If you normally live in a humid area of the country you may experience seasonal dry-out during the winter months. Because our heating systems dry out the air they tends to dry-out wood products, sheet rock and other building materials. Recently I have had neighbors commenting that they hear popping at night throughout the house especially in the attic. It never hurts to take a flashlight and make a pass through the attic looking for broken timbers, but more likely than not, it is nothing more than dry-out or the expansion and contraction of various building materials. Even though you would think a 50-year-old building would have already experienced all the dry-out possible, timbers continue to move and will also absorb moisture during the more humid parts of the year. In many cases the sound you hear is the movement of the timbers and temperature changes will cause them to pop (forever).
Besides the popping look for these dryout signs as well:
- You see hair-line cracks in your sheet rock
- Cracks around trim, baseboards, door molding
- Cracks around interior and exterior windows and doors
- Cracks around the tub, shower and throughout the kitchen
- Nails popping out of the sheetrock
This is a great time to do some interior caulking as its fairly easy to recognize where the leaks are. Look for my next article on caulking and sealing.