There used to be this commercial on the radio here in Columbus, OH-IO (You will understand this OH-IO if you are a Buckeye fan as everyone should be. If you are a fan of that team up north, sorry about your luck!). It had two friends talking about their search for a home to buy and move into. I can’t remember the specific details, but the one said something like “All I know is that I don’t want a USED home”. LOL! Although not everyone wants a brand new house, some people definitely do want a newer built home. I can’t believe that some people out there don’t want a creaky, drafty, non-level, non-plumb old house just for the charm! OK, I have to admit that when I say this I even question myself for loving my old 1923 Clintonville house. Sometimes I do an inspection on a house that is only 5-10 years old and I love the fact that doors and windows close smoothly, wiring is all up to date, the closets will fit more than a couple of pairs of shoes and a few shirts, etc. We have one closet where the depth of the closet is so shallow that you can’t hang a hanger on a clothes rod because the door won’t shut. This being said, new homes have their problems as well and I thought I would pick a project for the adolescent house crowd. That is, young houses not babies who buy houses, FYI.
This issue is something that I call “nail-pops”. When drywallers hang drywall, they will many times use nails around the perimeter of the sheet of drywall to hold the drywall in place quickly and then go back when their hands are free and use screws to fill in and secure the sheet of drywall. Now, this sounds all well and good but a couple of things can happen. The drywall may not be supported well enough and the weight of the drywall works the nail out of the stud and the head of the nail will “pop” through the mud topcoat and show a bit. The other issue has more to do with the quality of the wood studs that we use these days. The wood is typically not seasoned and still has tons of moisture in it. As the house ages a bit, the wood dries out and shrinks a little which can also work the nails loose and allow them to poke through the mud topcoat and peep through. You will see these nail-pops in ceilings mostly and usually around the edges of the ceiling.
First let me reassure you, the drywall isn’t going to fall down. This is more of an aesthetic concern than anything. If you lived in an old house like mine you would quickly get over these little piddling blemishes but noooooo, you had to buy a pretty new house. What to do? Well, the first misconception that homeowners have is to just pound that nail back in and patch with some mud (aka drywall compound). If that nail pulled out once, and I’m not much of a betting man mind you, I would bet that it might do that again. If you have ever done drywall repair, particularly sanding of said drywall repair, you know that you want to do as little as possible and what you do repair you would like it to last. The tip I have for you is to screw in a drywall SCREW a couple of inches away from the nail till it sucks in the drywall and holds it in place. Now you can sink the nail as well (or pull out, or pull out and replace with a screw. There are many options) and then patch with the mud. Voila, the screw will hold if done properly and you won’t have to worry about this spot ever again.
I have glossed over many things in this article such as properly screwing the drywall screw so it holds, mudding, sanding, etc but this is best left for another post and possibly a video. You can’t have everything spoon fed to you at once. Hopefully this will help, though. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer your query.
Thanks for reading,
That Home Inspection Guy