Why do walls make a cracking sound?

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Every now and then, if your room is quiet enough you’ll hear a random cracking sound that seems to come from the wall. Why does it do that and what is happening when it does? Why are some ‘cracks’ louder than others?

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Most of the time it’s the wood in the walls expanding and contracting in the heat/cold. It will make those noises as that happens.

Settling. Homes settle over time because of soil conditions and/or materials expanding/contracting over time.

In my cement house in Portugal we realized it was the electrical wires. My brother and I kept thinking it was rats (somehow living inside cement?), but my dad kinda traced the sound to the plugs

It’s usually a combination of your house settling and the expansion and contraction of the materials it’s made out of

Is is from the shifting if the house on the foundation. This is caused by many factors like wind or settling but mostly it is due to the change in temperatures. When the weather gets cooler or warmer it causes the materials that make up the building to warm or cool at different rates and expand or contract. The outside of the house will cool or warm faster than the inside and expand or contract against the inside. Those cracking sounds are from that.

Much of home construction uses wood, from the framing to the sub-floors and walls and in older homes the flooring itself. If it’s new construction the house is still settling. If it’s old construction, the joints may be a little loose from years of thermal expand and contraction.

You rarely hear this in buildings that have codes to make them out of concrete.