We occasionally get questions from some of our roofing clients about some strange noises they hear coming from their roofs. People are most likely to notice some creaking and cracking noises in their roofs or attics at night, likely because that’s when they’re most likely to be upstairs without any other noise going on around them in the home. But why do roofs make cracking noises in Central Florida?
The good news is that you almost certainly have nothing to worry about—it’s completely normal for attics to make creaking and cracking sounds that can sometimes actually grow to be quite loud. While you might think it’s a sign that the roof has somehow broken or become damaged, or even that the roof is going to collapse, what you’re actually hearing is an entirely normal phenomenon.
The story behind the sounds
So, if the sound you’re hearing isn’t your roof preparing to cave in, then what exactly is causing those noises that sound like something out of a 1980s horror film?
Usually it’s the simple movement of the roof timbers responding to changes in air temperature. Moisture can condense on some of the roof sheathing, and as the air temperature gets hotter or colder, it can cause some of the timbers to expand or contract, which causes the creaking sound you hear. The reason you hear it especially at night time is because the roof space cools down at night while the sun is down, so the creaking is the wood adjusting to the new air temperatures. The wood contracts while the space gets cooler.
There are some kinds of ventilation systems you can install that will prevent a little bit of the creaking you hear by balancing the temperature in the attic. This can also help you to cut down on your air conditioning bills during the summer, because you’re able to keep that attic temperature better regulated.
Most homes do have a ventilation system of some sort in the attic, but it might not necessarily be sufficient for the size of your house. Many of these vents are passive because they’re operated by the air around them. Examples include grille vents, as well as flat and turbine vents. Vents operated by electricity, meanwhile, are referred to as “active ventilation” units, and include ceiling fans and exhaust fans.
A good ventilation system will help you extend the life of your roof, make your home much more comfortable and prevent issues with mold and fungi, as it’s able to prevent a lot of the buildup of humidity and moisture that occurs with frequent heating and cooling of the space, particularly when there’s poor ventilation. However, even a great ventilation system probably won’t entirely rid you of the creaking and cracking sounds you might hear at nighttime.
Ultimately, while it’s always a good idea to improve your attic and roof ventilation, you shouldn’t worry too much if your Central Florida roof is making a cracking noise. That’s just something that comes with having timbers holding up your roof.
For more information about why roofs make cracking noises, contact Winter Springs Roofing & Repair today.