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Question DetailsAsked on 6/27/2017

Screw pops in basement ceiling

I recently had new drywall ceilings installed in my basement. I have reciently noticed that there are " screw pops" in the ceiling ( I know they are screws because I chipped away at on of the pops and saw the screw.) I have noticed about 80 pops in a 900sq ft area. Some are minor and others you can see the outline of the nail head. What could be the reason for these pops? Is it something to worry about? I currently have a dehumidifier running in the basement because I know the excess moisture can effect the wood. I also had the ceiling replaced on my ground level floor and have not noticed any of these screw pops. Is a basement or a ceiling that is being walked on from the top ground level floor more susceptible to theses "pops" thanks so much!

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1 Answer


Maybe a few from the floor "working" but unless it has a lot of bounce in the floor joists, I cannot imagine 80 pops from that.

My guess - and I imagine if you pull a screw or two you will find they are rusting - is excess moisture causing rusting of the fasteners - which will cause head pops both because of the rust directly putting pressure on the drywall compound patch covering them, and also rust can and will commonly cause backing-out of the fasteners - more with nails than screws, but I have seen sinkers do it in just a few weeks in a high-humidty location. Of course, good quality corrosion-resistant fasteners helps alleviate or prevent this - use the cheapest chinese fastners you can buy from a box store and who knows what quality you are getting. Going into wood framing, the fasteners should conform to ASTM C-1002 (the applicable American Society For Testing and Materials standard), which requires a corrosion-resistant treatment on the nails or screws. ASTM C-954 if going into steel framing. Fastener length depends on thickness of the drywall of course, and also on whether the drywall is required to be fire-rated or not.

Signfiicant humidity changes can also cause the wood to expand and contract, promoting backing out of the fasteners - so if the dehumidifier runs intermittently or slugs of damp air come into the basement from humid outside air or such that could aggravate the situation.

Assuming this job is stillunder the installer warranty, I would certainly talk to the installer about replacing the fasteners (and ALL of them, not just the current pops, because more are sure to pop out over time) but I would bet he will argue it is the high humidity doing it and not his problem. Of course, if these are pretty new install and they are visibly rusting, you could argue the fasteners are defective and he should replace them for that reason.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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