I hired a company to hang drywall on my ceiling and then finish all surfaces so I could paint. Included are pics I took of a few of their more excessively-sunken screws. I said to one of the guys, "Not to criticize your work, but aren't you driving the screw too deep?" He said, "The head of the screw can't be flush to the drywall surface. You have to countersink it like this so that you can mud over it."

I agree with that statement, but what I've learned is that you're supposed to dimple the screw in, not drive it through the paper. In these pics, it definitely looks like the heads broke the paper.

Does this require repair to be considered a sound installation?

This is type-x gypsum. I think that brown color you're seeing is from the fibers of the paper being pulled into the hole.

example 1 example 2

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    Is this regular sheetrock or some type of fiberboard? The surface looks too rough to be sheetrock and I don't see any gypsum under the surface paper. Nov 15, 2012 at 10:52
  • You'd be surprised by what details are revealed in macro mode with a good digital camera. This is type-x gypsum. I think that brown color you're seeing is from the fibers of the paper being pulled into the hole. Nov 15, 2012 at 11:01
  • Ya, very detailed pic. fooled me. Nov 15, 2012 at 11:53
  • I have seen diy jobs with a “drywall screw setter” (about 50 cents to a dollar each) that look better than this. Using a battery drill or impact driver. If the paper is broken the strength of the Sheetrock is compromised.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 9, 2022 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


Those screws are not driven properly. The screws need to be driven with a drywall screw gun or a dimpler bit in a regular screw gun. The screws need to be slightly countersunk with an indented dimple around the screw head into the drywall to hold some joint compound. The screws should not break through the paper.

The proper bit indents and stops driving the screw at the right depth automatically. What I see in your pics is badly torn surface paper with shards of paper higher than the rest of the surface. This will be hard to mud and make flush and smooth. Many of these are going to have to be indented with a strike from a hammer to create a void for the mud to go into.

The other problem with driving drywall screws with a regular #2 Phillips bit is that screws driven too deep will not have the holding power and the screws will pull through, leaving the sheet unattached to the studs. This is especially important when hanging rock on ceilings.

These are the proper tools and bits.

On walls I wouldn't worry too much, but to be honest, I'd never let that go on a ceiling. If some seem really deep, it could mean problems. If you're paying, then insist it is done right. It isn't gonna take long to rescrew it properly.

  • I'm surprised to hear you speak of fake reviews on Angie's List; if you ever see one, report it. They take that very seriously. Nov 15, 2012 at 14:28
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    It's probably very hard to detect fake reviews, especially if it's a bunch of different account that all use separate internet providers. It may cost $25 a year per account just for the home package, but that's a decent investment for a company who brings in enough income to cheat their way to the top. This company has in the neighborhood of 40 or so reviews, so I believe they're legit. Nov 15, 2012 at 15:44
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    Also, I will add that it's most likely the case that the majority of reviews on Angie's List (or any review site for that matter) are based off incredulity. A homeowner who knows nothing about drywalling will look at a sunken drywall screw that breaks the paper and think that's just how it's done and post a stellar review because the finish looks good. Nov 15, 2012 at 15:46
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    Evil and I have so many vote points now we really don't pay much attention to how many votes we get. Nov 15, 2012 at 21:53
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    @Osc: Yes, that would fix the situation if applied with long enough drywall screws. Also just putting in new screws with the proper bit and dimpling the torn ones with a hammer will work also. Nov 19, 2012 at 10:00

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