Drywall / Sheetrock bubbles or blisters

jseeleyApril 12, 2013

I have a question that no one can answer. And I cannot find any info in the internet because all of the search results say 'nail pops" but I don't think they are. In my condo, I have about 40 round drywall bubbles. These are all consistently the diameter of about 1" or a little over and occur where the nails are.

I also have some nail pops which are about a half of an inch in diameter.

These bubbles sound hollow when I tap them with my fingernail. At first I thought the mud was separated from from the dimple, but when I cut a bunch open around the perimeter of the bubble, the bubble is actually under the drywall paper/skin just to the side of the nail. "Paper/skin separated from the rock/gypsum. Nails, are solid and look properly dimpled. Still tried punching the nails in but bubbles are still there.

What is the proper way to fix these?

But, more importantly, what the heck caused this? Those bubbles where there when the condo was brand new! So I don't think it's due to settling.

Thanks so much!

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Sounds to me like drywall that the paper is not adhering to properly for some reason. I don't really know what you can do ti fix that as you really cannot reglue (for lack of a better term the paper).

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:29PM
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One inch sounds like the diameter of a hammer?

I think the only thing you can do is cut them out, cover with the mesh fiberglass tape (you can get real thin tape) and then apply joint compound.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 2:50PM
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I talked to a house painter. Never heard of it. They're all over the place. It's as if the sheetrock skin buckled away from the rock right next to the nail. Thanks, guys

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:47PM
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If you gently use hammer on the bubble to make a dimple, and just spackle over it, how long would that hold? I tried that on one of them and it still sounds hollow!!

This post was edited by jseeley on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 15:55

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:51PM
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I do not claim to be a drywall expert-- but I have done lots of small-scale drywall work. If this was mine, I would select an area that is not seen much-- inside a closet is ideal- and experiment. Try 3 or 4 spots with each technique. The loose stuff must be removed first so that any added material is bonded to firm surfaces. Brush away any dust from that area. One technique is drywall compound alone, thin layers. Another is to use Gorilla glue in the spot, just enough to wet out the area by spreading it with a dull table knife and immediately cover it with a larger piece of blue masking tape. Leave the tape for 24 hours, peel it off, sand flush, then drywall compound over that and sand smooth again. The glue foams up and sands well after fully dried-- but leaves a porous surface. It holds tenaciously to both paper and the gypsum core. Admission: I have not tried the Gorilla glue for this problem- but I certainly would if I had the problem you describe. The adhesive on the tape should act as a release agent from the cured Gorilla glue. If it does not, paint thinner will gradually loosen the rubber-based adhesive on the tape. Prime all repaired spots, let the primer dry and sand lightly before finish paint. I prefer oil base primer for sealing these patches, but it is virtually unavailable now.
Be imaginative and dream up additional things to try. Bondo auto body filler?

This post was edited by bus_driver on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 13:49

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:20PM
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When you hammer i nail for drywall your are trying to create a shallow dimple with the hammer that places the nail head in s shallow dimple that does not cut through through the paper layer.

It is actually easier with a screw setter.
You give it a decent push as it sets the screw and it creates nice uniform dimples and releases the screw at the correct depth.

If the hammer bole is harder than needed the paper coating can all tel easily tear in a circle that then cause a bubble when the mud is applied.
the first fix is often to try and sand the dimples to flush, then prime and paint.

Another sharp rap with a hammer and then a larger feathered out repair usually does the trick.

If it is new work draw a pencil circle around each one and cal the tradesman back for the repair.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Thanks guys for the responses.

bus_driver, I'll keep the Gorilla Glue in mine. Pretty good idea. There's a lot of these bubbles and I would like to repair them fairly easily but well enough so the next owner doesn't have an issue with them 20 years from now.

brickeyee, I don't completely follow you. Do you mean to place screws(with a screw setter) exactly on top of the bubble to secure it back in? Bubbles always occur right next to the nail... Never on the nail because nails are not popping. You mean push the bubble back with a screw? That way, I wouldn't have to break the paper to clean loose rock. The sheetrock paper is never broken with this issue, just a bubble underneath the paper.


I just posted a photo. See below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of bubbles with spackle removed

This post was edited by jseeley on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 21:32

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Looks like nails not driven deep enough and not covered correctly.

If the screw head is not below flush it catches on the drywall knife ad leaves a bump of mud .

It takes a decent amount of finesse to get the nails just below flush while not over driving them so they tear the paper.

They need to be below flush though.

And at least one appears to be a popped nail.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 11:14

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 11:12AM
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I didn't make myself clear in the original post...
This is all original work when these condos where built 20 years ago. in other words, these bubbles were there when the condo was brand new! I'm just trying to repair these so I can paint the place.

The nails were certainly below the surface of the rock. I had to remove spackle in these two spots to expose the paper as you see in the photo. Bubbles are the sheetrock paper buckling and separating from the rock. I have NO idea what caused this. I tried to drive nails deeper(slightly cracking the paper) but bubbles still remain. Trying to figure out the best and easiest way to fix these since there are a lot. Thanks, brickeyee

Oh,. That circular shape/light you see is just a flashlight I used to add more light for the pictures I took last night.

This post was edited by jseeley on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 13:10

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Cut the paper away and mud it smooth.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 2:38PM
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OK. Will do. Thanks for all of your help, sir. Greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 11:03PM
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