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Repairing Nail Pops and Holes in Drywall Before Painting

Popped drywall nails are common in both old and new homes. It is rare for screws to pop, and in most cases you will be dealing with nails. Nail pops are caused by framing wood drying and pushing the nails out. As a result, a bump appears on the wall. It is not a dangerous situation. It just looks unsightly, and you might want to fix it or get it fixed.
It can be fixed any time, but the area will need to be re-spackled and repainted. Therefore, it is most logical to do it at the time of a complete repainting project, since you would probably want to fix the wall imperfections anyway.

Hole in the drywall is a more extensive damage and needs a more serious repair. However, they both can be done by a do-it-youself-ers. Here is how to do it.

Fixing Nail Pops

First, remove the drywall over the pop to expose the nail/screw. Bevel the edges of the hole and make sure there are no loose, shaggy pieces of paper.

Then do one of the following if you are dealing with a popped nail:
1. use a screwdriver or hammer to drive the nail back into the studs and then bracket each nail head with closely spaced drywall screws;
2. remove the nail and drive a screw in its place, along with a second screw nearby, to re-secure the drywall to the stud.
If you are dealing with a popped screw, back it out and put a new one next to the hole.

Note: When using drywall screws, be sure to recess the heads slightly, creating a dimple in the drywall surface that can be covered with joint compound, but be careful not to tear through the paper surface. If you do tear the paper, drive another screw properly nearby.

Now, fill the old hole and the holes from the new screws with a lightweight drywall compound. Wait until it dries and spackle again. You might need to put three layers of compound depending on the depth of the holes. Sand the area, dust off, and then prime and paint.

Fixing Holes

If the hole is small (up to 6 inches), buy a special patch. It has a reinforced center and is usually self-adhesive, so you can stick it to drywall over the hole. Before doing that, remove any loose pieces from the hole. Using a utility blade, bevel the edges and remove any shaggy pieces of paper from the edges. After that, adhere the patch to the wall over the hole and cover it with drywall compound. Several coats will be needed to smooth out the area. Sand, dust off, prime, and paint.

For larger holes, there are two ways to repair them:

1. Make an opening that is 1 inch larger than the hole vertically (above and below) and extends to the centers of the studs left and right from the hole. That means you need to cut to the studs left and right and then cut a little more so that the opening ends on the center of the studs. Measure the opening and cut a piece of drywall to size to insert6 into the opening.

2. a. Measure the hole and then cut a scrap piece of drywall that is slightly larger than the hole’s diameter.
b. Place drywall piece over the damaged area and trace around it with a pencil.
c. Use a drywall or reciprocating saw to cut out the area within the traced lines.
d. Cut two pieces of 2×4 studs slightly larger than the hole. Position the 2x4s vertically inside the hole on each side of the hole. (It is not necessary to reinforce the horizontal edges of the replacement drywall.) Secure the studs pieces to the drywall with drywall screws.
e. Set the new drywall into the hole and secure to the stud pieces with screws.

Now, trim the edges so they are neat with no lose pieces and shaggy paper. Lay strips of fiberglass tape over the patched area. Extend the tape a few inches beyond the patch but do not overlap the tape. Fill the seams with a drywall compound and then cover the entire area with a thin coat. More layers will be needed, so let dry and repeat several times as needed. You may want to lightly sand between the coats.

Finish by dusting off, priming and painting.

Now you know how to repair the most common drywall problems and are surely on your way to perfect painted walls. However, if you use Colorwise and More to paint your home or place of business, you won’t have to deal with those issues yourself. We will gladly take care of any wall imperfections before painting.

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