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Drywall Nail Pops

If your foundation becomes damaged, the walls in your home may begin to shift. This can cause nails to pop out of wall studs and put holes in your drywall.

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You probably associate foundation damage with damaged floors or a slanted house, so, you might be surprised to learn that nail pops are also an indicator of foundation issues. Your home’s walls are supported by the foundation, so even the most minor movements could cause nails to pop out of wall studs. Read on if you’ve ever seen holes or damaged paint on your walls. 

What Causes Drywall Nail Pops? 

Foundation damage is always the result of soil problems. Being a symptom of foundation damage means that drywall nail pops are also a direct consequence of soil issues. Here’s what you need to know about what causes weak soil.  

excessive evaporation

Drought or Dryness

In dry environments, the soil may lack the moisture content required to stay tightly packed. During a period of excessive dryness, the soil shrinks in volume and becomes brittle, splitting and collapsing under nearly any pressure. Tree roots might also absorb moisture from the soil which causes it to dry out over time. 

Additionally, shrunken soil will cause a gap to form between the foundation and the soil. Eventually, this causes your foundation to dip into the gap and potentially crush the brittle soil under its weight. All this movement can cause your walls to shift and crack, causing nails to pop out from the drywall as your foundation gets damaged.  

boot pushing shovel into dirt

Poorly Compacted Fill Soil

When referring to soil, compaction refers to how tightly packed a specific area of soil is. Poor compaction means the opposite – soil that is not packed tightly together enough. Generally, this problem occurs because of construction errors. Building a new home sometimes requires contractors to transport soil from a separate location, also known as “fill soil.”  In order to be suitable for new construction, contractors will manually compact the fill soil to mimic natural processes and provide a sturdy base for the new building. 

Unfortunately, this method doesn’t always work, and little pockets of air may emerge throughout the soil over time. Under the weight of your home’s foundation, the soil may collapse, causing damage to your foundation and nails in your drywall. 

soil erosion and washout

Soil Washout

When a large amount of rain or other precipitation falls in a given region, the moisture can seep into the soil, making it muddy and mushy. During a storm, soil particles are also washed away, causing the soil to become structurally weaker as it erodes. Residents of Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Savannah are no strangers to heavy rains, as South Carolina and Georgia tend to experience high levels of precipitation throughout the year.  

Keep in mind that clogged gutters and drainpipes located close to your foundation can also contribute to soil washout, especially in rainy areas. Always make sure your exterior drainage systems are working properly. No matter how water gets there, muddy soil will no longer be able to carry the weight of your home. The foundation settles as a result, causing walls to shift and nails to pop.  


Yes, but we recommend contacting a trained professional to avoid further damage. DIY solutions could cause further structural damage to your home and end up costing you more than when you started. Instead, a dependable handyman or drywall specialist should repair popped nails and restore drywall holes. However, only fixing the nail pops is a temporary solution. Investing in foundation repair is a permanent solution that allows you to avoid nail pops in the future. 

Mount Valley has the foundation repair solutions for the job. Our team of specialists is always ready to inspect your property and determine the root cause of your foundation damage so that it can be permanently corrected. So, stay away from DIY options, call a handyman to put the nails back in place, and then invest in foundation repair for a permanent fix! 

Always. Even just one or two nail pops could mean foundation damage has occurred. While a small number of nail pops could be related to a different issue, it’s always best to have an inspection done so you know for sure. When you start seeing several or more nail pops, that is when you should be taking things even more seriously. The bottom line is, any amount of nail pops is a cause for concern, and it’s always best to call a professional rather than risk further damage to your home. 

Nail pops can be recognized in a variety of ways. Looking for tiny holes surrounded by cracked paint in your drywall is the quickest way to identify if a nail pop has occurred. Keep in mind, popped nails may not always penetrate the drywall entirely. Sometimes, they simply show up as small circular imprints in the drywall. As the nail presses up against the drywall, it can slightly push up on it and leave a visible round bulge. Once again, paint may crack around these areas too. 

Contact Us for a Free Inspection 

No homeowner deserves to deal with foundation damage. Even if the only issue you’re facing is drywall nail pops, it always helps to call a professional and have your house surveyed for damage. At Mount Valley, our team is committed to keeping your home protected from foundation damage so you can get back to doing the things you love and spending time with those closest to you. We’re proud to serve homeowners in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Savannah. Learn more about foundation repair and schedule a free inspection by contacting us today! 

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