If your home is located in an area of the country where the overnight temperatures are fairly cool and the morning sun is strong, popping noises around your windows and siding can be a somewhat common phenomenon. There are several potential causes for these noises, but they are most likely the result of the expansion and contraction of the materials in question (siding, cladding, etc). Here, we’ve listed the 5 most common causes for the popping and cracking noises.
Low-E Glass Windows
Homeowners may hear a popping noise after they replace existing single pane windows that face aluminum siding with Low-e equipped units. The focused reflection of the sun’s energy as a result of the Low-e coated glass can rapidly heat the siding on the adjacent walls. This causes the aluminum to expand at a rapid rate creating a "popping noise" as the siding expands and contracts along the building’s wall. Although the noise can be frustrating, there is no easy solution short of shading the window or swapping out the glass for non-Low-e coated glass to eliminate the concentrated reflection (which is not recommended for energy efficiency).
If you do not have aluminum siding, another likely culprit is the aluminum cladding on the windows themselves. This is a far less common cause of expansion and contraction noises, given the heavy gauge extruded coil stock used on most quality aluminum clad wood windows. The coil stock aluminum used as trim wrapping around the windows may also manifest these expansion and contraction noises as a result of rapid heating and cooling.
Overly Tight Vinyl Siding
Improper installation of your vinyl siding can also be a source of these expansion and contraction noises. Proper installation techniques require that the siding not be nailed tightly to the side of the home. Manufacturers specify a small space requirement that allows the siding to expand and contract with the temperature. If the nails that affix the siding to your home have been nailed down too tightly, the siding natural expansion growth is impeded and can buckle and create noises. The recommended solution is to uninstall and reinstall the siding properly.
The locking joints of new siding can contract and slide against each other, causing some movement noise. This is a very common problem and should work itself out over time. If you don’t have relief after a few months, consult with your installer.
Poor Installation of Windows
Popping and cracking noises can also be the result of improperly installed windows. If the windows were installed out of square, plumb, or plane, the jamb sides of the frames can bend inward and put pressure on the window sashes. If this is the case, then the windows may need to be removed and reinstalled correctly to eliminate the noises.
Windows on Washington's Guidance
In order to determine the exact cause of the noises, homeowners should contact a trusted and professional window and siding contractor for an evaluation. Once the problem is diagnosed, possible solutions can be discussed and evaluated. Please see the Windows on Washington’s guide to finding the right contractor to assess your specific problem areas and ensure that you receive an honest solution and fair estimate for repairs.