Metal roof noises from expansion and contraction

I have a 2 yr old home in the Pacific Northwest (moderate climate) with a steel standing seam roof. The home is SIP (structural insulated panel) construction, including the shed-style roof. The roof is about 30’ by 60’, simple rectangle. The roof is black in color.

As the temperature changes during the day and the night we hear very loud popping noises inside the house. The popping noises often come in a sequence, like 3 successive pops in a second, then another single pop a second later. The noises are worse on days with wide temperature changes.

Is this something to be expected with a roof like this or might it have been installed incorrectly?

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Everything is going to be louder under a metal roof - rain, hail, branches, and as you’ve noticed, expansion/contraction events. If you add to the normal amount of expansion and contraction a Galvalume roof (no color) experiences by making it black in color, those same events are also amplified in the amount of movement. Fortunately, the design of standing seam systems accounts for this movement and it is in fact normal, or at least not unusual. There are a number of different inter-locking panel types, some with better thermal expansion mitigation than others. Systems that use a separate clip (not integrated into the panel) to hold the panel down along with a snaplock seam allow the most movement. Areas where excessive moisture is a concern may opt for the more expensive mechanical single or double roll seam. These are significantly more water-tight than snaplock, but allow the least amount of movement. Your roof may also simply need a season or two to settle in, after which the amount of sound generated should decrease. Either that or you’ll be used to it and it won’t even bother you anymore. :slight_smile:

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Thanks @txgunslinger, I suppose I’ll try to get used to it. We’ve been in the house a bit over two years now and the sound is worse than it was initially. Maybe it will eventually loosen up and not make so much noise. One thing that is different this season is that opening an exterior door will often trigger the popping noises. I guess tension has built up in the roof panels and the slight pressure change in the house causes the roof structure to flex slightly and release the tension in the metal panels.

Something else I just thought of - spray foam insulation. The kind that is sprayed on the underside of the decking that creates an envelope in your attic. I’ve been inside a few of the attics that have it here in San Antonio and it is nothing short of amazing in terms of how much it cuts the heat. I can only imagine it would also cut down the noise level of your roof if 2-3" of that was applied to the underside of your decking/rafters. Just a thought. Make sure you use a reputable/experienced company to apply it though, ask for references and call them or possibly arrange to actually see it. It’s not cheap, so any company worth their salt shouldn’t have a problem providing you examples of their work, especially if they take pride in their work.

The roof is constructed from SIPs and in the main living area and bedrooms the interior side of the sips is finished with drywall for the vaulted ceilings. So there is no attic or dead air space to dampen the sounds of the metal roof. And there is nowhere to apply spray foam insulation.

The SIPs are constructed of 10" of foam insulation between 2 sheets of OSB.

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Fellow standing seam owner here. We have these noises, too, but not as bad as you describe them. Our roof is white, thus minimizing temperature swings.
Is your roof installed with a clip system (clip going over male leg of panel) or a nail/screw flange? I personally like clips better as the nail flange style could slight hamper expansion and contraction movement.

On the upside, this roof system is usually fairly good when done properly.

I’m not 100% positive but I think it is constructed from snap lock panels.

Yes, snaplock is typical for residential standing seam. Clip vs. nail flange is independent of that. Clip is more typical and in my view also preferable. Find the “Metal Roofing Channel” on youtube. They have a good video on explaining the differences.