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How To Prevent Nail and Screw Pops In Drywall

How To Prevent Nail and Screw Pops In Drywall

Nail and screw pops in drywall are an inevitable part of the process. The average house has 30,000 fasteners in the walls and ceilings. So, you are likely to notice a few pops. However, you do not want to deal with a cluster in one area or too many throughout the house. Hundreds of them occurring can be a serious problem. Keep reading to learn how you can prevent nail and screw pops in drywall.

Why Do They Appear?

Understanding why the pops appear in the drywall can help you figure out how to prevent it from happening. Two main reasons cause nail and screw pops in drywall, either the drywaller installed them too deep or the studs expanded and contracted.

Driving the screw too deep into the drywall and through the stud will cause it to pop. A thin, paper-like material covers drywall panels; that is not a lot of protection, and driving a screw in too deep means it will penetrate the paper.

Constant expansion and contraction of the screws and nails can also cause a pop. The studs are wood and will expand or contract depending on the environment they are in. Studs will absorb moisture in humid and warm areas. In dry areas, they will release moisture. Absorption causes expansion, and release causes contraction.

Prevention Tactics

You will need to follow these tips to prevent these issues from occurring. Again, a few screw and nail pops will happen over time. However, twelve showing up in one day is concerning and preventable.

Watch for Moisture

Since we know the environment has a lot to do with the pops, you need to monitor the moisture level in and around the home to ensure a successful drywall installation. Store all your materials in a controlled environment. When you control the environment, you control the project’s outcome.

Place the lumber in a dry area to avoid shrinkage. It is also a good idea to cover the wood with a cotton or plastic tarp. The material does not really matter, just as long as the covering is not wet. Shrinkage can cause the fasteners to pull through the drywall after hanging it.

You will also need to control the moisture of the drywall. Track the moisture levels throughout the project. Use a moisture tracker to get an accurate reading. It should not be more than 14 percent; anything higher will require reevaluation and a new project timeline.

Choose the Right Materials

Screw pops in drywall are rarer than nail pops. Choosing to work with screws rather than nails could make the process easier for you. You may not encounter so many problems down the road.

Driving a nail into a piece of wood causes the threads near its tip to grasp the material and hold the nail there. The nail’s shaft is smooth, so it does not hold onto anything. So, once the wood expands, the smooth surface could cause the nail to slip free, resulting in a nail pop.

Using screws to fasten drywall instead of nails is more common. Though more contractors use this drywalling method, there is no rule against using nails. However, going with the option that will cause the least number of problems down the road will always be preferable.

Check the Positioning

As you prepare to drive the screws into the drywall, check your drill’s positioning. Positioning is key to the drywall’s stability and prevention of screw pops. Any screws not set deep enough are easy to spot and correct immediately.

However, the ones that are set in too deep are not easily noticeable. These deeper-set screws can pop once the drywall shifts. Check the positioning of the drywall screws and the drywall sheet. Push the drywall up tight against the wall to avoid creating a void between it and the studs. Driving the screws deeper doesn’t solve the problem; all it does is invite a new one.

Monitor the depth in which you set the screws. Make sure you are on point with your measurements.

Use the Correct Length

Finding and using the correct screw length is vital. Using just any screw will not do. The length you need varies depending on the thickness of the drywall. Generally speaking, your screws should be hitting a depth of five-eighths of an inch to three-quarters of an inch into the framing member.

Therefore, you need a screw that measures one-and-one-quarter of an inch in length. This length is typical for attaching a half-inch and five-eighths of an inch of drywall. Anything longer will be too hard to drive straight, and an environment with too much moisture does not work well with longer screws.

The framing will swell and shrink, eventually causing the screws to pop. Drywall thicker than the five-eighths inch depth might require a different size screw.

Go With Fewer Screws

Remember, less is more. Do not overdo it when it comes to the screws. Some may think using more screws is better because it provides more security, but all it does is disagree with the lumber and the drywall.

The standard distance between screws or nails is 16 inches, with one fastener in each corner and two in the field. Maintaining that structure or distance will be difficult with too many screws or nails along the lumber. Setting the screws closer will not make it more secure.

Work across the panel lengthwise to pull the drywall closer to the framing, which will ensure it is secure without the need for more screws. Use your drywall tools and accessories to make the process easier and keep everything aligned.

We pride ourselves on being well-informed on all things drywall and more at Timothy’s Toolbox. Aside from knowing how to prevent nail and screw pops in drywall, we have a wide range of knowledge on all things contracting and how to get the job done successfully. More importantly, we have the equipment to back it all up. Browse our site to discover and purchase the items you need to replenish or add to your toolbox.

How To Prevent Nail and Screw Pops In Drywall

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