First, the best method to
fix your existing nail pops is to make sure that the head
of the nail or screw is recessed about 1/32 inch. If it is
sticking up, do not drive it too deep or you will break
through the paper surface. If you do, the drywall will be
Next spread a little spackling compound over the nail pop
area. Let it dry and then sand it down. Lay a straight
edge over it to make sure that it is not too high. A
slightly raised spot is better than making it too shallow.
Let it dry thoroughly because the compound will shrink a
Paint the repaired area with drywall primer. Paint an area
larger than the fixed spot so that the larger area will
absorb the finished coat uniformly. This will make it
almost impossible to detect that a repair was made to the
The problem of nail pops can be caused by either improper
drywall installation procedures by your builder or by damp
lumber. Although lumber is supposedly kiln-dried, it can
pick up moisture over time, especially if it has been out
in the rain for a while.
Wall studs, which the drywall is nailed or screwed to,
shrink as they dry. Unfortunately, they shrink the
greatest amount (due to the orientation of the grain) in
its depth dimension (nominal 4 inches).
If the drywall is nailed against damp wall studs and the
studs shrink just a little as they dry, a tiny gap can
form between the drywall and the stud. It doesn't take
much. If the drywall is bumped and pushed back against the
stud, the nail head causes it to pop.
The best method to minimize nail pops is to use properly
dried lumber. Since your project is a room addition, store
the lumber in your garage, out of the rain, until it is
used. If possible delay your construction until the
weather is reasonably warm, but not during high humidity
Inspect the lumber as each piece is used because alignment
of the lumber is important to make sure that the drywall
makes good contact with it. Your builder can use any bowed
studs in other areas so it is not wasted.
Make certain that proper drywall nails and screws are used
and they are of the proper length. These are different
than ordinary fasteners. Drywall fasteners have specially
shaped heads so that they do not tear the paper when they
are recessed. For 1/2-inch drywall, 1 1/4-inch angular
ring shanked drywall nails work well.
If possible, have your builder wait a while to install the
drywall after the wall framing is complete and the room is
closed in. The longer you can wait, the better it is. This
allows time for the framing lumber to dry and for the
moisture content of all the pieces to stabilize.
The spacing of the screws and nails is equally important
to minimize future nail pops and other problems. The
maximum spacing for fasteners on drywall used for the
ceiling is 12 inches on centers. This means that a
four--foot wide panel should have at least five fasteners.
For wall panels, the fasteners can be 16 inches on