Ohio ó Chances are things in your house have been
going pop in the night.
creak. Or groan.
sinister, assures Elwin Robison, a professor in Kent
State Universityís College of Architecture and
the temperature plummets outside, so does the relative
humidity in our homes as we crank up the heat. That
dryness causes the wood parts of a homeís structure to
shrink and scrape against one another, especially if
those parts are under pressure ó say, from the weight
of snow on the roof, Robison said.
the movement is sudden, causing a popping sound.
Sometimes itís slower, causing those creepy creaks and
said the culprit is often rafters moving against the top
plate in the attic, with the plywood sheathing on the
roof serving as a sounding board to project the noise.
But other wood can be to blame, he said, even an outdoor
deck thatís subject to force from the weight of
furniture or a heavy barbecue grill.
problem is often more noticeable in older homes, said
Joseph Ferut Jr., a colleague of Robisonís in the
architecture college. Newer homes are more thermally
isolated from the outdoors, he said, and improvements in
building science reduce the sudden movements.
they might wake you, Robison said, strange noises
shouldnít cause you to lose sleep worrying about whatís
happening to your house.
are just always moving," he said. When these
extreme contractions happen, "they withstand it