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Why Do Sliding Closet Doors Make Crackling and Popping Noises?

why do sliding closet doors crack

It is not uncommon for closets to produce noises whenever you slid their doors open or close.

It can be a once in a while thing, but some cases can be more prevalent enough to become a nuisance.

So, Why Do Sliding Closet Doors Make Crackling And Popping Noises?

It can be one of the many factors. If it only occurs in the summer when temperatures are high, the normal expansion/contraction process could be the culprit. Sometimes friction may have a hand in it. The best way to find out the root cause is to hire a professional closet installer to investigate the whole issue.

Four Reasons Why Closet Doors Can Become Noisy

Here are some of the causes, and how to eliminate them:

1. Normal Expansion and Contraction

All construction materials out there including wood, plastic, steel, glass, and aluminum used in your favorite brand products (and pretty any other construction material) will expand/contract with temperature changes.

Also, humidity fluctuations can contribute to the rate of expansion and contraction occurring in some materials.

When the material expands and contracts, the components of a structure moves past each other at different rates.

Your closet door is designed to fit in the frame of the closet but may expand under high temperatures to hold tightly on the frame.

When the holding force becomes great, it creates tension that will be let loose if you open the door or when any other opportunity presents itself like breaking the glass, hence the pop sound.

It is similar to stretching a rubber band, then releasing or cutting – it’ll snap.

2. Normal Friction

You know, the furniture, your home, doors, windows, and other structures are never one piece but several pieces attached to work as a unit.

This design alone sets a stage for creaking, squeaking, and crackling sounds, more so if the individual parts are subjected to movements.

A sliding door rubs against the groove on the closet. This movement will result in friction at the meeting point.

But that’s only if the surfaces are not smooth enough or aren’t oiled. So, if the surfaces are rough, vibrations will occur as you slide the door.

If the frequency is within the audible range, you are going to hear a prolonged grind, squeaking, or popping sounds depending on how rough the groove is.

3. What’s your closet made of?

As aforementioned, different materials come with different expansion/contraction rates at a certain temperature.

PVC trims, for example, can shrink/expand by about 1/4″ (that is a lot, isn’t it?) due to temperature fluctuations.

Wood, metal, and fiberglass will do so to some degree.

Your closet sliders will pop depending on how warm or cold your living space is, and also depending on the kind of material they’re made of.

If it is really cold outdoors, as your living space heats up, the closet door will absorb significant heat and then produce a sound, maybe a crackle or pop.

This is not limited to closet doors – it can occur in ducts and main doors as well provided a wide temperature fluctuation occurs.

If your closet door is made of fiberglass or PVC trim, these sounds may become more prevalent.

4. Is It More Prone at Night-Time?

You’ve probably noticed that this phenomenon is more prevalent in the evenings or nighttime after a hot day.

It’s the same thing – doors and furniture make cracking or popping noise more during the evening than daytime because the temperature is colder at night when compared to daytime.

If the difference is high enough i.e. the material has experienced a larger decline in temperature between midday and at some point in the evening, it will contract more.

The Case with Composite Doors

Composite doors are some of the worst when it comes to expansion/contraction under heat, and production of sounds.

Just like any other material used to make closet doors and lots of household furniture, composite materials crack and creak as a result of wide fluctuations in temperatures.


During the summer or when temperatures are high, composite doors will either expand and resist to shut and open or slide with hardship or with creaking and popping sounds.

But why are composite materials more prone to this problem?

It has something to do with the fact that they are made from more than one material.

Don’t get it twisted – some composite materials are designed to have specific attributes depending on task and area of application.

For example, the composite materials you’d find in a car or plane have been designed to suit the job, say, being lightweight or resisting breakage.

Furniture makers, however, rarely pay attention to such things as the effect of heat on the closet or strength of a stool.

So, you don’t expect a composite door (or any other sliding door made of any other material) to come ready to resist the effect of heat on its functions.

How Do You Stop Your Composite Doors to Producing Sounds?

While there aren’t many “home remedies” out there for this common annoyance, hiring a qualified professional or installer to come and assess your closet sounds like the most obvious thing to do.

Sometimes composite doors creak and crack because the frame and the door are too tight.

Therefore, hiring a professional to increase the size between the frame and the door may stop the noises.

What we’d recommend is contacting the original installer or any local installer.

They will instantly tell you the best approach or what you should be doing to in managing the noises in the meantime if you don’t have plans for immediate repair.

Related: Should You Sleep with Your Closet Doors Open or Closed?

Four More Closet Soundproofing Methods

Of course, there is no reason you cannot fully soundproof your closets with a wall-to-wall soundproof installation, especially if you can’t fix these sounds by other means.

If you don’t have the resources for an extensive renovation, the suggestions listed below will be the right avenue to take.

To know which of these ideas would work well for your closet, start by contacting your local soundproofing expert.

Some of the promotes their services on the web, you can start with Soundproofcow.com. They conduct an in-depth of the room and the closet before suggesting a solution.

Here are a few options you could choose from:

1. Installation of Studio Foam Bass Trap

Studio bass foam traps come in form of foam sound absorbers, shaped to absorb unwanted low-frequency sound.

They are commonplace in recording studios where a clean sound is a must-have.

The biggest advantage of these sound absorbers is that they can be dropped almost anywhere in your room, so no complicated rearrangement is necessary.

If your closet doors tend to be noisier in the summer than any other time, there’s no point in making a major renovation.

Therefore, this option offers the best solution as you can install them in the summer and get rid of them when your closet becomes less bothersome in the winter.


2. Sealing the cracks

Cracks can worsen production in closets.

If yours has gaps and cracks or gaps, cover them with weather-stripping or an acoustic sealant.

Ensure it is an approved acoustic sealant, because a standard sealant may shrink and crack, permitting the sound through.


3. Carpet the floor

Noises can easily bounce off your hard floor and travel around, creating unwanted frequency and interference.

A carpeted floor can catch these unwanted sounds before they become a problem.

Alternatively, you can install a rug close to the closet – they work very much the same way as carpets.


4. Oiling and/or greasing

Oiling works best in situations that involve friction.

If the professional establishes that the source of noise in your sliding closet door is friction between the moving parts, the likeliest solution suggestion you could get is greasing and/or oiling.

In a nutshell

The cause of noises in your closet door can be one of the several often reported culprits.

A sliding door rubs against the groove on the closet.

This movement will result in friction at the meeting point.

But that’s only if the surfaces are not smooth enough or aren’t oiled.

So, if the surfaces are rough, vibrations will occur as you slide the door.

If the frequency is within the audible range, you are going to hear a prolonged grind, squeaking, or popping sounds depending on how rough the groove is.

When the material expands and contracts, the components of a structure moves past each other at different rates.

Your closet door is designed to fit in the frame of the closet but may expand under high temperatures to hold tightly on the frame.

When the holding force becomes great, it creates tension that will be let loose if you open the door or when any other opportunity presents itself like breaking the glass, hence the pop sound.

If you don’t have the resources for an extensive renovation, you can choose to install soundproofing materials.

If your closet doors tend to be noisier in the summer than any other time, there’s no point in making a major renovation, in which case studio foam bass trap would be perfect for the job.