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Under adverse environmental conditions, a common occurence in recently constructed or renovated homes is the appearance of cracks and "screw pops" (also referred to as "nail pops") in drywall. The primary cause of these irregularities is gypsum shrinkage, and the movement of lumber. While not occurring in every house, it occurs often enough to be an industry wide problem which can affect not only drywall but flooring, trim work, caulking, and more. In extreme cases it can be a homeowner’s (and contractor’s) worst nightmare.

Through our experience and research we have learned some methods for reducing the likelihood and/or severity of these problems - and believe this information is valuable for all property owners to know.

#1. Moisture Is Your Enemy!
After a heating season your framing will probably have a moisture content of 13 to 14 percent. We often see
readings of 25 to 30 percent when we check framing particularly in winter. You can guess what happens as moisture content reduces 10 to 15 percent. Prior to covering, moisture test your framing and if you get multiple
readings over 19 percent, don’t cover it. In summer it should air dry relatively quickly. In winter you may need to insulate the house and run your central heat system until the readings come down.

Here's an example of what we mean > link to Services Page
The causes of "nail pops" > link to Services Page



#2. 55° Degrees (Or More) In Winter
In winter you must maintain a temperature of 55 degrees or more from the beginning of drywall construction, until "move in" - and only your central heat will keep the humidity levels where it needs to be. Space heaters, while better than nothing, do not reduce the excess humidity released by drying joint compounds. The sooner your central heat is on, the better.

#3. Avoid Moving Framework
Attachment of drywall directly to spots where framing is prone to movement - should be avoided where possible. There are specialty products designed for this purpose.

#4. Engineered Lumber Helps Avoid Shrinkage
Where possible and/or practical, use engineered lumber products. These tend to be much more stable than traditional dimensional lumber.

Here's an article explaining about Lumber Shrinkage > link to Services Page



#5. The Right Contractor
Finally, always hire a drywall contractor who is experienced and familiar with the problem - and who will be proactive about reducing it and prompt to correct it if it occurs. We can certainly recomend one!