How to Fix Nail Pops: Drywall Repair

A common question that homeowners often ask is what causes nail pops, and how can they be fixed. The problem can occur in homes of all types, from high-end condos to modulars to classic brick, and it can occur in a variety of ways. No matter the cause, however, nail pops always show up the same way: small circles, the size and shape of a nail-head, raised up above the surface of the wall.

What Causes Nail Pops?

Nail pops occur when there is a shifting in the drywall, while the nails or screws that hold it in place remain stationary. This movement causes the nail or screw to push up out of its original placement, marring the smooth finish of the surface. In some cases, the head of the fastener pushes out so far that the paint and spackle break away, exposing the unsightly metal.

These shifts can be the result of changes in humidity level or temperature as the seasons change, or the product of natural settling that occurs in the early years of a newer home. They can also be the result of poor craftsmanship during the installation process. If the sheetrock was not held firmly agains the studs when the fasteners were introduced, then a gap could remain between the two surfaces. Later on, when the wall is bumped, the drywall moves towards the 2×4 and the nails or screws in the area pop out through the surface.
How Do I Repair Nail Pops?

1. Ask an assistant (or use your shoulder) to push the drywall firmly against the studs, then drive in two new screws. They should be driven just until they are below the surface of the drywall, and should be located one inch above and below the popped location.

2. If paint or spackle remains above the old screw head, use a sharp blade to cleanly and carefully remove it. Then either remove or firmly drive in the offending screw or nail.

3. Use a putty knife to apply lightweight spackle or joint compound to the affected areas. Apply it smoothly, and don’t overspread it. Allow it to dry.

4. Check for a smooth surface. If the putty has shrunk or dimpled, apply a small amount to restore a smooth surface. Once the spackle is dry and level, smooth it slightly using fine grade sandpaper.

5. Repaint the wall. If the paint on the wall is recent and flat, you may simply touch up the spackled spots, but if the paint is older or even slightly glossy, the only way to make the wall look new is to repaint it.

If the beauty of your home is marred by nail pops and you are not sure you can repair them (or you simply don’t have time), call a professional painting contractor such as A.G. Williams. Serving Westchester and Fairfield County, A.G. Williams provides expert house painting services, and we can repair any flaws in your drywall and repaint the surface to leave it looking good as new! If you have a number of small painting jobs, such as touching up trim and repairing nail pops, try our painter for a day program!

A.G. Williams, providing professional house painting services to White Plains, Irvington, Armonk, Greenwich, Stamford, Riverside, Cos Cob, Scarsdale, Yonkers, and all of Westchester, Fairfield, Putnam and Rockland counties.