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I'm currently removing a wall that separates my kitchen and living room. 1/2" drywall on 16" o.c. studs, typical. What I found to be strange was that the drywall was fastened with 2 drywall screws placed 2 inches apart, in pairs about every 18" up a stud, where a single screw would definitely suffice. May be I'm overthinking it, but is there any reason someone would use so many screws for a simple wall? House is a 1990 Bi-level, or raised ranch as I've seen them called. I just want to make sure that this isn't some specialized/important wall due to the odd overuse of screws.enter image description here

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    When nails were the standard there was a nailing procedure with double nails two inches apart driven alternately. Claim was this reduced pull through of the heads. Maybe this was sometimes continued over to the first generation of drywall screws. Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 12:02
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    Yeah, this is a "nail guy doing screws like nails" pattern. Make that an answer, @JimStewart
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 12:20
  • Good call, kind of figured. I have heard about the guy that built this house and several others in my neighborhood, an old timer. Hard to say if he also put up the drywall. But glad it's nothing crazy that I didn't plan for when starting the demo. Side note, I laughed about how many things the phone and furnace installers shoved through my cold air return in the bottom left corner.
    – BigLake
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 16:26
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    Sometimes the drywall is too fragile or the fasteners/driver are too coarse, causing the drywall to be damaged if the screws are drawn up tight. So two fasteners may be used next to each other so that they can be tightened in stages, reducing the stress on the drywall.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 21:57
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    A common variation on this pattern is to have the 2 nails/screws horizontally offset by a small amount, generally to avoid the possibility that 2 fasteners near each other and directly above/below might split the wood. Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 17:21

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Like others have said in comments, drywall was commonly nailed in pairs to help prevent punch-through--hammers had a tendency to crush the drywall and weaken the hold of the nail. When screws were first adopted the practice was continued until it was known that precisely set flute-head screws hold better than nail heads, or until old-timers retired away.

Fun fact: Purpose-built drywall hammers had convex (mildly domed) head faces to help set nail heads below flush without tearing the drywall surface, so that tapers could cover them with compound.

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    Even not so old timers were taught this method but yes in my early years we still nailed and in pairs. If you do demo work you can see the pairs do hold better.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 13:18
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    I still do this with drywall on occasion, when I set sheets on the cieling. I watch one screw draw up the panel, and use the second to keep it there. I do not do the whole sheet that way, just when I am geting them all up with enough screws to keep them from dropping, then I go back and finish screwing them off with screws regularly spaced.
    – Jack
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 14:26
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    One other possible reason for this is that it was done to fix previously over-set screws (think: ambitious home owner hangs drywall, father-in-law stops by and points out the error). I have never over-set a screw in drywall (heh...) but if I did, I would just place a second screw offset a couple inches from the first, at the correct depth. All we can do is speculate though.
    – Z4-tier
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 16:35
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    That should probably be an alternative answer rather than a comment here.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 16:36
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My guess:

  1. The drywaller (novice) sank the screws too deep and broke the paper; yes, all of them!
  2. Their boss/inspector came by and told them it's not acceptable
  3. The drywaller had to re-screw their work
    • Putting in a new screw close to the original screw is an easy way to make sure they hit a stud
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    as someone that is not a professional and is just a DIY-er, what is the significance of breaking the paper?
    – dave k
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 19:39
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    @davek The screw loses all holding power if the head goes through the paper. The drywall could literally fall off at any time, particularly from a ceiling.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 19:40
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    @davek This video explained it quite nicely for me just a few weeks ago! youtube.com/watch?v=eIK50QLHpOc
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 19:42
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I do this with new drywall. It holds better and is easier to mud. (as compared to doing more screws further apart)

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