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Why Do Decks Pop in Cold Weather?

Posted on: September 25, 2017

When it starts to get colder, most decks start making noise. Strange thunks and moving sounds, like someone just walked on your deck. Pops and cracks, like something breaking or snapping. Creaking and whining noises, like a poorly oiled door hinge. These can make a homeowner quite worried about the state of their deck and the quality of their installation, but don’t fret; it’s almost certainly no big deal.

Worried about your deck, or looking for specialists to provide thorough deck services in Maryland? Contact Diamond Decks online now!

Why Popping Sounds Occur

The root cause of deck popping and cracking noises in cold weather tracks back to a single source: materials expanding and contracting at different speeds. When a material gets warm, it expands; when it gets cold, it contracts. But not all materials expand and contract the same way, leading to popping and cracking noises as they slip and grind against one another.

This means that certain deck types are far more likely to make popping and cracking noises; composite decks made up of varied materials see greater differences in expansion and contraction, so they make a lot more noise.

Specific Sources of Noise

Aside from the generic cause underlying all the noise, we can track popping noises in the cold to a few specific problem areas.

  • Board fitting. If there isn’t enough room between slats on your deck, you’re going to get a lot more noise from expansion and contraction as they rub against one another. This is why it’s important that you or your deck installation contractor follow instructions on spacing for the material at hand.
  • Trapped moisture. If there’s moisture trapped inside the wood of your deck or between two components, when it freezes it can expand and make quite a racket. In a worst-case scenario, this can cause real damage to your deck by cracking boards—so be careful about freezing!
  • Nails. Nails expand and contract too, which can cause quite a bit of noise if when they slip in their holes or suddenly release tension on a piece of your deck. This is only a problem if the expansion and contraction starts permanently loosening nails or wearing away at joints, which shouldn’t happen with a well-constructed deck.
  • Legs. So-called frost heaving occurs when the ground around or beneath the legs of your deck starts moving due to the cold, which of course shifts and warps your entire deck. If this is causing significant movement, it can loosen up the structure and damage your entire deck. It can also lead to sloping and other issues. This shouldn’t happen if your deck is built right, however.

Do I Need Deck Repair?

Most of these issues aren’t significant at all. Boards fit together a bit too snugly may wear away at one another, and anything causing major movement can cause real damage, but most of the sounds you hear in the colder months don’t matter. Keep your eyes open for real movement and real damage, and otherwise it’s simply a question of how much the sounds bothers you.

Deck Inspections in Maryland

If you’re worried about the noises your deck makes, or you’ve noticed something that indicates a more serious problem with your deck, contact us today for an inspection. We’ll be glad to answer your questions and arrange an assessment and estimate for any remodeling or repairs necessary.

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  • "My wife and I are very pleased with our recent experience with Diamond Decks. Our interaction with everyone from the company was great from the schedulers on the phone to the men who did the work. William remained in close communication with us until the job was completed and we were satisfied. The deck itself is beautiful and of excellent quality. We will be recommending Diamond Decks to everyone we know. -Kev Mitchell, Piney Orchard, MD"
    Customer: Kevin and Winnie
    Address: Odenton, Maryland
    Date: 07/18/2017
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