Nail Pops In New Construction – What To Do?

Nail pops are when the head of nails protrudes from finished drywall. This problem cracks paint and ruins that sleek new construction look. So you are wondering, what are you supposed to do with nail pops in new construction? You are reading the right post as we fully answer your question here.

When you notice nail pops in new construction, here is the quick and easy way to repair the problem:

  1. Contact the Builder
  2. Set the Nails
  3. Add Screws
  4. Putty the Holes
  5. Paint to Match

Read the rest of this post for in-depth directions on how to fix nail pops in new construction. We also will cover the causes of nail pops and how to tell if the nail pops indicate a more serious issue. Finally, we answer several questions related to the topic of this post.

Roof nails popping through the plates they need to be replaced, Nail Pops In New Construction - What To Do?

What Causes Nail Pops in New Construction?

There are a few causes for nail pops in new construction. They include normal drying of wood and house settling, improper ceiling drywall attachment, and more serious structural issues. The normal drying and settling of your home is by far the most common reason for nail pops.

Normal Drying and Settling

In fact, most builders expect nails to pop around a year after construction. What happens is the framing wood dries and loses its grip on the nail. And then, as the home shifts slightly and expands and contracts with the seasons and daily temperature changes, the nail slowly and fractionally works out of the wood. The common nature of this problem means you should not worry when you see nail pops.

Improper Ceiling Drywall Attachment

This issue only appears if the roof and ceiling of your home are constructed with trusses. The trusses are designed to slightly shift with the expanding and contracting of your home during the day and seasons. Because of this normal shifting, ceiling drywall attached to trusses should be affixed using special fasteners and systems.

Roof trusses

If your contractor or builder did not properly attach the drywall to the trusses, you should expect significant nail pops on the ceiling. Further, this will cause the drywall to crack where the ceiling meets the wall. 

This situation is a serious oversite and should be fixed by removing the ceiling drywall and reinstalling it. Otherwise, you will get lots of nail pops and cracks for years. Remember, any nail pops not in the ceiling does not mean you have this problem. Only start worrying about truss attachment if the pops are very frequent and you see ceiling-wall joint cracks.

Serious Structural Issues

Do you notice nail pops and any of the following issues? Namely, cracks around doors and windows, significant foundation cracks, significant drywall cracks, or doors/windows that will not close properly. These issues, in combination, could indicate serious structural issues.

Old foundation and plaster wall with cracks

If you suspect that your home has serious issues and is starting to sag in one area, hire a structural engineer or contractor to come to take a look. Take the time and money to get a proper inspection as fixing this type of issue is much cheaper sooner rather than later. 

How to Fix Nail Pops

The vast majority of nail pops are not a serious issue. In fact, nail pops are relatively common about a year or so after a new home is built. Follow the following directions to fix the nail pops in your new home.

1. Contact the Builder

The first step to fix nail pops is to contact the builder. Some builders offer a warranty on their nail pops and will come back and repair the pops free of charge. However, since nail pops are quite common, do not be surprised if your contractor will not come back to repair your nail pops.

Remember, though, that a really dedicated home building might take the time to repair your nail pops. The small amount of extra effort on his part might be well worth the goodwill and good reviews it could lead to.

DIY Repair

You can always hire a handyman to come and fix your nail pops. It should not take them more than a couple of hours to fix even an extensive nail poping problem. However, fixing nail pops is a relatively easy do-it-yourself project, and the tools needed are very handy to have around the house.

Needed Tools

  1. Hammer
  2. Nail Set
  3. Screws (1-1/4" to 1-3/4")
  4. Screwgun/screwdriver
  5. Drywall Putty
  6. Putty Knife
  7. Paint to match and Painting Supplies

2. Set the Nails

Click here for an excellent nail set from Amazon.

Once you have collected your tools, follow these easy steps. First, use the nail set and hammer to set the nails into the drywall. After a few nails, you will get the hang of this. Set the nails deep enough, so their heads do not stick out, but shallow enough that there is still plenty of the half-inch drywall for them to hang onto.

3. Add Screws

Next, you will want to put screws through the drywall into the studs above and below the problem nails. This sucks the drywall tight to the wood and prevents movement in the area. If you skip adding additional screws now, you are likely to see additional nail-poping in the future. You might even see the same nails pop again.

Click here for some appropriate screws from Amazon.

As you add the screws, you might notice other nail pops occurring. Do not worry; you want to cause all of the nails to pop now right before you plan on doing repairs. If more nails pop, just set them as recommended above.

When adding the screws, screw them until the heads of the screws are just below the surface of the drywall. This makes the repair step much easier because it provides an easy place for the drywall repair putty to sit.

4. Drywall Repair

Click here for some drywall repair material from Amazon.

Now that you have set all the nails and added screws, you are ready to repair your drywall. Following the directions on the container, take the drywall repair putty and the putty knife and scrape the putty into all of the holes. 

Click here for a flexible putty knife from Amazon.

Some people prefer just using their fingers instead of a putty knife for faster application. Be careful not to scrape your paint with the putty knife. If you do end up getting putty on your walls where you do not want it, do not worry. Just take a damp cloth and wipe the area off.

5. Paint the Patches

The final step is to match your paint and paint over all the patches. This step is actually easier for new construction because there are usually a few paint cans left from the original build. Or, it is at least easy to track down the original paint color.

For small patches like the ones needed here, all you need is a paintbrush and a steady hand. If you are worried about getting a mess on your flooring, do take the time to put down a drop cloth or some other type of floor protection.

If you have tons of nail pops to fix, it might be worth it to repaint your home as you go. Read this article for some great painting ideas, "11 Fabulous Wall And Ceiling Color Combinations."

Are nail pops common in new homes?

Nail pops are very common in new homes. If the drywallers used nails, you could pretty much expect nail pops. For this reason, the appearance of nail pops alone is nothing worse than a minor inconvenience. 

Are nail pops in the ceiling dangerous?

Generally speaking, nail pops in the ceiling are only dangerous if you fall off the ladder while making the repairs. Nail pops do not indicate a structural issue or that the drywall might fall off the ceiling. Instead, nail pops are just a normal part of a new house settling. In rare cases, and if the nail pops are very widespread throughout a sheet of drywall, you might start to worry about the drywall detaching.

Read this article to learn more about the differences between vaulted and cathedral ceilings, "Vaulted Ceilings Vs. Cathedral Ceilings – Everything You Need To Know."

How much does it cost to fix nail pops?

Fixing nail pops ranges anywhere from about $5 to $100. If you already have the required tools and materials lying around, you will not need more than $5 of material that you cannot reuse (screws, putty, paint). However, if you do not have any tools or materials, expect to pay around $100 to get all you need.

In Closing

This post provided a how-to on how to fix nail pops in new construction with a needed materials and tool list. In addition, we cover the main causes of nail pops and the rare instances to be worried about this issue. We also include the answers to a few related questions. Good luck!

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