Drywall - Nail Pop Repair

snookums2May 11, 2013

I'm putting more drywall screws in the wall after repairing nail pops. I seem to be frequently running into a problem now where the screw stops and it feels like I'm hitting a piece of metal or something. I thought maybe it was the drill but when I tried again in a different location, a few screws went in.

Could it be a drill problem? Ran into it again tonight. I wasn't having this problem much at all in the beginning.

My old cordless had a torque setting but I don't see anything on this one (corded Black & Decker).

I have gotten new bits and now am using a dimpler.

Thanks for any ideas.

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kudzu9

What is the location of the pops? You could be running into nailing plates that are used to prevent pipes and wiring from being penetrated by fasteners.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 5:01PM
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snookums2

On the old nails I am placing a screw immediately next to it to just catch the edge and hold it down, so there shouldn't be a problem there. Others are going inches above or below the original nail, along the same vertical line as the other nails. For these I am using a dimpler to make sure not to break the paper support.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 7:02PM
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kudzu9

Well, if you are maybe 12"-24" above the floor, some of this could be nailing plates. You could figure out if you are running into any of these plates by seeing if you can easily drill a small hole (say 1/16") the depth that a screw would go in.

One thing I missed with your original post is the type of drill you are using. You should always use a battery powered drill for drywall screws. Corded drills typically have high speed and low torque, so it's hard -- even with a variable speed trigger -- to keep the speed low and constant in order to drive in a screw properly. A battery powered drill has a low, constant speed with high torque. I'm thinking that you may have fairly dense wall studs and the powered drill just doesn't have the torque to drive them in all the way.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:10PM
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snookums2

"You should always use a battery powered drill for drywall screws."

Interesting, when I did this downstairs years ago, I did use a battery drill and don't recall having any trouble putting screws in the wall. This time around I discover the batteries are dead and they are not replaceable, or new drill was just as much. So I borrowed this B&D.

"I'm thinking that you may have fairly dense wall studs"

Was discussing this with my step father this evening and he contemplated the same thing. That the wood is 40 years old now and harder. It also occurred to me that knots are extremely dense and maybe I've been hitting some of those.

I have this trouble higher than 24 inches. Do all houses put metal plates in to protect from hitting wires or plumbing? (There would be no pipes in this room). If not, how should I be careful? I guess they drill through the studs and run the wires?

I have 1 5/8" screws. The drywall is 1/2 inch. I might go to 1 1/4" screws.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:47PM
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kudzu9

Pipes could be anywhere; electrical often low on the wall. But since you are running into this all over, I think the odds are low that this is the explanation. Buy or borrow a battery-powered drill and I suspect the problem will disappear.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:37AM
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snookums2

Thanks for your help. I will try a cordless drill.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 5:53AM
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brickeyee

" You should always use a battery powered drill for drywall screws."

Not correct in the least.

Wall powered drivers had a long history of use setting drywall screws before a battery powered drills existed on the general market.

How you get the screw set is not nearly as important as having the correct nose on the drill to create a dimple.

Drywall screws are driven to a set depth, not by to any paetular torque.

A drill-driver (or drill with a 'dimple' attachment if you are limping along) stops driving at the correct depth.

The chucked up attachments are not as good as the correct drill-driver with an adjustable nose.
The nose is not spinning in use.

It does take a decent amount of force to set the screws and create a correct dimple.
A little extra shove at the end of the screw going in dimples the drywall.

The dimple needs to be a able to hold compound over the screw head, while at the same time the cardboard layer of the drywall should not be torn (except under the countersunk screw very slightly).
You should not see any tears, just barely below flush screw heads with a dimple dented in the drywall around each one.

The whole game is to NOT gouge the facing and weaken the drywall, while providing a place for some mud to cover the screw head.

The process eats up the bits in the drill driver (the screws are even harder than the bits) and that is why you see bits in packs of 25 at the drywall area of the store.

The screw is 'released' when the nose of the driver hits the drywall and the screw makes the last turns to countersink.
The drill driver also has a clutch that stops turning when the screw is no longer pressing on the bit if you have an actual drill driver.

A drill without a depth release will make a huge mess of the drywall surface, leading to a lot of extra mud work trying to conceal the screws.

Up to that point speed and torque are at the option of the user.
You need to push the driver hard enough to make sure the screws never spin in the wood without going deeper.

If they slip going in nail pops will show up since the screw acts like a drill bit and makes an oversize hole with little gripping strength.

If you are fixing actual nail pops, you can try and get close enough for the screw head to grab the edge of the nail head and push it on.

Before starting to mud the screws go over them with an old drywall knife and make sure none of them are high.
Use an old knife to avoid nicking the edge of a good knife you want to use for finishing.

Unless raised lines in the finished surface are to your liking.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 10:11AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Also use a fresh high-quality driver bit. Rounded-over driver will slip, frustratingly.
Casey

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:35AM
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kudzu9

brickeyee-
While I agree that there are more professional driver options than a cordless drill, I was responding to the less experienced handyman -- like the original poster -- who is trying to use a regular drill, and would be unlikely to buy or borrow anything more sophisticated than a cordless drill. She'll be fine using a cordless drill to deal with a few nail pops.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:19PM
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brickeyee

No drill without at least an attachment for dimpling should be used.

You are NOT making a repair without a dimple adapter (at least) just making the problem worse.

Driving the screw head through the cardboard weakens the attachment and leads to fractures in the core.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:44PM
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snookums2

Lots of good tips, thank you!!

Funny, I had read in a couple places to use a cordless drill. I will see what happens today after trying a few things.

How much strength does the wall board attachment lose if the paper is broken? I did not know this in the past but it seems to be staying up.

Here is a picture of the ceiling that was installed, trying to show where you can see raised areas over the screws. The compound is raised over the screw. When I messed with one with a scraper it popped out.

I had to increase the photo contrast as it was washed out.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:18PM
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snookums2

From nail pops on the ceiling to mud pops, lol. 27 of them.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:21PM
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snookums2

Mud released. It is recessed, looks flush here.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:23PM
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snookums2

I did discover the dimpler attachment the other day. Had never heard of one. I tried one yesterday but the screw was slightly raised with an edge, not dimpled. Will be trying again.

Do you think 1 1/4" screws will be a good switch from the 1 5/8 inch? It's 1/2" drywall.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sun, May 12, 13 at 15:28

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 3:24PM
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brickeyee

"screw was slightly raised with an edge, not dimpled. Will be trying again. "

It takes a decent amount of pressure to dimple.

Some 2x lumber and a small drywall panel to practice on would be worth the cost.

1 1/4 should be fine.

Make sure you get the coarse screws for wood and not the fine screws for metal studs.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 4:58PM
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snookums2

I'm really having trouble with the dimpler attachment. It seems to stop too soon. I thought I was applying good pressure but will try again tomorrow. I reverted to using the regular bit. It is slightly recessed but the paper is cut around the edges, I'm sure. Seems to rip it up. The drywall certainly seems to be secure to the wall.

I bought a $60 drill, had to ratchet it up to 10. Still wasn't setting the screw and a loss with the dimpler. Does that make sense? Went back to the old drill which is a B&D D1000 3 amp.

Obviously, I could not have done a very good job downstairs years ago and it seems to have held up! lol

Here is a link that might be useful: B&D 12V Lithium Cordless

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:16PM
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snookums2

This looks like the dimpler I got, Dewalt. Seemed to be the only one they had at the store and it was cheap, got 4 to a tin. I see some online for quite a bit more, even $17. Can there be that much difference? Is this one a piece of trash for some reason?

Here is a link that might be useful: Dimpler

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:19PM
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snookums2

How should I handle the raised mud over the screws on the ceiling? Just sand smooth or pop it out and refill?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:15AM
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snookums2

Forgot to mention that I switched to 1 1/4" and these are going in fine. Just having trouble with the dimpling part and not breaking the paper.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:36AM
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