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what causes nail pops in drywall

What Causes Nail Pops in Drywall?

Have you noticed small bumps or circles bulging out of your drywall? These are likely nail pops, or nail heads popping out of the wall frame. These imperfections can be unsightly, challenging to paint over, and potentially indicative of an underlying problem with your home’s construction. 

Even if you don’t mind the look of nail pops, identifying their source is important to protecting your home’s integrity. Learn what causes nail pops in drywall and what you can do about them. 

What Are Nail Pops in Drywall? 

Nail pops are small bumps, cracks, or splits in the wall that occur due to a nail head protruding into the drywall. They’re more common in older homes that use large roofing nails in wall construction instead of drywall screws. But they can also occur in newer homes when drywall screws shift around in the wood frame. 

Nail pops can range in severity depending on how harshly the nail head is pushing into the drywall. They may look like a very small, round bulge. Other times, the nail completely breaks through the drywall, leading to cracks or splits around a circular center point. 

Nail pops interrupt the otherwise smooth appearance of the wall. Painting over them requires a little extra care than rolling paint on a smooth surface. You’ll also be able to see them no matter how many coats of paint you apply, creating an eyesore in your space. 

However, nail pops sometimes point to a structural problem in your home as well. If you see more than one or two nail pops throughout your property, you’ll want to look into their cause to rule out any major foundation problems. 

Common Causes of Nail Pops 

What causes nail pops in drywall? There isn’t always a single answer. Your wall may have developed nail pops due to a few different issues, and most aren’t outwardly visible. That’s why you need a drywall repair company in Tucson to evaluate the underlying cause of the nail pops before you can adequately mitigate them. 

These are the most common causes of nail pops in drywall.

Subpar Construction Materials

Nail pops occur when the nail or drywall screw shifts out of the wood framing and bulges into the drywall. It makes sense that cheap or subpar construction materials would be the main cause of this issue. 

Drywall nails and screws that are made of durable materials and that adequately latch onto the wood won’t shift much over time. But if your home builders skimped on quality during the drywall installation — or your home is fairly old and uses antiquated building materials — you’re more likely to eventually see the nails and screws shift.

Natural Contraction in the Wood Frame

Wood naturally expands and contracts over time. This happens mainly when the wood loses or gains moisture. Losing moisture causes the wood to contract, while gaining moisture due to excessive humidity or failing insulation could cause the wood to expand. 

Slight shifts in the wood shouldn’t impact your home’s structure too severely. However, if you notice many drywall pops in a single area and you surmise they are from moisture, you may want to have your home’s insulation examined. 

Foundation Settlement 

The most concerning answer to what causes nail pops in drywall is foundation settlement. If your home’s foundation unevenly settles or shifts, it can place strain on the drywall and framing. It may lead the nails to pop out of the framing or cause the drywall to shift into the nails. 

How To Fix Drywall Nail Pops 

Fixing nail pops requires two main steps: identifying the source of the nail pops and repairing the drywall and framing. 

First, call a professional foundation inspector to evaluate your home’s foundation and determine whether it has significantly shifted. If it has, you need to repair it as soon as possible to prevent further issues. Foundation problems can lead to floor cracking, sloping floors, and the instability of your home’s structure. 

After you have assessed the cause of the nail pops and gotten the all-clear, you can call a drywall repair company to fix the cosmetic damage from the nail pops. Drywall repair professionals will:

  • Uncover the nailhead
  • Push it back into the wood frame
  • Add drywall screws to the frame for additional support
  • Patch holes and leave behind a smooth surface

Fix Unsightly Nail Pops With Goodwin & Sons Painting

At Goodwin & Sons Painting, we provide comprehensive exterior and interior painting services, including drywall repair. Wondering what to do about stucco delamination? Call us today at 520-990-2445 to learn more about what causes nail pops in drywall and to schedule a repair service. See how we can help.

drywall installation, foundation problem, nail pops, newer home, wood frame