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Nail Pops Galore


panceshannon's Avatar
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12-12-14, 08:00 PM   #1  
Nail Pops Galore

I've lived in my '57 ranch for about 4 months and, within the last few weeks, started noticing SEVERAL nail pops in the sheet rock. The nail pops are located on almost every wall and ceiling in the house - mostly up high but not exclusively. In total there are probably 75-100.

I noticed a few here and there when I bought the house but since the weather changed I have noticed them appearing everywhere and have become very concerned.

There are two possible causes I can think of:
- A few months ago I knocked out a wall and put up a header (12' span) on an a former exterior wall to open up the kitchen to the room addition.
- I also had the gutters off for a couple months when replacing the siding.

Any ideas on the cause(s) and/or ideas about how to solve the problem would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 
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12-13-14, 03:11 AM   #2  
Hard to say the exact cause was the house remodeled? Humidity changes can play a part but not usually a big issue if the drywall has been up a long time [would have happened earlier]

The fix is easy, just knock the popped nails back in, place a screw next to it and then apply mud. Is there any texture on the walls/ceiling?


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12-13-14, 05:49 AM   #3  
Thanks marksr!

We have done some remodeling; knocked out the wall, replaced subfloor & cabinets in kitchen, tile in bathroom.

The house does have truss framing and I initially thought it might be truss uplift, but from what I can tell the signs of truss uplift are moving top and bottom plates, not just nail pops.

Thankfully the drywall isn't textured so fixing the pops shouldn't be terrible, I'm mostly concerned with figuring out the cause.

Thanks again.

 
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12-13-14, 05:56 PM   #4  
Today I noticed the soil is very soft/mushy in several areas next to the foundation. It looks like I may have to contact a structural engineer.

 
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12-14-14, 03:52 AM   #5  
Have you been getting a lot of rain? do you have gutters? are they piped away from the foundation? Are there any cracks in the foundation? moisture in the basement?


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12-14-14, 07:09 AM   #6  
Pullout one of those nails and look at it.
One of the houses we own that's been fine for the past 50 years had every nail pop when there was an earth quake.
Back then all that was used was 1" nails with no ring shanks and small heads. They looked like box nails.
Amazing it had held up as long as it did.
This is back when drywall was just replacing plaster and they had no idea what to use I guess.

 
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12-14-14, 07:37 AM   #7  
Mark asked about moisture and that is an easy item to check and it is something that could affect the entire house. Ironically it is usually the heating season that dries out the house so maybe it has been too moist and now the drying is causing the framing to adjust. I like puzzles .

Pick up a RH meter is you don't have one and do some detective work to see if that mud around the house is or has been adding excess moisture. Take temp reading at the same time and location, primarily basement and a couple of locations upstairs.

Bud

 
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12-14-14, 10:21 AM   #8  
Back then all that was used was 1" nails with no ring shanks and small heads
I always heard them called lamination nails, they were easy to drive and finish over. They rarely split a stud if nailed too close to the edge. I don't recall ever having an major issues with them but commonsense would tell you that a ring shank nail [or better yet a screw] would hold better.


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12-14-14, 06:47 PM   #9  
Thanks for the replies and suggestions. You've given me plenty to consider and I appreciate the help.

I do have gutters piped away from the foundation, however, I took them down for a couple months (idiot) while replacing the siding. In October we had about twice the average amount of rainfall and it looks like the soil grading is not sloped away from the foundation. Fortunately, I have not had any water in the basement.

There are two hairline cracks in the foundation on both sides of a basement window, but not significant according to my inspection. They did not use shank nails for the drywall but they are inch and five-eighths. I will borrow a RH meter and start testing the moisture around the foundation.

We bought the house as a foreclosure and it had been vacant for a long time. Is it possible that the trusses/studs accumulated moisture as the house sat unconditioned for who knows how long, then when I started heating it (my wife likes the house at 75) the framing shrunk??

Also, after knocking out a wall I installed a beam made of of 3 12 foot 2x10s which came from an outdoor lumberyard. Is it possible this beam has shrunk/is shrinking causing problems throughout the 1,700 square foot house?

Thanks again for your input - I'm going to try to go to bed now but most likely lie awake listening to nail pops and praying that my house doesn't fall down

 
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12-14-14, 07:01 PM   #10  
I was wondering if it was vacant for any length of time. IMO that would explain it. An unconditioned house with drywall would soak up humidity like a sponge, and when the moisture content of drywall goes up it can swell and get soft... nail heads can pop through the paper more easily under these conditions... the nails get condensation on them when the temperature coincides with the dew point (usually twice daily) both items combine to cause nail pops.

It affects the upper part of the ceiling and wall more since heat rises and warmer air holds more humidity. Ceilings are also affected by gravity pulling down on them. If it seems to be showing up more and more, bit by bit, it's because the damage was already done prior to your moving in... and through time the loose nails are just becoming more and more evident.

 
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12-15-14, 03:25 AM   #11  
I agree that the house being vacant with the HVAC off caused the majority of the problem, the good news is once fixed - it shouldn't return.


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