Wallboard screws poping out!

I inspected a 1 year old house that had a significant number of screws backing out of the wall. I stated that it is probably from “wet” wood. when it dries it squeezes the screw out (only about a 1/16 of an inch. This is the first time I have seen this. Anyone else seen it? What about mold?

i’ve also seen the same thing, and it’s usualy on a wall that is either in a new house (as you saw) or in a new wall. (if there isn’t a mold or moisture issue) i’d recommend scrapping the compound off the screw heads, screw them in more, and re spackle. some time moisture will show on nail and screw heads first as a rust ring or water spot. it has alot to due with using lumber that hasn’t had sufficiant time to “season” before the wall was finished.

Hi. guys;

My two cents here I guess.

Most standard to see this type of screw pops on Residential Housing, caused by most cases of sheetrock being delivered unprotected after delivery and high moisture content when the local sheetrockers show up on site and the building is still without doors in some cases. Typical Residential.
High content of moisture in the board at the time of the installation and the drastic change of temperature after a couple of months that are more moderate and enviormentally controlled, will cause the board to shrink and give you the illusion that the screws have popped out.
Screws do not pop out.

The reverse scenario of this, is a Painting Contractor that comes in with his infamous spray gun and destined to spray this house in two days and move on. The amount of moisture induced in the wallboard by the latex primer and first coat in one day, is enormous. The second day they spray the third coat, and a few days later they see that the joint compound has shrunk and claim that the drywall taper did not do his job correctly. Well, how about the fact that you have sprayed so much moisture in the drywall, and it actually swelled leaving the drywall screw behind. Believe me, this is what happens.

Hope this helps.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

''I’D BUY THAT FOR A DOLLAR" good point Marcel.

Jay, your pretty cheap, I can’t buy a cold bottle of beer for a dollar.:slight_smile: :roll: :wink:


i prefer “thrifty”:mrgreen:

When consulting for some of the green GCs in my area, I recommend that they set up a number of industrial strength de-humidifiers in the house and just let them run for about 3-4 days before the deywall is installed.

Most framing wood, around here, is bought from the local ‘home improvment’ store, has never ever seen a kiln and is fast growth pine (wide grained). It soaks up any mositure and slowly exudes it.

Keep the dehumidifiers in place until well after the drywall has been finished and at least 2 - 3 days before you paint. Leave it there during painting.

You gotta just suck that moisture out.

Hope this helps.

“drywall pops” occur usually from the studs drying and twisting, or from then dang siders banging on the outside walls. The cure is simple…rescrew above and below the “pop” within 1 inch, turn the old screw in by hand, then mud.

“rescrew above and below the “pop” within 1 inch, turn the old screw in by hand, then mud.”


Ahh, Your ‘mudder’.

Thanks all for you advice. Marcel, I think you may have hit the nail (or in this case the screw) on the head.

Thanks Robert and you are welcome.

I guess we can hit the nail on the head, but it sure hurts when the screw tip cams out of the screw and in your finger. OUCH!!


Hey Marcel, Thanks for your good posts all over this board recently.

Don’t forget that the screw that missed the stud and didn’t get removed will also eventually pop.


yup, i call those “air balls”. some times harder to take out than cover over for the finish.

Thanks Ed, glad too help.

Jay, keep an eye out for those “air balls” they might blow. ha. ha.

Marcel :slight_smile:

i watched my ceiling guy try 6 times today to hit a stud that he forgot to mark first. he was pissed when i made him use a screw driver under the head of each screw to pull them all out. this was a ceiling patch so the chance of a “pop” are much greater. “we only have time to do it right, we don’t have time to do it twice”:wink: :cool:

You think you’ve seen signs of wet wood? I think the builder who built my house may have rolled up in a gondola.

I have also seen drywallers using drill guns and not pressing the sheet tight enough to the 2x4…especially on insulated walls…then when someone or something leans against the drywall, the drywall actually moves toward the 2x4 till it touches it…giving the illusion that the screw popped out, which it did not. It stays right where they drove it in, in the first place, which wasn’t all the way snug. The screw will still dimple/set into the drywall, but the sheet isn’t being pressed against the stud enough while driving the screws.

Again… to much speed and not enough quality.

Don’t think your ceiling guy is ever going to hit a stud! Hopefully he’ll learn to find those joists or bottom chords though.:wink:

I have found most of the builders here using nails, not screws. In fact, Orleans flatly refused to use screws when my client offered to pay extra to have his subfloor glued and screwed and his Master BR ceiling screwed.

So, in the end, he was “screwed”…his subfloor came loose and squeaked in the hallway.

My two cents. Recently checked out an older home, 15 years in age. The same issue was happening here. Moisture was wicking from a constantly wet foundation (S. Florida) into the wall and wicking up the furring strips. Moisture testing validated this on the lower wall. Homeowner was running the sprinkler system everyday. Waterproofed wall and had drip irrigation installed. No more problem.