Noises from the roof can be infuriating, especially if you don't know where the noise is coming from. Here are some of the common causes of roof noise:
Loose Sections of the Roof
A loose part of the roof can easily make noise if it is banging against other sections of the roof, vibrating or making any kind of movement. Loose sections of the roof typically make noises when acted upon by wind forces. For example, loose flashing may bang against the shingles during a windstorm and generate considerable noise.
Rainfall, Snowfall, and Hailstorm
In some cases, your roof may also be noisy due to the action of snowfall, rainfall, and hailstones on it. Hailstones can be particularly noisy if they are big enough, dense, and falling at a high velocity. Falling precipitation generally shouldn't make too much noise on the roof, but they can kick up a pretty ruckus if the roof is damaged or wasn't constructed with noise-mitigating measures in mind. Some roofing materials, such as bituminous shingles, are also better at absorbing such noises than others.
The Weight of Overlying Materials
Your roof may also be noisy if it is creaking under the weight of some foreign materials. In most cases, this foreign material turns out to be snow and ice accumulation. Again, a little snow or ice on the roof shouldn't be a problem, especially if the roof is structurally sound. However, a particularly heavy snowfall may overload your roof and make it creak in places, especially if the roof is aging and is too weak to hold up to the weight of the snow.
There are two main ways in which wind can generate noise on the roof. The first one, where it can cause loose pieces of roofing materials to flap, has been discussed above. The second one occurs when wind passes through tiny openings on the roof and produces whistling sounds. Since such openings shouldn't normally be on the roof, you should suspect roof damage or even water leaks if you can hear whistling sounds on the roof when it is windy.
Temperature fluctuations cause roof noises because solid materials expand when heated and contract when cooled. At the same time, different materials have different expansion and contraction rates. This may create gaps between different sections of the roof when the temperature rises or falls to extreme levels. Temperature fluctuations can also cause noises when parts of the roof don't have adequate expansion space, leading to popping noises.
Is your roof too noisy for your taste? Talk to local roofers to help you diagnose and deal with the noise.