Nail pops are those little button-shaped notches you see coming out of your wall, often in a line of two or more. They’re like inverted dimples coming out from beneath the paint. Sometimes, they even crack through, and worse, the paint chips away only to reveal a nail head coming through the wall. This is a nail that was once pounded into the stud (or framing) of your home to affix the drywall (wallboard).
These days, screws have replaced nails for this purpose, and that’s exactly how you’re going to fix your nail pop problem. Nail head pops can occur if the nail wasn’t set well, but usually it’s because the wood of the wall’s framing has dried out from when it was originally installed. The wood shrinks as it dries and ends up pushing the nail head out just enough so that you start to see it come out of the wall. And yes, a nail pop can happen to relatively new construction.
Getting rid of those nail pops
While this is a straightforward job, there are a couple of steps to fixing nail pops.
The first is simply securing the wallboard to the stud more permanently. Do this by screwing in drywall screws (easy to find at any hardware store), 2 to 3 inches above and below the popping nail head. Make sure you center it with the popped nail, so you hit the framing.
As you push the screw in firmly (you want to drive the screw head just below the surface of the wall), the wall should hug the framing tighter now and the popped nail should actually come out further than it was already. Pry it out if you can, otherwise simply pound the popped nail head back in with a nail set.
Be sure to hammer it all the way through the wallboard because you don’t want to see that nail again! This hole and the dimple you just made with the screw will be easy to patch, sand and paint over. There, you’ll be glad to know how to fix nail pops.