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Nail pops are a common issue with most newer homes. A nail pop occurs most often when drywall or wooden structural material (studs, joist, trusses) dries out and shrinks slightly, which causes the mounting nails or screws to protrude. The protrusion causes a small bump or bubble to appear. We show you how to fix nail pops in this do-it-yourself video.

Tools & Materials Needed

  • Putty knife.
  • Spackling compound or drywall joint compound. Do not use Plaster of Paris, because it shrinks and is harder to sand.
  • #2 Phillips head screwdriver.
  • Nail punch.
  • Hammer.
  • Sanding material. A sanding block or fine grit sanding sponge works best.
  • Texturing supplies,
  • Paint and painting supplies.

Steps To Fix a Nail Pop

  1. Use the Phillips screwdriver to see if the drywall is attached with screws or nails. If screws were used, the screwdriver should easily find the screw head slots in the center of the pop. Turn the screw in slightly until the screw head is recessed slightly beneath the surface. If a nail was used, use the nail punch and hammer to set the nail slightly deeper, just below the surface. Do not try to set the nails or screws too deep or they may lose their holding strength.
  2. If the paint or paper around the nail pop is loose, remove it with the edge of a screwdriver or putty knife. New filler material will be easier to sand. Try to avoid ripping the paper surface on the drywall.
  3. If the nail pop is in the ceiling, use an additional drywall nail or screw within an inch of the pop to reinforce the mounting strength.
  4. Using the putty knife, apply a small amount of spackling or joint compound to the new recess formed by setting the nail or screw. Allow this to dry, sand slightly, then apply another coat. Do not apply any more spackling or joint compound than you need to cover nail pop area. When dry, sand the area once again. You should not be able to feel either a bump or dent when you run your fingers over the former nail pop.
  5. if the ceiling or wall is textured, apply the proper texture repair materials. Allow this to dry according to the instructions provided with the materials.
  6. Touch up the spot with matching paint. You should not need a paint roller for small areas. The paint over most nail pop areas can be applied with a good quality 1.5 inch or 2 inch wide paint brush. Any areas wider than 3 or 4 inches will most likely require a paint roller. Most hardware and paint stores sell 3 or 4 inch wide foam paint rollers, which are ideal for making small repairs.

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