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#33894 - 08/10/16 01:29 PM frame and SIPs noises
barnz Offline
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Registered: 08/09/16
Posts: 4
Loc: ny
My client has sip panels on their timberframe house, installed in 2006.
The panels have continued to make noise since then, because there are no visible cracks or leaks, I think it is probably expansion movement sounds.
Do you have a recommended method to reduce this movement or the noise?

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#33895 - 08/10/16 02:15 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Jay White Cloud Offline
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Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 480
Loc: Vermont
I stopped using SIP systems almost 3 decades ago...Just not a really good idea in my view...Quick perhaps, but definitely not "best practice," for enclosing and insulating timber frames...Transent architecture at best when done as a modular also...

That entire industry in my view is a bit of a "shell game"...(sorry that is the way I see it.) I should also validate that I have been both a "home inspector" and a state supervisor in Wildlife and Pest control (which is another "racket industry" with as much "congaming" as actual service)...I would say about 30% to 40% with sips and "noise" it is some type of "wee beasty" digging through the stuff...Squirrels (aka "Sciurids" of the Gray, Red, Flying variety) and other rodents LOVE the stuff and borrow through it with ease once inside a wall...and many Hynaptra (aka Ant species) too love to nest in it...!!!

Good Luck!!
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#33897 - 08/10/16 07:42 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Roger Nair Offline
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Registered: 10/20/99
Posts: 449
Loc: Bakerton, WV, USA
Well Barnz, it would be helpful if you could describe the evident movement and location, the nature of the sounds and what you know about the sips and how they are fastened.

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#33898 - 08/10/16 11:11 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Jay White Cloud Offline
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Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 480
Loc: Vermont
If it not critters...Roger's correct...in finding and diagnosing the root cause...What is causing the "movement"...What type of foam (i.e. urethan, or other?)...What is the fastener type and pattern of placement on the frame...Good luck and please share the outcome...?
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#33900 - 08/11/16 06:54 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
barnz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/09/16
Posts: 4
Loc: ny
Thanks for your quick replies. I have never heard the noise. The owners say they are sharp cracking sounds. I have photo'd and noted the timber checking over the years, and the timbers checks are not getting bigger, and I don't notice any new ones.
panels were 4" wall, 6.5" roof, polyurethane & OSB. Big panels, 8'x16'-21'
The owners did say they thought there were a lot of panel screws left over when the job was finished.

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#33901 - 08/11/16 07:31 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Hylandwoodcraft Offline
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Registered: 03/23/11
Posts: 141
Loc: Western NY
Sharp cracking sounds more like checks opening up in the timbers than anything, but the timbers are certainly done drying by now and it sounds like you have eliminated that option. Does this tend to happen under high wind conditions or a similar consistent variable? Does it seem to be localized on any particular side of the building? It would seem that if the panels were rubbing or flexing it would be more of a creak or groan.
As a random thought, because the polyurethane is sprayed into the panel could it have shrinkage issues and be separating from the facing in spots? Sort of a "foam checking". I know that sometimes an improper mix can cause it to happen in stud framed spray foamed installations.
Any other details or clues would be helpful...

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#33902 - 08/11/16 08:01 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
D L Bahler Offline

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Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 946
Loc: Indiana
We have a building with structural panels, similar to SIPs, on the roof. When the sun shines on them, they have been known to pop. It's even more pronounced now that there is metal on the roof. The popping is just the panels releasing the stress that builds up as they expand. Think if it like an earthquake, where the plates down gradually slip, rather they build up pressure until they let go all at once. The popping is like that, only less destructive.
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#33903 - 08/11/16 08:16 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Roger Nair Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/99
Posts: 449
Loc: Bakerton, WV, USA
Barnz, in your initial post, you used the word movement twice. So if you think there is a movement issue, you should be able to observe, measure and record changes. If none are found, keep attention and check over time. Show reserve and don't make snap decisions. My private reaction to your first post when I read "expansive movement" was "Aha, water" i thought that the panels might be swelling and binding. When using very large panels there should be a proportionally larger expansion joints. So I would look for swelling of roof and wall surfaces. Don't alarm your clients, look for evidence and discuss observations or the lack of evidence. Take comfort in not seeing things going wrong.

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#33904 - 08/11/16 08:21 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Hylandwoodcraft Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/11
Posts: 141
Loc: Western NY
A less destructive earthquake doesn't sound very reassuring eek
I wonder what the long term effects are? Is the basic cause differing levels of expansion and contraction between the foam and OSB? If that was the case, a cold roof detail and rainscreen on the walls might help? I have never heard of this before!

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#33906 - 08/11/16 10:07 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
D L Bahler Offline

Member

Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 946
Loc: Indiana
my impression was that the noise was made where the panels were in contact with each other, or with the framework. Similar to how to metal on a barn roof pops as it heats up, the popping is where is rests along the framework and every now and then has to relieve the forces caused by expansion. I'll admit I don't have a great deal of experience with SIPs, but I could very well see where under-fastened panels will pop along the timbers as they heat and cool.

I was hoping you would read the sarcasm behind my earthquake reference. I agree with Roger, though, don't go feed a client a bunch of 'it could be...'s
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#33907 - 08/12/16 06:33 AM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Hylandwoodcraft Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/11
Posts: 141
Loc: Western NY
So, what does the installer and the SIP manufacturer have to say? It seems like they should have some useful input into the issue.

Perhaps Dave and Barnz, your panel's seismic activity could be harnessed as a form of renewable energy. I can see it now, the SIPSPGS, the SIP Seismic Power Generation System! wink The system could also be extended to harness the power released as green timber checks. It's going to be the hottest thing since the tiny house!

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#33911 - 08/16/16 09:25 AM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
barnz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/09/16
Posts: 4
Loc: ny
Here's some more input from the homeowners- noise is definitely sharp cracking. They have watched the timber checks and are confident that the timbers are stable now.
They are sure the noises are coming from several spots in the roof but can't locate the noise, probably because the entire house is one full cathedral ceiling and sound bounces around everywhere. They don't think there are any moisture issues.

They are asking if adding more screws from panels to timbers will fix the problem? Has anyone tried this before?

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#33912 - 08/16/16 10:21 AM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Jay White Cloud Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 480
Loc: Vermont
Hi Barnz,

If the noise emanating from the panels is indeed a sharp "cracking" then the likelihood of some critter being the sources is low to none...

These sounds are indicative (usually?) of two things (especially on roof:)

1. Age induced thermal expansion contraction cycles of the panels as they warm and cool.

2. Shear fracture of the attachment screws, which create a loud audible snap or crack when they do fail.

The later can become a cascade effect as more and more of the attachment hardware is compromised and lost...only leaving less of the screws to do more of the work. This is also indicative of a SIP company (or project facilitator/DIYer) that did not use the appropriate number of attachment screws to begin with.

Removing a roof and adding more hardware is one solution. Another I have seen is "cleating and bracking" systems added from the inside of a frame that does alter the aesthetic but can be performed in some cases not to be to invasive, or unpleasing.

I agree with Sean..."What does the installer and the SIP manufacture have to say?" I would be curious to understand there view, support and responsibility they would be willing to take in all this?

Good luck and keep us up to speed with your findings and solution...


Edited by Jay White Cloud (08/16/16 10:22 AM)
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#33913 - 08/16/16 08:13 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Hylandwoodcraft Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/11
Posts: 141
Loc: Western NY
It seems to me that any expansion and contraction or friction related causes should have some sort of discernable pattern.
For example, wind from certain directions causing creaking or popping being especially noticeable as a roof surface heats up in the sun. Do you have any sense of what the pattern is? If you can determine the pattern it will go a long way in narrowing possibilities down.
If there is no pattern then it seems more likely to be something oddball and more ominous (like the fastener shear that Jay mentioned). I just can't imagine osb and foam making a sharp cracking sound under normal circumstances.

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#33914 - 08/17/16 12:47 AM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: Hylandwoodcraft]
Roger Nair Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/99
Posts: 449
Loc: Bakerton, WV, USA
I do not imagine that thermal expansion of osb can cause panel screws to shear for several reasons.

1. Thermal expansion in wood products is real but expansion is not likely equal on the inner and outer plies osb. The outer ply on the sunny side will heat in the sun but the inner ply is insulated from the sun and will likely be close in temperature to the timber frame, rafters and purlins. Without a wide temperature differential the shear potential between the inner panel of osb and frame is limited. The thermal coefficient of expansion in wood is expressed in rather small increments. In the long grain direction 1.5 to 2.5 times 10^-6 inches per degree Fahrenheit. I did not find a value for osb but the magnitude of the coefficient should be not far removed especially with close temperature. Yes there could be a difference between inner and outer plies but I believe the screws will flex rather than transmit a shearing force to the inner panel.

2. Suppose a shearing force could be generated, what's stronger wood fiber or a steel screw? I believe the fiber will crush before the steel will shear.

The fly in the ointment will be the gap between the sips, effective gaskets, cold roof technique, liquid water, vapor drive and atmospheric moisture. Another concern is the sips advocates will remove bracing from the frame and rely on the diaphragm for structural rigidity.


Edited by Roger Nair (08/17/16 12:57 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling

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#33915 - 08/17/16 12:29 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Jay White Cloud Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 480
Loc: Vermont
My post was only meant to indicate common sources for sound emanations...and not to suggest that a fastener would typically fail from expansion/contraction...Unless, there hasn't been enough of them used to attach the panels. It those cases expansion/contraction only exacerbated the over load the panels are under, and can lead to failure either in complete shear or sagging...

I agree that a panal expansion/contraction (typically) would not be an underlying cause for fasteners to shear, and/or fail all on its own.

I would further share (in light of one of Sean's observations) that foam panels themselves typically may offer a more of "winning" or "squeaking" sound as they expand and contract...not a sharp cracking sound.

In some examples, panels have been "glued on." These few occasions I have experienced (either as an extra level of attachment, or in some cases in an attempt to use less mechanical fasteners.) Can lead to a cracking sound as the glue joint either fails or expands/contracts.
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#33916 - 08/18/16 07:44 AM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Hylandwoodcraft Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/11
Posts: 141
Loc: Western NY
I would imagine that a crack associated with fasteners shearing would indicate an overall slipping of the panels down the roof, or the top face slipping in relation to the bottom face. That is certainly possible, especially if not enough fasteners are used to begin with, but would probably make some sort of noticeable structural effect (Deformed overhangs, cracked drywall, leaking roofing).

We don't really have enough detail from the OP to make any better observations. We need to know more details and patterns around the noise.
Another question... Is it a drywall ceiling or T&G?

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#33917 - 08/18/16 10:59 AM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
Jay White Cloud Offline
Member

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 480
Loc: Vermont
Agree Sean, and more information would really be needed to delve deeper into these aberrant sounds. Apparently something is alarming the residents of this frame, yet I think (and hope) that it is probably just the normal sounds associated with this form of timber frame architecture...when SIPs are employed in there construction...
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#33965 - 09/01/16 05:29 PM Re: frame and SIPs noises [Re: barnz]
barnz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/09/16
Posts: 4
Loc: ny
Thanks for your ideas. Installer says it was all done right. panel company says sips and timberframes always make noise, if it's excessive it must be moisture somewhere.
No new specifics from the homeowner so I'm going there next week to sit and listen until I finally hear it myself. Stay tuned! Thanks!

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