Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Decks, Patios, & Porches>New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy
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cajomano
New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

We just had our deck rebuilt, changing the warped wood for grooved composite boards held together by hidden Trex fasteners. The new deck makes a howling sound when the wind blows. We ruled out the deck balusters and railing, so we know it is something to do with the decking. Our builder is as stumped as are we. Any ideas on how to get to the root of the problem and fix it?

dj1
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

Your deck is ready to take off...just kidding.

What is the wind velocity? Are you sure the sound is coming from the deck? Is everything on the deck tight and secure?

Can you upload pics? (use a host like photobucket and then give us the link).

Mastercarpentry
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

Did you change the spacing between the deck boards when they were replaced? Air flowing through a slot will resonate and with composites being more flexible they might begin to resonate in harmony making the problem worse. Cover the deck floor with something to stop the airflow- plywood, heavy rugs, whatever. If the noise stops you've certainly located the problem. Now remove some covering until it starts howling again; by the process of elimination you might find only one ares causes all of this. The first solution I'd try is stapling nylon screening under the deck; this should reduce or break up the airflow enough to effect at least some change. Put it directly against the deck boards if stapling it to the joist bottoms doesn't work. If that's not enough you may have to relay the decking with a wider or narrower spacing- 1/4" difference would be where I'd start. If you've still got problems then seal in the wind-exposed edges of the deck on at least one aside (plywood will work temporarily for testing purposes). Once you alter the airflow enough the noise should cease and a better permanent alternative to the temporary measures found. Another possible solution might be to re-orient the deck boards although that will mean turning the joists with the decking. Can't say I've seen or heard of this before at this intensity but I've heard occasional moans from decks in really high winds (40+ mph). And blame it on Bernouli!

Phil

jmac7701
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

Did anyone find a solution to this problem? Just completed 2000sq ft deck of trex with their fasteners and the deck is howling in the wind. The deck is 12-25ft off the ground as we live on a hill. This is driving us insane!!

ed21
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy
jmac7701 wrote:

Did anyone find a solution to this problem? Just completed 2000sq ft deck of trex with their fasteners and the deck is howling in the wind. The deck is 12-25ft off the ground as we live on a hill. This is driving us insane!!

Phil's suggestion before your question seems on target. I woulds suspect the deck boards are setting up a vibration like a whistle.

DaleS
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

I'm an architect in San Francisco and just recently a few months had a deck installed using Trek Transcend with universal hidden fasteners and experiencing the houling of the Zamfir pan flute concert that can last for days without a break. The deck is elevated, up a good 3 stories with an open deck below and enclosed habital space at the lowest level. For months I spent hours pulling my hair out trying to figure out where the noise was coming from. My immediate sense was the glass railing. The railing is mounted with the use of an aluminum shoe, bolted on the fascia with spaces to allow for drainage. Test one- filled the gap between the glass support shoe with foam baker rod, resulted in no affect. Placed pipe insulation inserts in the gaps between the glass panels, resulted in no affect. The test that worked will surprise you as it did me- covered the entire floor of the deck with protection board and gorilla taped it in place. This 100% eliminated the noise. Now I know the source is the wind reacting with the edge groves on the composite boards.

Contacted the manufacturer to see if they had heard of this and if they have a solution. This is the response:
"This phenomenon is caused by the angle of the wind coupled with the angle of the house/deck. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to remedy this." I have also clarified with them that if I had used solid edged material this would have not occurred.

The solutions are not great that I'm coming up with so far:
1. Change the direction of the decking, but this would also require changing all the framing.
2. Add wall to wall outdoor carpet- not a favorable choice.
3. Add a drainage system that mounts underneath. These are metal or plastic but a costly direction and I'd expect this could even make matters worse as the winds get extremely strong here.
4. Pull the decking and replace with surface mounted solid edge material.
5. Stuff 3/8" backer rod between the deck boards. Or perhaps 3/8" black rope. I'm thinking the rope may allow the water to still run through.

I have managed to get a field rep to come and look at the situation. But the more I have searched, read, and tested things on my own and it's looking like I'm taking the bullet on this and will be paying for a new deck surface that has been in use for less than 3 months. It's the groove edge without any doubt. Anyone planing on adding a deck or specifying material I'd be very careful using composite with grooved edges.

Fencepost
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

It would probably void your warranty and be horribly labor-intensive, but if you use a straight-cutting router bit to remove sections of the bottom lip of the boards between fasteners, it will eliminate the edge groove which is the most probable cause of the howling. Or maybe you could glue some foam rod into the grooves (of course, you need to leave space between the boards for proper drainage).

It seems that the grooves are the cause, so any solution would have to eliminate or break up the grooves.

DeckBuilder111
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

Surprised that an architect would make assumptions without evidence. Nothing in your research suggested that it was the grooved edge that was making the sound. And in fact, one of my recent projects, where we faced-screwed square-edge Trex Transcend decking on an elevated structure, is exhibiting the howling sound that you have described.
I signed on here to see if anyone had come up with any solutions. I am going to try an exterior fabric stapled to the structure bottom. Would welcome other options.

windguy
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

DeckBuilder - let me/us know how it goes. We're in coastal OR. The house is 3 yo TREX Transcend tongue and groove with (worthless) Trex T&G clips. Insane howling - two pure tones that shift from one to the other - I'm guessing about 1.75 khz to 2 khz. I have two orientations of Trex. SW corner of deck is 22 feet from ground level, NE corner is 20.. ish. This section of deck runs south to north. Portion from SW corner then runs to the east. Level below that portion of deck starts at 22 feet below finished floor level and quickly rises to 8. Storm winds are from the South. So, we get a two toned howl, ooooooOOOOOOOoooooooooOOOOOOOO depending on direction of "turb". Indeed, we know we have negative shear winds, e.g. upward angle. We're two miles from the shoreline at 950 ft ASL, unobstructed view all the way to the water. Steep angle forces (Bernoulli) wind upward. We've seen rain with a vertical component.

I always thought it was my eaves/gutters, as I can feel them vibrate. Contractor building new home next door - ish mentioned the discovered it was decking on a project they just did. Took them forever to find it.

Sorry about long winded response, but details matter. I'd greatly appreciate hearing about your mesh/screen results.

thanks in advance

ed21
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

It seems like trex with hidden fasteners is the common denominator. My guess is the boards are just the right distance apart to start a whistle. Could be the hidden fasteners help this too. Maybe even the Trex is just the right consistency, stiffness or finish to set up the sound.
I don't see any solution other than replacing. A covering or caulking(not from a tube, but like cotton rope used between wooden boat planks or backer rod) might verify the location of the sound. I think DaleS made some reasonable assumptions which I basically restated.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: New deck makes a howling sound when it's windy

You can alter the wind under the deck with wire mesh stapled to the underside, small enough to buffer the wind, large enough to let stuff fall out

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