I've only lived in this house for six months and there are these weird dimples that keep raising. It started with one and has now gotten to be around 7-8. All but one are on the upstairs ceiling. The one that isn't is on the lower part of the wall on the front of the house.

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I've looked online and it doesn't look like termite or carpenter ant damage. They're all small little raises that appear to get worse. Not sure what I'm even looking at so I don't know what to do. Should I call a professional?

  • How big is that? It looks like a nail head.
    – wallyk
    Oct 18, 2015 at 18:09
  • There are several pock marks. Usually they get to the size of a nickle each. After you asked I went to go look at them and the two that are already mostly exposed do both have nail heads. So it seems the nailhead is pushing against the paint for some reason. Question is why that would be happening I guess. Good catch.
    – Bratchley
    Oct 18, 2015 at 18:16

3 Answers 3


Those are called "nail pops". They are the fasteners (nails mostly, but occasionally screws) that have been pushed through the drywall surface due to either forces exerted on the drywall panel or movement from the framing piece they attached too. Unless you notice multiple nail pops it shouldn't be a problem. To repair gently hammer (the nail) or turn (the screw) the wayward fastener so that it is under the drywall surface. It would be wise to install additional screws above and below (by 2-3 inches) any nail that has become loose. Cut away any broken and jagged paper and spackle as needed.

  • The bathroom in the center of the upstairs as about 4-5 of these. There are two in the hallway surrounding the bathroom.
    – Bratchley
    Oct 18, 2015 at 18:24
  • The best and easiest fix is to tap the nails below surface, install additional screws above and below the pop and spackle. If you continue to get more it may be that not enough fasteners are installed. Ideally there should be screws 4-6 inches along the edges and 8-10 inches along the studs.
    – ojait
    Oct 18, 2015 at 18:32
  • Have you noticed if the drywall is soft or spongy from moisture?
    – ojait
    Oct 18, 2015 at 18:34
  • The parts of the drywall exposed by the two nail pops that are already exposed actually look fine. It basically just looks like the nail is a bit rusty on each one. No discoloration on the drywall (granted I can only see a small bit of it).
    – Bratchley
    Oct 18, 2015 at 18:40
  • 1
    Simply recessing the fastener and covering is not likely to be a sustainable solution until one understands why this is happening: Is the sheetrock expanding? Is the framing shrinking or otherwise retreating? Is the foundation moving? Is insulation in the wall expanding? Are the sheetrock and fasteners going through some thermal cycling encouraging this?
    – wallyk
    Oct 18, 2015 at 19:03

When drywall is nailed to ceilings of homes that are constructed with truss framed roofs, the drywall should never be nailed to the trusses with in the first 2' of an interior wall.

The roof trusses bear all of its weight on the outside walls and spans over interior partitions, never really relying on the interior walls for support. When the roof sustains a load from snow or even perhaps heating and cooling. What this does, over the interior partitions, the bottom cord of the truss flexes, or it is supposed to flex up and down over the interior walls.

To allow the drywall to compensate for this was to NOT nail the drywall close to the interior walls. If it was nailed close to the walls the drywall nails would pull through or pull out of the framing of the truss. This is what it seems is going on with you.

The other nail pop, sometimes it just goes that way, that nail or nails, whether it it is in a wall or in the ceiling near the exterior wall, reset it and set another nail or screw beside it that in known to be in good wood so that the lap of the head of the second fastener laps over the original to insure it holds it in place. The other nails that are located near the interior walls that are with in 2' of the wall, remove them and spackle the holes.


I replaced drywall in my entire house and these do look like nail pops. They are caused by inappropriate installation of the drywall.

It is not clear what the line in the picture is, could be a corner or could be a joint between two sheets of drywall that hasn't been done correctly.

The good news is that you can fix this yourself. Cut a circle around these pops and remove any loose drywall, it often cracks when the screw is over-tightened, you want to remove any cracked/loose parts. Put additional screws 1-2 inches away from the hole, the screw needs to go bellow the surface of the drywall but not so deep to tear the paper or crack the sheet. They sell drywall drill bits that will do the right depth for you: enter image description here

Buy drywall mix/plasterer, (there is dry - you mix with water yourself, and premixed) I suggest premixed all purpose to keep it simple. Buy a putty knife: enter image description here

And fill up small holes, 1x1in. For bigger holes get paper tape: enter image description here

Let this dry. If it is not smooth enough - sand it. Sanding creates a lot of dust, use caution. Prime/paint.

Drywall at my place requires screws every 30cm (12in) around the perimeter, through the center along the length, into joist/stud as well as glue. Do not screw the tip of a corner as it will snap. I've seen new builds were builders used screw only every 30in, saves time and money, but customers later complain about pops. If you are not lucky, the sheet can fall off as well - I pulled one sheet on my wall and the whole thing came off - not enough screws.

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