Repairing Popped Nails

Before painting, surface flaws need to be found and fixed. If you've got a nail coming of the surface, the time to fix it is now, before you even dip your brush.

What You'll Need
These are the drywall repair tools to use when fixing popped nails:
  • Hammer or screwdriver
  • Nail set
  • Drywall nails or screws
  • Putty knife
  • Spackling compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or primer
  • Paintbrushes

In most newer homes, the walls are surfaced with gypsum wallboard, also known as drywall. Drywall, like all building materials, has its own characteristics and problems.

One of the most common problems results from
shrinking or warping in the framing behind the drywall. As the wood studs age and shrink, drywall nails and screws loosen and pop out of the wood, producing an unsightly bump or hole in the surface.

No matter how many times you drive the nails back in, the problem is likely to recur, so it's better to fix it permanently the first time around.

Here's how to fix nail pops in drywall:

Step 1: Redrive popped nails. If nails are sticking out far enough to get claw of hammer around them, pull them out first. To redrive them, hold nail set over nail head and hammer nail as far as you can into stud. Nail head will punch through drywall's outside layer of paper and into drywall itself.

You can generally do the same thing with drywall screws. If the head has separated from the shaft (evident if the head spins without resistance when you put a screwdriver to it), you can also dig the head out carefully and remove it entirely.

First, pound the popped nail or screw back into the drywall.
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Use a nail set to drive a popped nail as far into the stud as possible.
Step 2: To make sure nail stays in place (and to take pressure off it), or to replace the holding power of the screw head, drive another drywall nail or  screw through wallboard and into stud about 2 inches above or below old nail. Pound nail flush with wall and then give it one more light hammer whack to "dimple" drywall surface around nail head. Drywall screws will countersink themselvces.

Step 3: Using putty knife, cover new nail/screw head and fill hole over old one with spackling compound.

Step 4: Let dry, then lightly sand area. Since spackling compound shrinks as it dries, you may need to repeat process once or twice more. Touch up patches with paint or primer.

Not what you're looking for? Try these helpful articles:
  • House Painting: Ready to tackle a house painting project? Gather helpful tips on both interior and exterior painting in this home improvement article.
  • House Painting Tools: Before taking on any painting project, make sure you have the tools you'll need to do the job well. This article will help.
  • Repairing Drywall Holes: Find out how to fill those unsightly holes in drywall in this helpful article.
  • Scrubbing and Sanding Surfaces: Find out about these necessary painting preparation steps only at HowStuffWorks.
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