10-2008, 05:47 PM   #2
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Structure problem


A 15 year old house would not likely have plaster walls. Maybe plaster veneer walls, but even that is statistically unlikely. Any stress on veneer plaster or drywall will show up as cracks.
Do you see any evidence of movement in structure? With the increased frequency, have you been able to narrow down the location of the banging? Is it related to snow load on the house? What difference in temperature are you referring to? 10 degrees? 20 degrees?
Screw heads sticking out could just be as a result of the framing material drying out. All the walls in a basement are not load bearing so they wouldn't really show too much.
What do you mean by, "I've got 1 beam across the house sitting on the foundation and 2 jack posts. I think there's a problem there somewhere and maybe it's not sitting down properly."?
Have you looked up in the attic at the roof structure?
Ron

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Old 03-11-2008, 11:27 AM   #3
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home that could cause this ' bang ' would be steel,,, i'd be checking the beam ( probably lengthwise w/2 adjustaposts or lally columns ? )

is there, by any chance, a manufactur'd steel beam originally 2 parts now 1 ?,,, could also be the lally's,,, imo, its exp/contr movement related to temp based on your inf,,, something's not compatible - tap on the lally's - should be conc fill'd for fire protection,,, if dull thud, ok - sharp ring, someone forgot bldg inspector MIGHT be knowledgeable but i'd call a structural pe,,, is that beam sitting in beam pockets in conc walls ? ? ?

( ' lally column ' is an architectural term for a long, round, steel pipe [ 4, 5, or 6" ] oriented vertically on separate fndns [ not the bsmt floor ] to support beams stretching long spans. Lally column(s) is/are typically placed under beams to support the structure's weight reducing the tendency of the structure to deflect.

let us know what happens - this is interesting
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:44 PM   #4
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Structure problem


Thanks for the responses guys... I'm not sure if the columns are conc filled because they are enclosed with drywall. The ceiling is done as well so I can't really find much out. As for temp changes... its not something I've been monitoring. It seems to happen more in the winter months at night. I have looked around in the attic but cant find anything unusual. Theres no signs of movement anywhere in the house other that 1 door on the 2nd level. I think I might take out a piece of drywall to get a look at the beam. I've tried jumping on the floor above it and cant replicate the same sound either.
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:10 AM   #5
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Structure problem


What kind of heating system do you have? An expanding/contracting heat pipe can make some god-awful noise if it's bound up someplace.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:51 AM   #6
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I have a mid eficiency furnace and the main duct is running along side of the beam in the basement. If there is a problem with the beam, it's probably echoing through that duct and sounding a lot louder.
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:12 AM   #7
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If it's temperature related expansion/contraction I think it's less likely to be something in the center of your house (like the beam) because the temperature in the center of your house doesn't really change that much over the seasons. Can you tell if the noise is coming from the basement for sure? I would think it is more likely to involve roof trusses that are exposed to much greater temperature swings but you should be able to tell the general source of the noise.

It might also be wind related. If a strong prevailing wind changes direction the whole house can lean ever so slightly in a different direction.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:15 AM   #8
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Well, it went off again last night. Scared the crap out of everyone. Seems to be more intence at the one end of the basement around the beam but its really hard to tell because its so loud. It sounds exactly like a fridge or something really heavy fell on the main floor. I have a drop cieling in the basement but where the beam and duct work is, its drywalled so I cant see anything. I put my hand over the top of the beam and its got a piece of 3/4" plywood about 3' wide on top of the beam, and the floor joists are sitting on top of that.
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:41 AM   #9
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did you happen to take note of the temps - outside vs inside ? - furnace started ? - blower kick'd on ?
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:03 AM   #10
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Furnace was running. Temp outside was approx -1C, no wind. Inside temp stays at a constant 22C. And this happened around 7:30pm. This time I actualy heard 2 bangs. The first was really loud and the second happend maybe 3sec after was a little less quite both from the same area and same type of sound like mentioned in my previous post.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:46 AM   #11
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i'm leaning towards heat duct expansion now rather'n steel beam,,, is the bsmt heated ? ? ?
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:12 AM   #12
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Really? Ya, the basement is heated and there are 2 vents coming off of the main in a 't' pattern in the area I think the sound is coming from. This sound doesn’t have that "tin" type of bang though. It’s more of a deep rumble type as if something fell on the main floor. Last night it was loud enough to make the basement window shake, and you can hear the walls! It's an unbelievable sound I wish I could get it on tape.
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Old 03-13-2008, 02:36 PM   #13
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the the 1st floor ? ? ?,,, could close the vest & see what happens tonite,,, you don't happen to've inherited ' spirits ', have you ? ? ?
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:31 PM   #14
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LOL... closing the vents won't make any difference because they're small 4" truncating from the main box type supply. I'd like to turn off the heat completely and see what happens but it will get too cold in the house. What if I set a jack up under the beam and relieve a little pressure on the foundation wall and see what happends? I could then do the same at the jack post. And when I say a little I mean jacking it up 1/8". If I leaave it Jacked up for a few days and don't hear anyting then I'll be a little colser on where the problem lies.
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:49 PM   #15
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I just thought of something... last year we had trouble with the furnace... it's a mid eff. and the electronic ignitor wasn't lighting the gas. Eventually the furnace would stop injecting gas and the furnace would stay off. Maybe now it's spewing gas into the chimeny, haveing trouble lighting, and once it finally does... BANG!! I'm going to take a close look at this thing and see if I can find anything out. Like I said before too... it's always in the winter.

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