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DIY Gal
creaking roof driving new crazy!

My husband and I bought our beautiful home about a year ago and have racked our brains trying to fix this one thing: the LOUD roof creaking. I should mention the house was built by an architect in the 70's. The entire house has cathedral ceilings with no attic. (Sorry, can't get pics to post.) The ceiling is made of 6" think tongue and grove cedar (or spruce) planks. The main supports of the house are 6x6 posts that run every 12 feet. While this creaking goes on throughout the day, the worst is at night and throughout the night. It is so loud it wakes us up; it sounds like a cement truck fell on the house. We've had several estimates for a new roof, but no one has heard of this creaking problem which we would like to address before spending the $15,000 on a new 40 sq. roof. My thought is that the expansion with temperature may be the culprit, but what I really want to do it get rid of the noise. Any ideas?

ed21
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!

I would suspect the T&G boards are expanding and contracting and making the noise.
Are the T&G the inner finished surface of a rafter system that is filled with insulation with plywood and shingles outside? I assume you mean 6" wide planks.
I'm surprised the roof doesn't make a lot of noise when the sun is hitting it, but maybe the night time cooling is what gets it creaking.
Unfortunately the only solution I can think of is to replace the T&G or live with it.
I have a cathedral ceiling in one room with drywall on the inside and it creaks a bit now and then, but nothing like you're experiencing.

llmotoll
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!

notice any difference from summer to winter?

llmotoll
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!

at $15k your not replacing the deck. from what you explain, i'm thinking its in the structural roof deck.

what type of roof? tile? shingle? Slate?
Slope of roof?

Mastercarpentry
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!

I'd check with a timber framer regarding the unusual construction- those 6X6 posts could be the problem. Pinning the problem down exactly can be done by the use of monitor-able vibration detectors which will show where the 'noise' is the strongest- sound is just vibrations you hear. Hobbyist-grade stuff will do of you don't have a friendly seismologist willing to help you with this. Trial and error will work too but that may be even more costly. I too suspect the T&G may be part or all of the noise but I've never heard it as loud as "a cement truck falling on the house"- that's why I suspect the framing, specifically the joinery.

Just saw a 'funny' and took it to heart because it's so true: If you want a pretty building have an artist design it. If you want a strong building, have an engineer design it. If you want neither have an architect design it. Just because something can be done never means it should be done, a point architects often miss!

Phil

DIY Gal
Re: creaking roof driving me crazy!

It's my understanding the roof is made up of T&G, covered by foam board, covered by ply-wood, and yes, finally the shingle. I was hoping to find some way to fix the issue because replacing it would not only remove the aesthetics of the ceiling, but the entire, single floor 2500 sq ft house has the same ceiling.
Several neighbors have similar roofing systems and I simply can't understand why ours is the only one that makes the horrific cracking all night long.
Still searching...

DIY Gal
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!

Not really; time of day is the bigger factor. From sundown to about sun up is the worst. I sleep with pillows over my head and a white noise machine and it still wakes up both me and my husband.
I have noticed, however, that when there's snow on the roof, it doesn't creak at much, but there I suspect because the roof is being insulated by the same temp or that the weight is holding down any movement that the creaking is slightly less.
I also noticed that walking on the roof (muffled) is not nearly as loud as the everyday creaking which sounds much more internal.

DIY Gal
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!
Mastercarpentry wrote:

I'd check with a timber framer regarding the unusual construction- those 6X6 posts could be the problem. Pinning the problem down exactly can be done by the use of monitor-able vibration detectors which will show where the 'noise' is the strongest- sound is just vibrations you hear. Hobbyist-grade stuff will do of you don't have a friendly seismologist willing to help you with this. Trial and error will work too but that may be even more costly. I too suspect the T&G may be part or all of the noise but I've never heard it as loud as "a cement truck falling on the house"- that's why I suspect the framing, specifically the joinery.

Just saw a 'funny' and took it to heart because it's so true: If you want a pretty building have an artist design it. If you want a strong building, have an engineer design it. If you want neither have an architect design it. Just because something can be done never means it should be done, a point architects often miss!

Phil

The issue is that the sound is all over the 2500 sq ft house (single story) and often travels. It sometimes starts at one end and booms across the length of the house the way you often heard thunder crack across the sky. I'll check with the timber framer you mentioned. If the noise was isolated, though, it would make it easier (and make me change the location of the master bedroom!). Last resort, I'm moving to the basement!

DIY Gal
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!
llmotoll wrote:

at $15k your not replacing the deck. from what you explain, i'm thinking its in the structural roof deck.

what type of roof? tile? shingle? Slate?
Slope of roof?

Correct, we were looking at just replacing the shingle and any soft plywood underneath. Recently, my husband ran into a neighbor who, although he didn't have the booming, this home is very similar in style but 2 story. They replaced their roof a few months ago and added a product called COOL-VENT which is basically an added space between the foamboard insulation and the plywood roof. The technology uses about 3/4" wood blocks every square foot to allow airflow between the inside of the T&G roof and the outer shingled plywood. The problem is that the additional cost is about $30K on top of the $15K shingle job, and they don't even know if it will fix the problem. If it were a guarantee, I would seriously consider it, but that's a huge amount of money to "just see" if it helps the problem. It's cheaper to get a metal roof, which I did consider, but thought that would heat up even more than a shingle causing worse noise.

Anyone have experience with Cool-Vent?

ed21
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!

I've specified a cool vent type product over rigid insulation that was applied over structural panels(not wood plank).
It is a good product to provide ventilation over rigid insulation. If it was used on your house, soffit and ridge venting would have to be provided. Chances are the fascias and gutters would have to be modified because of the extra roof dimension.
I'm not so sure it would help your situation.
I would suspect the tongue and groove boards slipping kind of like fault line and popping when they do. I wonder if the boards are properly fastened. The fact that the noise stops with a snow load weighing it down makes me think that. Although it could be the lack of temperature differential you mentioned.
Another thought is the tongues are too deep for the grooves so there is a lot of binding hence the popping with any movement. There could be a lawsuit if the materials or workmanship are defective.
Consulting with an experienced timber framer may shed some light on the problem. Log house roofs are often built the way yours is, so they may have an idea too.

Angela
Re: creaking roof driving new crazy!

Hi DIY Gal - I know this is an old thread but I found it because we just moved into a new house and have tongue and groove cathedral ceilings and are having the same problem! It's driving me nuts! I'm wondering what, if any solutions you may have found to fix the noises?

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