What Causes Nail Pops and How Do You Fix Them?

Nail pops occur when nail heads pop through the surface of sheetrock walls and create bumps or cracks. Here’s why they happen and how you can fix them if they pop up during your renovation.

What Causes Nail Pops?

One main cause of nail pops is the movement of wood framing. Over time lumber moves and changes shape ever so slightly as its moisture content fluctuates. During this process the dimensions of the wood—its length, width, and depth—shrink and expand at different rates. This movement causes nails to back out of the drywall and pop through the surface.

There are many other reasons for nail pops. They can result from the improper spacing of drywall screws or nails, driving drywall fasteners at an angle instead of straight into a stud, completely missing a stud with the fastener, using nails that are too short and don’t sufficiently penetrate a stud, overdriving screws and nails and causing the heads to break into the soft gypsum layer of the drywall, and using too many or too little drywall connectors.

Finally, nail pops can simply be the result of a settling foundation.

Fixing Nail Pops

If you find that nail pops are popping up around your flip here’s what to do:

In general, the fix can be as simple as hammering or screwing a drywall fastener into place. If it was overdriven, though, it needs to be removed. Usually, driving in two nails or screws above and below the nail pop can secure it.

To cover your repair smooth drywall compound over your patch. (Make sure you add a primer to the compound or latex paint won’t adhere). Let the patch dry, then sand it. Apply a light second coat, allow it to dry, and sand.

Brush away debris and repaint the area.

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