Fixing Drywall Nail Pops

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Although it is usually unnecessary in most newer homes where drywall screws are used, fixing drywall nail pops can be almost inevitable in homes where nails are used to attach drywall to wall studs. Unfortunately, these nails seem to find their way out of a wall stud and drywall sheet when the wall into which they are driven is made to vibrate over an extended period of time. This vibration can be caused by nearby truck traffic, heavy winds, or even loud music. But whatever its cause, these small but annoying bulges can be unsightly until they are repaired. Here are 5 steps that will help you fix these nail and screw pops.

Remove Drywall Tape

If the bulging nail head or screw head is beneath drywall tape, chances are the tape itself will be bulging. If it is, use a sharp utility knife to cut a circle in the paper and around the top of the bulging nail. Be careful when removing the small circle of cut paper. If it is not completely cut, the paper tape may tear away from the wall and cause you to repair more than you had planned.

Remove the Nail or Screw

Remove the bulging nail with the claws of your hammer by pulling it toward you. If the nail is not loose and resists being pulled, place a hard surface such as a piece of masonite or plywood under the hammer's head to keep it from denting the wall when you pry the nail out of its hole. If you are removing a loose screw that doesn't come out when it's turned, use the same process used for pulling the nail.

Drive in a New Nail or Screw

Into the hole from which you drew the bulging nail, use a screwdriver or drill to drive in a 1 1/2 inch screw. Be sure the screw head is counter sunk far enough into the drywall that you'll be able to cover it with drywall compound. If you're replacing a bulging screw, replace the screw with a long one. If necessary, use your drill to drive the screw deeper into the wall stud.

Cover Nail with Compound

Apply drywall compound (mud) to the drywall, using your drywall knife and covering the hole made by the old nail screw. If you're using pre-mixed drywall, mix it with water if it has become too thick or dry.


Once it is dry, sand the dry mud with fine sandpaper or a sanding sponge. If the sanded surface still has lines, dents, or is uneven, apply additional coats of mud, allow to dry, then sand until the surface is entirely smooth. Then wipe away dust from the sanding, Apply primer and allow to dry. Use a clean paintbrush to apply paint that will match the paint on the wall.