Q. A house we recently completed has a lot of nail popping—in about 30 places—in the drywall on the cathedral ceiling. Most of the popping has taken place near where the ceiling meets the walls. The cathedral ceiling is framed with 2x10 rafters with one-inch, foilfaced foam insulation between the rafters and the 1/2-inch drywall. The drywall was attached with screws, but I have reason to believe some of them were driven home with a hammer. What is causing the nail popping and how can I prevent it in the future?

A. The nail popping is caused by the same thing that always causes nail popping—wood shrinkage. I assume that you used 2 1/2-inch screws to give an inch penetration into the rafters. As the rafters dried, the point of the screw would remain in place and the wood would shrink along the screw about 1/16 inch. This is not normally a problem as long...

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