Repair nail pops or live with them?

laurie_ky6January 29, 2008

My builder is about to deal with the repair issues I listed at the end of the one-year warranty. I mentioned that I noticed some nail/screw pops, and he told me to note their location so the dry wall guy could quickly identify them.

How important is it that these be fixed? Some of them that appeared soon after we moved in are not readily visible, and I'm tempted to just let them go. I've also noticed that others just appeared in the past couple of weeks, even though we've been through four seasons, and some of these are quite visible.

I know that repairs sometimes generate new pops. Should I just point out the really noticeable pops? I haven't been happy with some of the repairs for other problems, and the last thing I want is patchy looking walls. I'd sooner live with the pops.

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Why wouldn't you have them repaired. Why wouldn't the contractor do this on his own without involving you?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 5:38PM
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Why would he do it on his own? It's in his interest to do less work. Please, no "builders want their product to be its finest" comments. If I don't complain, a problem doesn't get fixed.

Why wouldn't I want them repaired? Ideally, having everything repaired would be dandy. I've just maxed out on the number of people treking through the house and the number of repairs that generated new issues. I have a day job of my own, and making appointments with subs and hanging around the house while they work eats away at my "billable hours."

I asked the questions to gauge how important it is to fix this particular problem.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 6:42PM
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Not really important structurally but if left un done, could worsen as the house settles w/ more pops. Kind of a domino effect in areas where there are many. By adding more screws in severe areas inbetween the existing pops, it shouldn't cause further damage. It is the responsibility of your builder/subs to take care of this compensating you as a d.i.y, or repairing themselves at no charge to you. You didn't want to hear this, but if your builder /subs care about reputation, they will make it right, bottomline. It's still unfortunately going to cost you personal lost time at what you do unless you can get a friend or family member to babysit the builder or subs as they repair. I would insist they make it right one way or another.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 7:10PM
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So don't fix them.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 7:10PM
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Nail/screw pops are not a warranty item where I build, though some builders will do it as a matter of goodwill. I'll repair, but not repaint.

Construction Performance Guidelines for the Ontario Home Building Industry@ p. 160 says:

"The repair of surface blemishes resulting from normal shrinkage is at the builder's discretion and sanding and repainting is not required."

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 10:14PM
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In 40 years I have not seen a nail used to install drywall and I have not seen a screw pop although drywall cracked at corners in a large open cathedral-ceiling space. Whether screw pops were corrected before I could see them or they didn't occur, I can't say.

If I did run into a lot of screw pops I would suspect that the lumber was either not kiln-dried or it had been stored improperly or fine rather than coarse thread screws were used, or the installer had not seated the drywall or the screws well.

In any case it would be a warranty item for at least a year after completion of construction.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 9:24AM
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Finding it interesting that drywallers were using screws in the late sixties. They didn't come into play until the early eighties out here and "drywall" screws weren't available until then as well. Guess we were way behind the times!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 11:00AM
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Maybe it's different elsewhere, but kiln-dried lumber is rarely used for construction here.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 11:15AM
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Drywall has been installed with screws since metal studs were invented and that goes back more than 40 years and all the residential installers changed over about that time as well. I bought my first screw-gun in '73.

Kiln-dried S-P-F dimension lumber is the standard for builders and suppliers in New England if for no other reason than it is cheaper to ship.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 12:15PM
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Interesting. I hadn't thought of commercial as there was meal studding out here in the late sixties so obviously screws were used there. I never payed too much attention outside of residential.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 1:24PM
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To the best of my understanding, warranty items are defined more by the individual contract, not necessarily by guidelines or codes.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:33PM
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if you are talking about a naill pop here and there - then there is no urgency on having those fixed. If you see a pattern - or a bunch of nail pops in a row - then you might want to see if there is some other issue cuasing the pops. Sometimes a slow drip leak can cause the drywall to absorb the water - make it heavy - and then you might get a bunch of pops in a row (usually with some discoloration).

I understand what you mean about the people messing up the house and the schedule. It's not just the fixing of the pop - it is the sanding, then the painting - and the mess that these guys leave behind. It's also about having someone wait around - sometimes for no shows - that is an absolute pain in the rump.

I would suggest having them fix nail pops that are really hard for you to get at - or those in high visibility areas that just look bad. Who wants to climb up a ladder 20' to fix a nail pop? But if you have pops in closets ar other areas that don't bother you - then fix them yourself on your own schedule. Or - find a good handy person who will do it - and make sure they work cleanly and clean up when they are done. Remember the show Murphy Brown and the live in, full time painter? Somebody like that.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 9:49AM
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live in, full time painter? Somebody like that.

He died of a heroin overdose, the needle still in his arm when he was found on the toilet by an assistant.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 1:32PM
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If your builder is willing to fix them, why not get them fixed? Make sure they use screws instead of nails, though.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 7:39PM
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Interesting drywall history here ...

Thanks, sniffdog, for the suggestions (and sympathy). At the time I posted the inquiry, I'd only noticed a pop here and there. Now I am seeing patterns. I suppose they were there before, although I'm pretty sure one of them is recent. How visible they are really depends on the lighting, but in the right light, they are quite noticeable.

Guess I'll just settle in for an extended series of visits and hope that the patch work doesn't look blotchy.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 3:04PM
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