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Drywall Nail Pops

Drywall nail pops are problem signs to keep an eye on because they can be fairly benign or very serious. Inspection is necessary to identify the nature of the issues in a home.

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If you have seen a number of small, circular cracks or holes in drywall panels around your property, you may be dealing with “nail pops.” Drywall nail pops are incredibly common in and around Denver, and though they can look fairly alarming, many homeowners don’t pay attention to them. This is understandable because drywall nail pops can often be connected to very small issues around a property, or even related to issues that are localized to the drywall itself. 

Nonetheless, we urge you to keep a close eye on drywall nail pops, especially if you see a lot of them around your property. While nail pops can be a sign of minor issues in the drywall itself, there is also a chance that these cracks and holes can be connected to much more serious problems in a property. 

What Are Drywall Nail Pops? 

Drywall nail pops are signs that your drywall panels are moving in some way, and that the nails that hold them in place have pushed through them as a result. Nail pops can appear in the walls and ceilings of a property, though they are most commonly found in walls and take the form of small circular bulges. 

The bulges or holes are created by the head of the nails as they push through the paint or wallpaper that covers them. This can cause the formation of unsightly cracks, especially if you have painted over the drywall. Drywall nail pops are also considered cosmetic imperfections, which is somewhat misleading as they are never purely cosmetic, even when the damage is localized to a singular drywall panel. 

Should I Worry About Drywall Nail Pops? 

You should pay attention to drywall nail pops and make sure that you give them the attention they require. While drywall nail pops can be nothing serious, they can also be problem signs for wider problems such as: 

Foundation Damage 

There is a chance that the drywall nail pops in your home are a problem sign for serious and widespread structural issues like foundation damage. Things like settlement and subsidence can cause a huge amount of damage to many parts of a home. The structural movement and deformation that often accompany these issues can cause drywall nail pops as the frames that the drywall panels are attached to move will affect the structure of the home. 

If this is the case, you will find drywall nail pops throughout your property, though there may be some areas that have more than others. You will also be likely to see some additional signs of structural damage in the floors and ceiling around the most heavily impacted drywall panels. 

bowing wall

Bowing or Leaning Wall 

If the drywall nail pops in your home are localized around one or two walls, it is very likely that they are a problem sign of damage to these walls in particular. If the walls behind the drywall and framing have started to deviate from their original placement as a result of excessive pressure, this could cause drywall nail pops. 

Bowing walls are quite recognizable. As the wall leans or bows inward, it will eventually cause the drywall panels to deform too. By this point, the damage will be very advanced so it is better to act quickly and investigate drywall nail pops when you first see them. 

Improper Drywall Installation 

Finally, there is a chance that the drywall nail pops around your home are simply a result of improper drywall installation around your home. If this is the case, the drywall nail pops could either be localized or spread throughout your home. This can make it hard to determine when nail pops are a sign of wider damage or simply the result of improper installation. 

The best way to determine whether drywall in your home was improperly installed is to contact a foundation repair professional and allow them to assess your home and look for other signs of damage. 

These issues can cause the formation of a number of additional problem signs that go beyond drywall nail pops. Learning to spot these further problem signs can help you catch issues in your home before they spiral out of control. 

Additional Problem Signs 

When professionals assess a home that has some form of damage at work, they often use the problem signs that are visible to help them in diagnosing the underlying causes and co-occurring issues. This can make annual maintenance from local experts more effective and help safeguard your home before the damage becomes serious. 

The problem signs that are most commonly found alongside drywall nail pops are: 

Stains and Discoloration 

If you see any cosmetic damage to the drywall panels that are also experiencing nail pops, you should consider this a problem sign. The nature of the issues can be used to indicate what might be at work in your home. For example, if there is a lot of staining and discoloration in the drywall panels, this could be a sign of water damage. Water damage can occur because of leaking pipes but also as a result of moisture getting into a home through cracks in its walls or flooring. 

Mold and Wood Rot 

damp basement also promotes mold growth

Mold and wood rot are almost guaranteed to take root in a home that has issues with moisture and humidity, and because of the materials used to make drywall panels, they are particularly vulnerable. If you find organic-looking formations of black, gray, brown, or green on your drywall, it is likely that this is mold. You should not touch it as there is a chance that it could be toxic. Instead, you should call a professional to assess the risk. 

Wood rot, by contrast, is more likely to impact the frames used to support drywall panels. If these frames are being impacted by wood rot, their appearance and texture will change. For example, you will likely find that rotting wood will take on a slightly burned or honeycombed appearance and a spongy or brittle texture.   

Floor and Wall Gaps 

Seeing gaps between your floor and walls can either be alarming or no big deal, depending on your past experiences. While it is true that some older homes may have a small gap between their floors and walls, caused by the relaxation of the property and age of the materials, most of the time these gaps are a sign of damage to the floor or walls. 

The most likely causes are joist damage or movement in the walls themselves. If you see drywall nail pops, it is far more likely that movement in the walls is a key factor. 

Sticking Windows and Doors 

Sticking windows and doors in a home are rather like drywall nail pops in that they can either be a sign of localized issues or wider structural damage. In both cases, context is key to understanding just what is happening and determining how it is best to proceed. If you notice that doors and windows in a certain area of your home have started to stick and jam without an obvious cause, it is possible that structural movement and damage are deforming the frames. 

If these doors and windows are in an area that has widespread nail pops, the likelihood of a structural issue is increased once more. It is best to investigate thoroughly before the problems become far more serious in nature. 

Spreading Cracks 

Wall Crack in basement

Not all cracks in a property are something to worry about, but it always pays to be mindful of cracks and make sure they are not spreading. While stable hairline cracks are generally nothing more than a sign of the natural relaxation of a property after construction, cracks that actively grow in length or depth are a serious problem sign that indicates the presence of ongoing pressure. 

If you see spreading cracks in the ceiling or flooring around drywall panels that have nail pops, it is likely that there is structural damage at work. 

Uneven Floors 

If you find uneven floors in a property that also has drywall nail pops, there is a good chance that one of the contributing factors is some kind of structural or foundation damage or damage to the joists that support the flooring (assuming it is wooden). Proper investigation of this issue will be necessary to determine how deep the problems go. 

You don’t have to wait until your floor is uneven or sagging to act, however. Your floors should be firm and stable underfoot at all times. If you feel that the floor is springy and bouncy, you could save yourself a lot of trouble by investigating quickly. 

If you see these problem signs in tandem with drywall nail pops in your home you should call a professional to help assess the issues in your home and make a decision as to what is best for your property. This is where the team at Complete Basement Systems comes in. 

Drywall Nail Pops


Drywall nail pops can be caused by a number of different issues in a home. Some are benign, while others are incredibly severe. This makes them fairly unique as a problem sign, and this problem is only compounded by the fact that many homeowners don’t know what drywall nail pops are. If you have seen the characteristic, round holes or marks that drywall nail pops leave, these are the most likely causes. 

Structural Damage and Movement 

While there are many smaller potential causes of drywall nail pops, one of the most common severe causes is some kind of structural damage or movement. This can mean things like foundation settlement or sinking and bowing walls but can also be linked to less damaging processes like the relaxation of newly constructed properties. If this is the case, the nail pops will present themselves fairly soon after construction, so if you have an older home and the drywall nail pops have occurred recently, this is unlikely to be the case. 

Structural damage or movement is most likely to affect homes around Colorado Springs because of issues with the weather and expansive soils that are so common in this area. Incredibly wet weather, for example, will cause the soil to swell and become marshy as it is saturated. This can lead to subsidence, and as the weight of a property becomes unevenly distributed, it can put huge amounts of pressure onto the structure of the home. This can lead to spreading cracks, leaning or bowing walls, and drywall nail pops as drywall is separated from its framing. Excessive dehydration, by contrast, will cause the soils to shrink and become brittle and may lead to foundation settlement. This can put a strain on a home and lead to many issues, including drywall nail pops. 

Improper Drywall Installation 

There is also a strong possibility that you are experiencing drywall nail pops because the drywall itself was improperly installed in the first place. This is not overly common since drywall installation is a fairly straightforward process that professionals undertake thousands of times every year. This can mean the use of poor-quality or twisted framing members, for example, or the installation of drywall too far away from the studs. 

Alternatively, improper installation can mean the miscalculation of the thickness of drywall panels and the required length of the nails required to properly affix those panels. If the nails used to hold your drywall in place are too short, the likelihood of nail pops will increase greatly. The chance of the affected drywall separating from its framing altogether will increase dramatically in this case.

There are many people who prefer to wait until a problem has become impossible to ignore before they act, but we recommend that you do not wait this long before dealing with your drywall nail pops. There are a few reasons we urge quick action, but the most pressing is the likelihood of underlying structural damage. 

The Downsides of Waiting 

Waiting to address any form of damage in a home carries some degree of risk, no matter how small the damage in question may seem. This is because even the smallest form of damage can be the tip of the iceberg and have a connection to much more serious forms of damage in a property. For example, drywall nail pops could be the most visible problem sign of something incredibly serious like foundation damage. 

There also is a high chance that this damage you’re seeing in your home is connected to serious underlying issues that can snowball out of control and cause further avoidable damage within your property. This will increase the costs associated with repairing the issues that have caused your drywall nail pops (as well as the other problem signs that may be showing themselves). 

The Benefits of Quick Action 

The most immediate benefits of acting quickly when there are drywall nail pops around your property are an understanding of what is happening in your home and the chance to keep your repair costs low. This reduction in costs is partly to do with the fact that acting quickly can prevent the formation and spread of secondary and tertiary forms of damage. 

Calling in a professional quickly will also give you a chance to preemptively deal with smaller connected issues before they have a chance to grow. You also could save yourself a lot of worry by finding out the reason you have drywall nail pops is purely cosmetic in nature. This is the best possible outcome when you see drywall nail pops in your home.

Repairing foundation damage, which is often the root cause of drywall nail pops, is a process that is both complex and intensive. This is why you should not attempt to undertake this work alone. Doing so could have incredibly negative impacts on your home as a whole. Getting professional help, however, will yield far more consistent and effective results. 

The Benefits of Professional Work 

Hiring a professional to undertake your foundation repairs is a great idea for a number of reasons including cost-effectiveness, durability, and time. Professionals have everything they need already on hand including the tools, training, products, and perhaps most importantly, the experience to deal with foundation damage as well as the many secondary issues it can cause. This is particularly good because it is often these secondary issues that catch DIY enthusiasts by surprise. 

Professional repairs tend to be quicker and less disruptive to your property than DIY repairs would be. This speed is part of what makes professional repairs more cost-effective when it comes to serious structural repairs like those required when there is foundation damage. Add to this the durability of professional-grade tools and products, and the overall cost of repairs becomes lower because of the lower likelihood of the recurrence of damage. 

Why You Shouldn’t Try DIY 

Just as there are a number of benefits attached to seeking professional help for your foundation problems, there are also a number of potential dangers to attempting a DIY solution. As well as the risk of increased costs due to the need to hire heavy excavation and installation equipment and buy the actual repair products, there is the matter of safety. DIY repairs are risky precisely because structural repairs involve dealing with a home that has become inherently unstable. 

There is risk involved in any structural repair, even when they are undertaken by professionals. The difference is that learning to manage this risk is something that professionals learn to do as a part of their training. When you consider the reduced risk, increased quality, and generally higher cost-effectiveness that comes with professional repairs, it just makes sense to let the experts deal with your damaged foundation.

Call Complete Basement Systems for Quality Foundation Repair 

Whether your drywall nail pops are localized to one area or found throughout your home, it is important that you act quickly to ensure that there are no serious underlying causes at work. Here at Complete Basement Systems, we have the knowledge, skills, and experience to deal with the potential causes of drywall nail pops. 

Contact us today to schedule your free inspection and estimate. We will send a skilled and highly trained professional to your home to assess the damage to your drywall and determine the underlying causes (as well as any co-occurring issues). Once they have assessed your home, they will provide you with a written estimate for the cost of repairs.

Serving Greater Denver area, Colorado Springs, Eastern Colorado, and parts of Nebraska and Wyoming

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707 County Line Rd.
Palmer Lake, CO 80133

Denver, CO

4686 Ivy St
Denver, CO 80216