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Question DetailsAsked on 3/4/2014

I am hearing thud sounds from the celling. It is like contraction of the wood hoists. This sound is quite loud.

I live in NJ in a 30 year old French Tudor house. Roof is 18 years old. This is my first winter in this house. Sounds is quite loud sometimes and it makes me awake. This sounds is a kind of creaking as if wood is breaking apart. What should I do to get rid of this issue? Is this happening due to temperature variations?

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5 Answers


Wood moves with moisture and not temperature. That being said, with temperature shift comes moisture changes in most cases.

I would look into having the attic insulation, air sealing, and ventilation checked out.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


1) Really can't tell without hearing it ourselves, I suspect. Could be anything from solar heating causing expansion and subsequent cooling of metal roofing, thermal or moisture cycling of the joists, noise from an attic-mounted furnace air conditioner or water heater, creaking air ducts, a large animal taking up residence (like a racoon), or as extreme as overloading of a weakened roof or ice buildup from ventilation leaks causing ice/frost overloading of ceiling joists, rotted structural members, termite damaged wood, etc. IF you can get up on a chair against the ceiling where the noise is coming from, listen to see if you hear (maybe using a tube of rolled paper as a hearing cone) if you hear shredding and chewing noises - sometimes people describe termite or carpenter ants working at night (when it is quiet outside) as a wood tearing noise. Obviously, if you can get up there and look around yourself, if it is anything really serious you might see it.

2) You don't say if this is correlated with any particular time of day, outside temperature, sunny versus cloudy days, etc - would help a GREAT deal if you could identify that. If it occurs at a regular time of day, or only during or after a sunny period or something like tht, thenn less likely to be structural in nature than if random or during snow loaded periods.

3) If you want to respond back (using the Answer This Question button right below your question) with more info on your house age, roofing type, whether you have any utility equipment in the attic, we might be able to give you a better idea.

4) Otherwise, you have a couple of routes you could take - you could get a roofer to take a look in the attic and inspect the trusses, and the roof top and bottom, and try to pin it down, though unless the noise is frequent matching his visit up with the noises would be near impossible unless it occurs at a particular time of day. Cost probably about $100-200. The other alternative is to call a structural engineer to look at your house structure from top to bottom for problems, for probably about $250-350 or a visit, plus any cost needed to design a fix if there is a structural cause. The latter is more expensive but might be necessary anyway IF a roofer found a problem, and the engineer is not likely to try to sell you "repairs" which you might not need.

5) If as loud as you say, I would jump on it pretty quick in case it is serious, because normal thermal cycling, unless a noisy metal roof fastened down too tightly, would be a gentle creaking and occasional popping, but rarely enough to wake you or keep you awake - typically more the sort of thing like creaking air ducts or hissing radiators that your mind tunes out pretty quickly.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


House is 30 year old. Roof is 18 years old. Roof is asphalt shingle.

There is no snow now on the roof. noise was worst when there was lot of snow on the roof. This started happening in winter. It comes when it is cold and it is less during the day but more in the night. There is no electric equipment in the attic. Sound is more like of wood cracking. it feels like someone is walking on a creaking floor.

Answered 6 years ago by Kapil



I am guess you have a bit of a moisture issue in that home that you need to look into given the other post.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


From your followup, unless you have a LOT of rot in the attic causing a very slow progressive structural collapse, then my guess would be either a very unusual situation with tight assembly of the roof framework, which after 30 years you would certainly think would have worked itself out, or one of three things below:

1) leak in the roof, resulting in water in the sheathing, which then freezes at night, gradually tearing the sheathing plys apart. Could sound similar if under shingles and freezing and prying their nails out. Water migrates into the delaminated plys or underlayment during warmer day, refreezes and starts splitting again at night.

2) buildup of ice and frost in the attic, so resultant ice or melted water weight is causing ceiling to start coming down and pulling drywall nails - but usually this would be accompanied by at least some staining of the drywall, and commonly some joint cracking in the ceiling. Would be easy to assess by checking if attic insulation is frozen solid or saturated with water, heavily frost covered (inches, not just a thin layer), or very heavy (again, inch plus, not just a light coating) of frost on underside of roof.

3) a very remote third chance if the attic turns out to be OK, is a deep-seated structural problem causing the house to swayback or arch up, causing movement and possible truss or sheathing overloading in the attic, but that would be pretty rare.

After a personal inspection of the attic for obvious problems, especially if you can do it when making noise so you might be able to track where it is coming from, I would go with a roofer inspection or structural engineer - kind of a tossup which would be better in this case. I would personally go with the engineer, just because he would be more likely to be able to assess whatever the problem is regardless of whether roof related or not, rather than maybe go with roofer and then have to follow up with the engineer later, at added cost, if the roofer cannot find the problem. Try to schedule the visit during a time when the sound it most likely, and have a recording or two of the noise on your cellphone.

Heck - you can post pictures with your postins here - I don't see why you could not post an mgp or similar audio recording or video with sound of it here off a cell phone. we might be able to give a clue as to wht we think it is.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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