FergusonNew mud or tape-on corner beads are more
resistant to edge cracking and nail pops than traditional metal
At the end of a drywall job, I touch up small defects and do
a careful cleanup. Then, before I leave the site, I make a
final walk-through with the client. This provides a good
opportunity to answer any questions and to show off the quality
of the job. With the client as witness, I'm also protected from
liability for any damage that may occur as other contractors
work on the site, such as the door installer who whacks the
ceiling, the electrician who slips with the screwdriver, or the
mover who damages the outside corner in the foyer. If any such
damage occurs and I get called back to make the repair, I'll
Every once in a while, however, I may get a call about an
edge crack on a corner bead, or a popped screw or nail along
the top edge of a wall — particularly after the first
heating season, when the framing has dried and settled. Other
common callbacks include loosened or buckled tape in the inside
corners, ridging of seams on higher walls — a stairwell
wall, for example — or visible ridging on a butted seam.
Sometimes, after the painting is done, I'll get a call about
seams or fasteners showing through as a different texture
(known in the trade as photographing or telegraphing). All of
these problems can be prevented or greatly reduced and are easy
When fastening the drywall, whether with screws or nails, I
make certain that the panel is tight against the framing and
that the fasteners are properly set (see Figure 1).
I use coarse-thread screws for wood framing and fine-thread
for metal. Improper fastener lengths can also cause problems;
screws for wood framing should penetrate the framing by 5/8
inch and nails by 7/8 inch. Much shorter or longer is not
recommended. Instead of nails, I use screws whenever possible,
because they hold much better and are less likely to damage the
drywall as they are being installed. The nose of a drywall
screw gun also pushes the panel against the framing and limits
the screw to exactly the proper depth just below the surface of
the drywall, without tearing the paper or damaging the gypsum
core. If a screw is set too deep, though, the panel is more
likely to pop loose.
Other hints. When drywall panels are force-fit
into place, they may bow, which can introduce stress and keep
the panel from contact with the framing. This creates the
possibility of fastener pops. Misaligned and twisted framing
can also contribute to fastener failure. Any fastener that
misses or is not securely anchored into the framing member may
work loose over time and should be immediately removed.
Floating corner technique
16 inches o.c.
24 inches o.c.
16 inches o.c.
24 inches o.c.
. Nail or screw pops
and cracking in the seams are common along inside corners at
wall-to-wall or wall-to-ceiling intersections. These problems
are typically caused by settling stresses or truss uplift. One
way to reduce problems is to eliminate fasteners along one or
both edges of the corner (Figure 2).Figure
2. Avoid nail and screw pops at wall-to-ceiling
intersections by holding back the fasteners on both the wall
and ceiling panels. At wall-to-wall intersections, leave the
first panel unfastened in the corner and hold it in place with
the abutting panel.