How to Fix Sheetrock Nails That Keep Popping Out
LESLIE: Bob in South Dakota is dealing with a drywall issue. What’s going on at your house?
BOB: We have a 1990s home and we had sheetrock nails that were put in that began popping, mainly toward the ceiling area and corners – inside corners, especially. And we had a contractor do – redo some. We redid some ourselves. One of the things they did and we did is we just drove the nails in and covered them and put a screw maybe 2 to 3 inches from it. But the nails reappeared after we did it. What’s the answer?
TOM: Well, it would if you just drove it back in and didn’t put a second nail that overlaps it.
LESLIE: And then it’s in the same hole, so it’s given the same movement area.
Now, what Tom mentioned with the second nail is you’re right putting a screw in; a screw is a great way to do that. But if you’re putting a screw in, I would have taken out the nail instead of giving it the space to come back out.
But what you can do, if you see the nail to start backing its way out, you can take a second nail and overlap it so that the two heads would overlap. So when you drive in the second nail, it pushes that first nail back down with it and will keep it in its place. Because the new nail is in fresh wood, so it’ll stay there. And then you go ahead and cover over it and sand it and spackle it, everything. Make it nice and smooth to prime and paint.
But a screw really is the best way, because those won’t back themselves out.
BOB: What do you think, in your professional opinion – I’ve listened to your show a lot and just as a plug for you guys, thanks a lot for all of the helpful hints. But what do you think has caused those screws to pop like that – or nails, I should say?
TOM: Normal expansion and contraction. You know, the nails that are used to attach drywall have a glue coating on them. They’re like a rosin coating. And when you drive the nail in, it’s supposed to kind of stick in the wall but it doesn’t. And as the walls expand and contract, they very often will back out. It’s really typical. It would be unusual for it, frankly, to not happen.
But the key is that when it does happen, if you just drive it back in it’s going to happen all over again. But if you were to overlap the old nailhead with a new nailhead so that you’re now creating sort of a second nail and a second nail hole that’s holding it in place, that’s effective. Or you pull out the drywall nail altogether and replace it with a drywall screw and it will never pull out.
The fact that you put the screw 2 or 3 inches from the old one will help keep that board tight but it’s not going to stop the drywall nail from expanding and contracting and pushing itself back out, as you’ve learned. You just – you really need to sort of reinforce it by overlapping the heads with a new nail.
BOB: OK. Yeah, that sounds good. And I think, from what I’ve seen, if we pull the old nail and put a screw in a ways away, I think that’s the best solution. Because then we don’t have any possibility of anything happening there again and doing away with the situation completely.
TOM: Trial and error is the best, right?
BOB: Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. Thank you for the great show.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.