Reduce Creaking in Tall Buildings

Reduce Creaking in Tall Buildings

Read Time: 2 mins

Tall buildings, much like tall trees, sway in windy conditions. This is caused by a phenomenon known as vortex shedding. Vortex shedding occurs when wind runs into a tall building and the wind is “split” into two separate air streams around the building. This generates areas of low pressure on the opposite side of the building, which creates a suction-effect that causes the building to sway. And when that building sways, it creaks. Some buildings can generate creaking sounds up to 70 decibels (dB). This is louder than a conversation in a restaurant or office, and can be as loud as a running vacuum cleaner. This keeps apartment residents awake at night, and terrifies unsuspecting hotel guests.

Creaking has been a problem in tall buildings for a long time, but the specific causes of the creaking were unknown. So, Studco® led an in-depth two-year research project that analyzed global wind studies and performed field investigations within buildings that had known noise problems. This led to the discovery that the head track in the steel stud wall system was not fit for purpose when fixing to an uneven surface: the head track becomes deformed as it follows the contours of the substrates uneven surface, putting tension on the profile as a result of elastic buckling, and in some extreme cases, plastic deformation occurs when the track becomes creased and permanently damaged. As the building vibrates and sways in a cyclical pattern with the wind, the tension in the track causes an irritating creaking noise.

Studco’s engineers designed the Vortex High Performance Framing System® specifically to address the variable surfaces of modern concrete structure and the stresses and tension that tall buildings experience in high winds. This lightweight steel framing system reduces stress and tension from the building’s internal framing by using features such as rigid beams which increases stiffness and resists buckling, anti-tension kerfs which limits deformation where the substrate is extremely uneven, and isolation clips to reduce metal-on-metal contact with wall studs, door jambs and ceiling wall track sections. These are just a few of the features that significantly reduce the creaking sound in tall buildings, and lead to positive experiences for the residents and guests within them.

Our apartment creaked a lot before. We replaced the walls with the Vortex system from Studco and the problem has disappeared.

S. Volker, Melbourne, Australia

Studco continues to monitor the performance of the Vortex High Performance Framing System and makes improvements based on the data they gather. To learn more about the Vortex System or any of our other innovative green building products, give us a call at 1-800-675-8023, or complete our online contact form today.

Case Studies

Light House Tower, VIC
Products Used
Vortex Isolation Clips, Steel Stud and Track, EZ Concept Architectural Finishing Systems


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