It is perfectly normal for homes to make some tolerable noises; unsettling noises in wind are a sign of an underlying issue.
Nonetheless, some of the noises – like that slight shudder you hear on the wall or roof when you drop something heavy – are a result of the normal aging process.
(Short Answer) Why Does Your Home Creak When the Wind Blows?
It’s hard to tell by the sheer sound of it. Besides the material of the roof (metal roofs, for example, are always noisy), it could be the age of the home or overhung tree branches sweeping the roof in wind. Most of the wind-related noises occur on the roof.
Here are the main causes of a noisy roof on a windy day:
1. Thermal Expansion/Contraction and Movements
Does your roof make more noise on a hot day than on a cold one?
If yes, then the noise is more likely to be a result of the normal heat-induced expansion and contraction.
Expansion and contraction of materials do occur in cold conditions as well – it will depend on the rate of expansion/contraction.
This rate can in turn be determined by the size of the change in temperatures.
Here is how it comes about: exposed building materials and individual; parts such as the meeting points between the screws/nails and the roofing material shrink or increase in size by the temperature changes.
And since different materials expand and contract at different rates, tiny gaps are created in areas where any two different materials meet.
These gaps enable different parts of the roof to move and rub against each other, producing the familiar creaking sounds in wind.
Meanwhile, just underneath the roof you probably have conditioned air (if you have the AC turned on, that is) — if it’s cold outside the home then the interior air is most likely to be warm.
As such, the exterior sections of the roof will contract under the cold while the interior section will expand over the heat.
These opposite movements may or may not produce noticeable sounds on their own but will certainly do in windy conditions because of the swaying effect of the wind.
2. Wind Pressure
One of the less-known roles of the roof, besides standing in the path of rain and hot sun, is to protect your home from the gusts of wind.
To withstand the force that comes with wind, the roof must feature a purpose-made base of construction that should flex slightly in wind. Otherwise, the roof will absorb the force and fall.
When the intended flexing occurs (when the wind blows), you may hear several popping noises lasting for a minute or so.
Gable roofs are prone to this phenomenon as they are designed in such a way that they create a flat wall-like barrier against the wind.
3. Loose Roof Components
The roof could be too old to stand up to wind in silence.
Lots of components of different materials go into the construction of the roof.
If they get loose because of age and similar factors, they are bound to make all sorts of noise on a windy day.
For instance, if your home has aluminum soffits that have been there for decades, chances are they have become loose in sections where they meet the wall.
As the wind blows, the movements between different parts produce noise, hence the clattering sounds you’ve been hearing.
Other components that could rattle even slight winds include fascia, old gutters, and chimney caps.
How Do You Prevent Wind Induced Roof Noises?
The solution depends on the affected part.
You may dampen the noise yourself the DIY way to offer a reprieve as you try figuring out a more lasting solution:
1. Tighten up the loose parts
The first and obvious solution to loose and noisy roofing parts is to tighten them up.
Most parts including the chimney and fascia will require a person to get on the roof and walk on it to determine the source before employing the appropriate solution.
This means you need to hire a roofing expert for the job.
Other parts such as the gutter can be easily tightened or fastened from a ladder because of their position. Loose or faulty soffits should be identified and replaced.
2. Replace improper fasteners
The use of improper fasteners is one of the top causes of premature aging in roofs, especially metal roofs.
Most of the time, the contractor has absolute control over the kind of fasteners used on the roof, meaning you only get to know of the mistake when the winds start to blow them out of position.
If you are certain that the wrong fasteners were used (with the help of a professional), get a perfect replacement and hire an expert to put them in place.
Insulation is the best answer to noises that are beyond your control such as those caused by the normal contraction/expansion of materials. With proper insulation, you get to kill two birds with one stone – you shield your rooms from the cold/heat and, secondly, dampen the noise emanating from the roofing materials.
One of the most practical methods is to install the insulation material directly over the roof.
Hire a roof insulation expert and let them provide advice regarding the best insulation material for your roof.
4. Roof frame bolstering
In case the noises are emanating from more than one place, or are caused by more than one issue, consider hiring an inspection professional to investigate the whole frame and suggest the ultimate solution.
The inspection guy may suggest adding diagonal bracing to bolster the roof frame.
As the wind blows, the extra bracing will transfer the load of the wind across a wider area on the frame, meaning fewer frame movements.
This solution works best if you anticipate extensive damages to the roof of your frame.
The Case With Noisy Windows
If you have been getting prolonged “tap tap tap” sounds from your windows on a windy day, there’s a likelihood the wind is flapping/pushing the gaskets between the sashes.
This can be a considerable annoyance when the windows are open but the problem may lie elsewhere if the noises persist even on closed windows.
Either way, try to have a tighter fit – thick weather-stripping works most of the time.
Are your windows prone to whistle?
That’s a common problem in improperly installed windows. Consult a window installation professional before taking any step. Oftentimes, simple caulking, tightening, or re-flashing gets rid of the problem.
Another reason windows may produce sounds is that they were installed in such a way that they create odd turbulence zones around them in wind.
There’s very little you can do in this case but a smoothening job on the pointed parts or turbulence formation points may provide a reprieve.
Beware! Correct diagnosis isn’t easy
Wind-related noises, whether they’re emanating from the roof or windows, aren’t the easiest thing to diagnose and solve permanently.
Don’t be surprised to pay a lot of money for a professional roofer to climb on the roof, identify the issue, and “solve” it only for the problem to resurface shortly thereafter.
The usual –sh sounds can be ignored unless they are loud enough to which point you can suspect a loose slate that could be wobbling around.
Also, just because you found the cause of the noise doesn’t mean it’s the only cause.
You might need to make adjustments to several parts of the home. It is recommended you involve the most experienced roof professional you could find.
Why does your home creak when the wind blows?
Well, a moaning roof is normally an indicator that a lot of expansion/contraction is some parts, but it could also mean a temperature difference or loose parts.