Drywall Nail or Screw Heads Popping Out

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Published: December 24, 2014 Last Updated: August 1, 2017

Nails in drywall will pop-out for a number of reasons, most of which are not a structural concern, but more of a cosmetic issue. The problem of nails popping out is much more common than drywall screws popping out.

Most common reasons

  •  Green lumber

Homes that are newly built and have wood framing (often called green lumber) may experience shrinkage of the wood and some warping or movement as the wood dries out. This usually occurs in the first one or two years, and then stops.

  •  Drywall taking on moisture

Drywall that gets delivered to a home may take on or absorb, moisture prior to being installed. It also may take on additional moisture when first spray painted. Then, as the drywall dries out, pop outs occur.

  •  Truss lift

Seasonal changes may cause a home’s roof trusses to shift or lift a little. This movement places stress on the drywall and pop outs occur.

  •  Seasonal changes

During rainy seasons, expansive soils may swell up causing the structure to move; likewise it moves again when the soils dry out.

  •  Other reasons include

Earthquake movement, not enough nails placed properly to hold the weight of the drywall, wind loads and pressure changes occurring inside the home.

Bottom Line

It is moisture changes in the wood, drywall or soil that causes the majority of pop outs. Seldom is there concern of a structural problem or failure. Most home that have drywall nails will experience some pop outs in places.

Add Drywall Screws

Installing drywall screws in the area of the pop outs usually will solve the problem. Where a nail has popped out, add a drywall screw about one or two inches from the nail (on both side of the nail is even better) will help.

Drywall contractors, qualified handy men and home owners can generally take care of fixing drywall pop outs.

Who to consult? Painters, handymen and drywall contractors.

Home owners will often patch an area where drywall screws or nails are exposed or popped out. Painters, handymen and drywall contractors are the most proficient at this type of work.

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