Tips for Preventing Nail Pops in Drywall

Nail or screw pops occur from time to time. The average house has about 25,000 to 35,000 fasteners, so a dozen screw pops is normal, but when you’re getting hundreds, you have a serious problem and a very expensive callback. Here are some construction tips to help prevent screw and nail pops so you save time and money.

Check your positioning: Screws not set in far enough are easy to see and fix, but when screws are set too far in, they are harder to identify. The paper facing is really thin and the odd screw set too deep won’t show up easily, but will pop with structural shifting. Check the depth of the screws and ensure that you are on point. If you’re getting callbacks, check your crew’s fastener positioning before taping and mud.

Use the right length screw: Your screws should be hitting a depth of 5/8-inch to ¾-inch into the framing member.  In order to achieve that, it’s normal to use 1-1/4 inch screws when attaching ½-inch and 5/8-inch drywall. Screws that are too long are harder to drive straight. As the framing swells and shrinks with ambient moisture, screws that are too long are more likely to pop.

Don’t overdo it: More screws aren’t necessarily better—every 16 inches is standard with one fastener in each corner, and two in the field. Work across the panel lengthwise to pull the drywall closer to the framing.

Control your environment: Store your drywall onsite in the home. Turn on the HVAC system during this time so that the drywall can acclimate to the home’s environment. Test your drywall to ensure that the moisture content is around 14% with the framing less before hanging. Keep humidity low while taping.

Use drywall adhesive: Always use an approved adhesive to prevent nail and screw pops.

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