What exactly causes nail pops?

Old 12-06-03, 06:11 AM
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What exactly causes nail pops?


I'm a painter/paperhanger and I deal with "nail pops" in drywall every day. We always just chalk it up to things like the house settling, wooden studs shrinking, etc. But, I have a homeowner who wants to know exactly why nail pops occur. If it's something that must happen or if it's due to the installers skipping a step. It's not just nails, it's screws as well. Someone told me that if glue is applied to the wooden studs before attaching the drywall this will help to eliminate nail pops. I've seen instances where the screws are put almost all the way through the drywall, then the torn drywall is not sealed, then it is filled with joint compound, and inevitably the hunk of joint compound kind of pops through. I, the painter, come along and I cut through the hunk of mess, peel off the layers of torn drywall, seal the patch of drywall with Guardz, prime, then apply the joint compound, prime again.

Please enlighten me.

Old 12-06-03, 06:57 AM
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Nail pops happen when the nail loses its grip in the wood stud and pulls out a tad, then the sheetrock pulls away from the stud, then the sheetrock moves back and the nail doesn't. Screws don't have this flaw.

Sheet rock fasteners should be set so the the paper is dimpled, but not torn. If the paper tears, another fastener should be placed one inch away to hold the sheetrock and the original one left to seal the hole over which mud is applied.

To repair a nail pop, drive the offending nail in with a nail set, apply a screw one inch above or below, and finish.

Hope this helps.
Old 12-06-03, 09:25 AM
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Ya nail pops are a pain. Chfite has the info. Screws don't pop unless they are too deep(like chfite said). Glue and screws are a good combination. I personally don't use glue but screw everything off. Some guys just use glue and nail the perimeter. This doesn't work very well because the glue sticks to the backing paper of the rock and then any moisture or shrinkage in the wood and the paper pulls away from the rock. I've been in too many 5 year old houses where you can push on the drywall and it moves 1/2".
Old 12-06-03, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for the information!!
Old 12-07-03, 05:47 AM
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on occasion 1 5/8 inch fasteners will pop if used on walls screws or nails.
Old 12-11-03, 03:51 PM
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Nailpops are usually caused by differential expansion of whatever the nail is holding together. The two materials (e.g. drywall and wood) expand and contract by different amounts with changes in temperature and/or humidity. Eventually, the nail loosens and works it way out.

Nailpops in drywall usually happen because the studs aren't totally dry when they're put in. As they dry, they shrink away from the nail.

Another common situation is redwood decking nailed to fir stringers. If they're still pretty green (high moisture content) they shrink as they dry out. Nails get loose and the differential expansion slowly works them up.

The solution is to throw out your drywall nails and use screws.

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