Should You Worry About Windows Popping In Cold Weather?


The cold weather often has a gloomy effect on most people and can put you on edge. Those popping sounds in your windows can add to the gloom and tension, especially when you hear it at night. While this could be terrifying, you need to know if it’s something you should worry about or if it’s just something that will pass with the cold weather. 

You should not worry about windows popping in cold weather since it’s often due to the usual contraction and expansion of the window materials. However, other times, it could indicate a poorly installed window. In extreme situations, the expansion and contraction could cause cracked windows. 

Read on to understand the different causes of windows popping in the cold weather, whether they should worry you, and the solutions to this problem. 

Why Do My Windows Pop In Cold Weather?

Most materials used to construct a home expand and contract when temperatures fluctuate. Hot temperatures cause the materials to expand, while cooler temperatures cause the materials to contract. 

When you hear popping sounds around your home in cold weather, it’s often the construction materials such as wood and metal contracting. 

Windows pop in cold weather because the materials used to make them expand and contract as the temperatures fluctuate. These materials used to make most windows include glass, wood, aluminum, and vinyl siding materials. 

The changes in size cause the popping sounds you hear in cold weather as the windows contract. 

The amount of popping sounds you hear depends on the intensity of expansion and contraction of the materials used to make your windows. Sometimes, the only solution is reinstalling your windows with materials with less contraction and expansion properties.

Reasons Why Windows Pop In Cold Weather

While expansion and contraction of construction materials is the main reason for the popping sounds coming from your windows, there are other reasons which could cause it. 

Here are all the reasons that may cause the popping sounds from your windows. 

1. Aluminum Clad on Your Windows

Aluminum is a metal with high expansion and contraction properties. It has quick expansion and contraction tendencies if used on your windows. This process causes the metal to change in size. 

When aluminum changes in size, it may cause the glass attached to it to adjust positions, causing the popping sounds coming from your windows. In extreme situations, the expansion and contraction could cause cracked windows. 

In the cold weather, the aluminum clad in your windows contracts and forces the glass panes to contract as well. This exerts pressure on the windows as they readjust to the smaller aluminum frames. The pressure exerted on the window panes could cause them to crack. 

The heavy gauge extruded coil stock is the main culprit in the process that causes all those popping sounds at night. The trim wrapping around your windows is also a main source of the popping sounds. 

Solution: Aluminum is usually a sturdy material to use for your window frames. However, if the popping sounds become unbearable in the cold weather, your only option is to replace the aluminum with other materials. You can use either vinyl or wood, which have less expansion and contraction properties than aluminum. 

2. Poorly Installed Vinyl Siding

The vinyl siding on your windows could be the reason you’re hearing all those popping sounds in the cold weather. Although vinyl has lower expansion and contraction properties than aluminum, it also needs some space to contract and expand. 

If the vinyl siding on your windows is nailed too tightly on the side of the home, it has too little space. Every time the vinyl expands from the warmth in your home during cold weather, it pushes the edges of your windows while trying to create space. This could be the reason your windows make so many popping noises in the cold weather. 

The glass on your windows could also be a source of the popping sounds in the cold weather. As the vinyl siding contracts, it pushes the glass panes. The popping sounds could result from the panes looking to fit in the smaller spaces. 

Solution: You can get a good contractor to replace or reinstall the vinyl siding on your windows. Proper installation will ensure that your vinyl sidings have enough space to expand and contract during the cold weather. It will also reduce the popping sounds.

3. Poorly Installed Windows

If your windows were not installed accurately, they might be the source of the popping sounds you hear in cold weather.  

In such cases, the windows were installed out of square, plumb, or plane. The frames bend inwards and put pressure on the sashes. The movement on the frames and sashes could be the reason you’re hearing popping sounds.  

The popping sounds may be worsened by the expansion and contraction of the material used on your frames and sashes. Whether they are made of wood, vinyl, or aluminum, the contraction of the frames and sashes is bound to make noises in cold weather. 

Solution: Get a qualified windows contractor to reinstall the windows around your home. This should reduce the bending of the frames and the popping sounds in cold weather. Here is a video that explains this process:

4. Low E Glass Windows and Aluminum Siding

Aluminum contracts in cold weather, and glass holds in cold for a long time. The contraction properties in both the glass and aluminum could be the reason you hear popping sounds from your windows. 

When the sun is out, the E glass reflects the sun’s rays and causes the aluminum siding to expand—the aluminum contracts when the cold weather sets in, hence the popping sounds. 

Solution: You can replace the aluminum siding with vinyl siding and shade the affected windows. 

Conclusion 

The popping sounds coming from your windows in cold weather could be unsettling. You need to establish the cause of the sounds before finding a solution. 

Common sources are aluminum clad windows, poorly installed windows and vinyl siding, and low E glass windows and aluminum siding. 

Whether you need to replace or reinstall the materials on your windows, you should always hire a professional to do the job.

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