What Causes Nail Pops on Walls?

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Nail pops are bumps on a wall that can occur when the head of a nail protrudes and begins to poke through the outside of the drywall. They can be unsightly and will need to be repaired for aesthetic reasons or before the wall is painted. Improper installation is one major cause of nail pops in a wall.

Drywall Construction

  • To understand how nail pops occur, you need to know how drywall is installed. Drywall is nailed or screwed into a wood frame that is behind the drywall. The nails or screws used to attach the drywall are then covered over with filler before the wall is painted.

Wet Framing

  • On newly constructed homes, unfinished wood frames are sometimes exposed to the elements, including rain and snow. This moisture will not damage the wood, but the wood can absorb excess moisture. The moisture can cause the wood to shrink and expand unevenly, so if it is not allowed to dry fully before the drywall is attached, it can create gaps between the wood and drywall and push the nail through the drywall.

Deep-set Screws

  • If the screws or nails are attached too deeply into the wood, they can go through the drywall, which will cause the drywall to separate from the wood frame. If this happens, filler placed over the nail can pop out and create bumps on the drywall surface.

Repairing Nail Pops

  • Nail pops can easily be repaired without tearing up the drywall. If repairing nail pops themselves, homeowners should first try to tighten the screw or nail either by trying to screw it in tighter or hammering the nail back in and then patching up the hole with filler. If the screw or nail is too loose and cannot be tightened, it can be pulled out completely. A new screw or nail will be needed to refasten the drywall sheet, and this should be done approximately 1 inch away from the original screw to ensure that the new screw or nail is pushed into the wood framing.

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