Update 10/30/2012: See comment I left under gregmac's answer

I just finished installing QuietRock 525 over existing walls. Half a sheet of 525 is heavy backer board and I am thinking that's the reason why several of my screws are having so much trouble recessing into the wall. If I had known in the beginning what I know now, I would have installed the QuietRock as the first layer and used special backer board screws with a square-shaped bit since this phillips bit wants to slip out of the screw head with a loud "ratta tat tat!".

So now I am stuck with some screws that stick out slightly from the surface of the drywall. It's not as much as 1/16" or anything, but you can feel it raise as you take your finger over the head. I could remove the offending screws, drill out a wider hole, and screw them back in, but I don't want to deteriorate the integrity of the grab.

I'd like to finish over them so that the wall is smooth. What do I do, tape over them? Use an extra-thick layer of mud? Eh?

  • 4
    Smack em in with a hammer and leave a good dimple! Feb 21, 2012 at 21:13
  • 1
    Skim coat the entire wall.
    – DA01
    Feb 21, 2012 at 21:49

4 Answers 4


Though you might be able to mud over them, you're looking at 1-2' of mud (feathered) around each screw to make it not noticeable, which basically means you'd be covering the entire piece of drywall with mud. Like pretty much everything in construction, it will be much easier to do it properly now rather than try to fix it later.

If your driver is slipping out, you are probably not using the right bits (or your bit is worn out) or are not pushing hard enough on the drill to prevent the bit from slipping out. Make sure the bit fits well in the screw head: it should not have any room to wiggle in any direction, and should not slide around. #2 Philips is the usual here, but depending on the screw head it may need to be a sharper/longer or blunt tip.

It could also be that your screws are not the right type. If you're going into wood studs, generally you should use coarse thread screws. If you're going into metal studs, it should be fine-threaded screws.

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Since the board is also 5/8, it may be that the screws are not long enough. Try longer screws, which should get a better grip on the studs behind so once they start going in, they'll go in as deep as you need.

  • 1
    I've been using 2 1/2" #8 coarse threads here. Decided to buy a new #2 philips bit and these are sinking in well! It turns out that I really should have asked "How do I sink these stubborn screws in all the way?". Perhaps I'll change it later. Thanks for the tip. Feb 25, 2012 at 15:53
  • OP here to ask a follow-up question: At the time I asked this question, some of these heads were sticking out enough to where you couldn't even run a putty knife over them. I just finished getting all the screws in to where a putty knife will go over them, but there's a slight "chink" as it scrapes the top of the head. The superintendent of the company whose going to finish the room so I can paint is coming tomorrow and I want to make sure he's not going to try to raise the initial estimate on me. Oct 30, 2012 at 20:06
  • 1
    To do it properly, it needs to be deep enough that you do NOT hear that "chink" as you go over with a putty knife, but not deep enough that it tears the paper. If the paper tears, it has no holding power. If it's at the surface, you WILL see the screw through the paint, or you'll have to spend a lot of extra time trying to feather it out with compound (and maybe will still see the screw anyway).
    – gregmac
    Oct 30, 2012 at 22:07
  • Will taping and mudding over these help or will that leave noticeable lines through the paint? I believe the chink is coming from the screw head phillips slot where the bit created sharp "spines" from when I was driving them in. If they can be taped over, maybe they'll only increase the initial estimate a little. If they have to skim coat all walls, how much of a job is that? Are there tools that make skim coating an easy task? Oct 31, 2012 at 13:10

If it's only a few screws, I would simply give them a decent tap with a hammer to knock them further in. I've been advised to do that in the past by a professional plasterer.


Try using an impact driver to tighten the screws a little more. You will likely be able to get further than you would with a regular drill/driver. If you weren't already looking for an excuse to buy an electric one, you can also get a hand impact driver for a few bucks (example 1, example 2).


You mention in your post that you don't want to "deteriorate the integrity of the grab". Hammering the screws would do just that (it could also snap them).

Unscrew them and re-screw them in (by hand) an inch above or below the initial position, then mud over both holes.

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