It is with a heavy heart that I disclose our latest obstacle to moving into our master bedroom. For a couple months now, we’ve been hearing a creaking/cracking noise whenever we run the shower upstairs. This was not a problem with the first floor unit, so we were alarmed when the sounds started soft and got a little bit louder. Keep in mind that we had just celebrated a lovely bathroom remodel. Our remodeling egos were fragile and just starting to feel good about the work that had been done. The walls were all closed up and tiled over. By the time the sink and toilet were connected and everything was in, it was too late. None of the many books we took out from the library warned us of this problem. They only mentioned that pvc pipes are not as soundproof as cast iron - you can hear the trickle of water running through the drain pipes. The books did not mention anything about creaking or popping sounds!

After a week or two, we narrowed the culprit down to the drain pipes. If we stopped the sink and tub drain and just ran hot water, no sound. As soon as I let the drain open, the creaking starts up. It seems to happen with temperature changes. We both did many internet searches “pvc pipe creaking” “pvc plumbing noise” “pvc creaking sound”. we tried every combination of key words with very little hits. I moped around for days.

Then denial and avoidance set in and we didn’t do a whole lot of investigating, until the weather turned and the noise got louder and louder. It was like A Telltale Heart - I had a mini-meltdown. Tig made a noble effort to find the noise via the attic, to no avail. More internet searching from the both of us. Then, one day, I came across an internet article on askthebuilder.com

“We also have cracking noises when someone takes a bath or shower in a second floor bathroom.” Bingo!

The reply, “PVC plumbing drain lines are notorious noise makers…Excorcizing these demons from your walls is no going to be easy. You will need to isolate and identify the exact trouble areas. Doing this almost always involves removal of the drywall or plaster. You can then often clearly hear and see the location where a pipe or duct might be rubbing against a wood framing member.”

Well, opening up the newly tiled bathroom walls was not an option (picture me, shaking my fist at imaginary remodeling gods “It is not an option, you hear me!”). We would have to get to the pipes through the other side, the master bedroom. I vowed that we would not move in until this was all sorted out. To be continued…