Fix-It Friday: Bye-Bye Nail Pops… Hello Perfect Walls!

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A nail pop is an unsightly nub popping from beneath your drywall—kind of like a blind pimple under your skin. Sometimes the nail will pop so far, it will actually cause the drywall to crack off, revealing the head of the nail or screw. Why does this happen? Two reasons. There could have been error during the installation—the installer may not have pressed the wallboard firmly enough against the stud when fastening. That gap leaves room for the nail to pop. The other reason for nail pops is lumber shrinkage. As the lumber dries and moves away from the drywall, the nail may not—and pop goes the weasel.

Hammering nail pops back in place followed by a quick coat of spackle and paint will look good only until it finds it’s way back out again, so no point in trying to reset the popped nail.

For a perfect nail pop fix, you’ll need:

  • Newspaper
  • Dust Mask
  • Drywall Screws
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Putty Knife
  • Joint Compound or Spackle
  • Sanding Block

And then just follow these steps…

  1. With your putty knife, scrape away the raised drywall caused by the pop—being sure to clear away any loose debris.
  2. Set a screw about a 1 ½ inches above or below the pop, pressing against the drywall and being sure to hit the stud. (This will refasten that section.) Sink the screw enough to dimple the drywall, but not far enough to tear the paper of the drywall.
  3. Remove the old nail with the claw of your hammer, or if it’s a screw, unscrew it with drill.
  4. To patch your repair, load the putty knife with joint compound or spackle. At an angle, press the compound into the hole while passing the blade diagonally (left to right) along the surface of the hole and wall. Be sure that the entire crack is filled, so go over it if you must.
  5. Allow the patch to dry for several hours. Once it’s dry, check to see if the joint compound has shrunk leaving indentations. If this is the case, the patch will need another layer of compound. Repeat steps 3-5, only this time, pass the blade diagonally from right to left (this will fill in misses from the opposite direction—it works great).
  6. Once it’s all white and powdery, you can sand it, being sure to smooth the edges where the patch meets the wall surface. Wipe the patch to clean off the dust.

Paint the repair with a primer or your matching flat wall color. If your wall has a shine to its paint finish, like egg-shell or semi-gloss, you must give it a coat of primer or flat paint first–paint that has a shine to its finish will “flash” directly over a patch, which means it will leave a visible difference in finish compared to the rest of the wall.

If only zits were as easy to get rid of…

Norma sig

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Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.