I'm gluing and screwing 5/8 in drywall on the ceiling in my own home. I'm attaching it with screws and construction adhesive directly to the attic joists -- which are 16 in OC. I'm placing 12- and 8-by-4 sheets perpendicular to the joists. And I'm putting in one screw at each of the beveled the ends, then four screws in between those two -- 6 screws total over the 4-ft width of the sheet.

This is part of a remodel of my own home. Given the much larger cost of the general remodel, I'm not interested in skimping on drywall materials or techniques.

I'm using a drywall screwgun to dimple the screws to just the right depth without cutting the paper.


What else can I do when installing drywall to reduce the number of drywall screw pops?

5 Answers 5


Where I'm from, the ceiling schedule for drywall nails and screws is 7" O.C. From your description you're closer to 11" O.C. Particularly when you're using a heavy sheet like a 12' x 4' x 5/8" sheet I recommend strongly a jack to hold the drywall in place as you screw it. You can rent one at any major tool rental yard.

Also may I recommend picking up a carpentry or plasterer's textbook. They offer many helpful tips and techniques for a stellar sheetrock job. Two examples: "Carpentry, 5th edition" by Leonard Koel, or specifically for drywall: Gypsum Construction Handbook, Centennial Edition 2000, published by USG.

  • You are no doubt correct for your area, but manufacturers and most areas allow screws at 12" O.C., for comparison's sake. Nails are almost universally 7" AFAIK. The moral is always verify local requirements.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 0:56
  • 2
    There is a significant difference between wall scheduling and ceiling scheduling. On account of the nature of gravity I presume. I'm guessing you are referring to wall scheduling.
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 1:34
  • Just read a heated forum conversation about this very issue: forums.finehomebuilding.com/breaktime/archives/…. My experience has never been with glued sheetrock applications, so my scheduling snarkiness may be just that.
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 2:00
  • 1
    No, this is for ceilings. Walls get 16"O.C. in certain cases! This is typical of manufacturer's recommendations. I agree it's pretty light for 5/8" if no adhesive is used, but that's what they say. It's fine with adhesive IMO. Regardless of what we think, OP should follow requirements of the local jurisdiction. BTW, I only got about 1/2 way thru your link before my eyes felt sore from being rolled up into my head. :P
    – bcworkz
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 8:09

If your screws are at the right depth, then pops are an indication of pressure from behind. Make sure your joists are flat which would cause the drywall itself to bow and strain. And also be sure that there isn't any weight from above (e.g. insulation) until the glue has time to dry. You should also be sure your screwing directly into the joist and that nothing with any flexibility is in between.

If none of that helps, then most likely you are screwing too deep.

  • what does boost mean in this context "screwing directly into the boost"?
    – Steven
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 5:56
  • @Steven It means the Android keyboard is a bad guesser. :) Thanks for catching that.
    – BMitch
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 13:48

The important thing is to differentiate between a "pop" and a hole. When using screws if they "pop" out the only real reason for this can be two things 1). the screws hadn't pulled the drywall tight to the stud during initial installation or 2). the wood stud has dried and shrunk altering the depth of the screw. This should only occur on a new construction where the wood studs have too high on moisture content. My two cents.


Here in Georgia they're called "nail pops". When I first saw one I asked our builder why they would use nails instead of screws?! Seriously, after the first year in our new home we had at least a couple hundred nail pops. Luckily they came around and patched them all - I guess they figure patch work is cheaper than just using screws in the first place. I don't know, I've always used screws.

Honestly though, if you're remodeling then I'm guessing your home is already aged a bit and might not settle as much, which means you should get a lot less nail pops on the area you are remodeling. Other than gluing and using screws, which you are already doing, I'm not sure what you could do other than just plan to patch a few.

  • Nail pops are usually referring to nails popping back out as the house moves. My assumption of screw pops was that Trevor was referring to the screw pulling through the drywall, and the drywall then hanging free.
    – BMitch
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 13:28
  • So you're saying that the drywall is pulling out away from the frame and the screws, and leaving a hole where the screw is? I've always known and seen both screw pops and nail pops to emerge outward from the drywall and break the wall paint, and leave a protrusion, rather than an indention. I guess it's possible though. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 16:59
  • It happens if you sink the screw too deep, there's weight on the drywall, you don't use enough screws, or the wall isn't flat. When there's enough tension the drywall will eventually pop out, leaving a screw hole. I've never seen a screw pop out like a nail would, but I guess that could happen if they didn't sink it all the way.
    – BMitch
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 17:18
  • That does make sense, and you would think that the drywall would only pull away, given the horizontal strength of the screw. I know I've seen a screw pop out though, but what you're talking about does seem like it would happen more often, now that I think about it. Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 17:10

The problem with screw pops is that the plaster (the skim) that's put onto the plasterboard doesn't bond with the screw heads. Living in a new build house, a lot of screw pops have come through, nearly all of the screw pops are on ceilings. Pushing lightly on plasterboards, I've found a lot of hidden screw pops. Using plaster to repair the screw pops, the screw pops eventually come back. In the end, I had to use Polycel Flexible Polyfil which seemed to bond to the screw heads a lot better. NHBC and the builder told me that screw pops are not covered under snagging. I'm surprised that screw heads are not covered with something first, but that's not required under building regulations, according to NHBC. I've read on many forums about tightening screws, making sure the right screws are used and the amount of screws used per plasterboard, but the main problem is the plaster doesn't bond with the screw heads. All the screws seems to be secure and have sunk into the plasterboards. All the screws are black in colour. I was recently told that putting tape over the screws is the only solution, but it's not required under building regulations.

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