Never Settle On Just Settling: Drywall Cracks And Nail Pops Could Be More Serious

Purchasing a home is a large expense, so proper maintenance is key for ensuring its value. Although thoroughly cleaning the interior and exterior of your house is beneficial, periodic inspection and maintenance on the foundation is imperative for structural purposes. If you notice light cracks or nail pops in your drywall, you may first believe they are minor settling flaws. In certain cases, these imperfections could be a more serious sign of foundations issues. Using this guide will help determine if your drywall cracks and nail pops are due to settling or foundation issues.

Cracking Up!

Over time, settling affects your home's drywall. Through this normal process, cracks can develop inside your home. These cracks can vary in shape, size, and location, but you may first notice thin, hairline cracks on or near the following areas:

  • Doors – Inspect around each door frame inside your home. Cracks may appear above the door or on the sides of the frame.
  • Window – Many homeowners notice cracks above and below their window frames.
  • Ceiling – Ceiling corners are common areas for cracks, as well. In many cases, you may notice cracks on the wall directly below your ceiling.

After realizing you have one or more cracks in these areas, your first inclination may be that they are due to normal settling. However, a quick walk outside your home is smart. Inspect the exterior of your home to determine if there are any noticeable cracks or moisture around your foundation. If so, foundation repair is necessary.

If the exterior of your home appears in good condition, it is important to patch up the interior cracks. Spackle is the most effective option for repairing these cracks. After bridging the gap using fiber-mesh drywall tape, apply a thin coat of spackle over the area. After the spackle dries, sand the surface. Then, apply an additional coat to ensure a smooth finish.  

Pop Goes the Weasel!

Nail pops are another issue that occurs from your house settling. These small, raised circles can appear on your ceiling or walls due to one of the following:

  • Drywall Movement – As your home settles, the drywall moves with the nail remaining in place. However, the nail still displays itself on the surface.
  • Nail Movement – When your home settles, the drywall remains in place, but the nail moves out of the wall's surface.

No matter what has actually moved during settling, nail pops appear as circular blemishes on the surface of your wall or ceiling. Fortunately, most nail pops are not a sign of serious foundation issues. However, if you notice multiple pops in one area of your home, inspect your exterior foundation to determine if there are any noticeable cracks. If so, you may require a more involved foundation repair.

If your foundation appears to be in proper condition, use the following steps to fix these unappealing nail pops:

  1. Use a utility knife to scrape off the layer of paint covering the problematic nail. If the nail is underneath any drywall tape, remove the tape, as well.
  2. Using the back of your hammer, pull out the nail. Do not use excessive force, as this may cause damage to surrounding drywall. If the nail appears stuck, hold a piece of plywood under the hammer's head. This will protect the drywall from the hammer's force. Use your hammer to pull the nail out firmly.
  3. Install a new 1 ½-inch nail into the existing hole. Be sure it is deep enough into your drywall to ensure a smooth finish on the wall after spackling.
  4. Apply an even layer of drywall compound over the nail area. Allow it to dry for a few hours.
  5. After the compound is dry, sand the surface with fine sandpaper. Apply a second coat of drywall compound and allow it to dry. Then, apply a coat of paint.

While settling commonly causes imperfections inside your home, small cracks and nail pops may be an early sign of foundation issues. By understanding the causes and inspecting inside and outside periodically, you can protect your investment's foundation and structure. Take a look at the site here for more information.