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How To Repair Drywall with Popped Nails and Screws


One of the most common drywall repairs involves popped nails or screws. The fasteners used to hold sheets of drywall to framing may seem to "pop" away from the surface, leaving an unsightly bulge. This can happen for any one of several reasons, and it can happen on newly installed drywall just as easily as on older surfaces. Fortunately, it's an easy repair.

The same repair can be made to the reverse problem: small indentations in the drywall. These little dents usually occur when the joint compound used to cover the screws or nails shrinks.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: about 15 minutes for each pop

Here's How:

  1. Begin your repair by either removing or resetting the popped fastener. You will need a hammer if the drywall is held in place with nails or a screwdriver for screws. Driving the fastener a little deeper is usually the best option as long as you avoid tearing the paper or damaging the gypsum core.
  2. Drive a drywall screw into the framing an inch or two away from the popped fastener.
  3. Use a drywall knife to scrape away any loose material on the surface.
  4. If the paper surface on the drywall is torn or the gypsum core is damaged, skip to step 5. Otherwise, fill the hole with a thin layer of joint compound. After it dries, sand the surface lightly and repeat the process with one or two additional coats. When the repaired surface is flush with the rest of the drywall, proceed to step 6.
  5. If the paper or core is damaged, apply a piece of self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape over the area. Finish with three coats of joint compound as described in the previous step. Fill and cover the tape and feather the edges.
  6. When the joint compound has dried thoroughly, prime and paint the surface. This will be an easy process if you saved some of the paint used in the room or if the paint was an easy one to match (flat white, for example). Matching paint can be tricky, though. If you will have a lot of repaired spots to paint over, you may be better off repainting the entire room.

What You Need

  • Drywall screws (1 1/4 inch)
  • Screwdriver or cordless drill/driver
  • Drywall taping knife
  • Joint compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
Related Video
How to Fill Drywall Screw Holes
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