Fix Nail Pops
Nail pops in drywall occur when a nail starts working its way back out of the wood and/or drywall board, cracking the surface joint compound that covers it.
A nail pops explanation of how it looks on the wall, would be, that it often looks like a cracked circle. (about the size of a nail head or as large as a quarter) On the ceiling, it may look somewhat like a plant sprouting, trying to push through the soil, with the nail pushing the joint compound or texture out, away from the ceiling.
One of the primary causes of nail pops is the shrinkage of the rough framing lumber. This causes a gap between the drywall and the framing lumber that it’s nailed to. This allows movement of the drywall, and that movement pushes out the nail head resulting in nail pops in drywall.
Secondly, it can be the result of poor nailing. The installer did not securing the drywall tight enough in the first place when he was nailing the drywall.
Thirdly, in the case of a water leak, the drywall can deteriorate, exposing the nail or helping to push the nail out. Now you have to either look at it or decide you are going to repair nail pops.
To repair nail pops in drywall, pound the nail back in (do not break the drywall paper) and add a second nail or screw about 2 inches away into the stud. Better yet is to pull the nail out and replace it with a screw and add another screw a couple of inches away to make sure it is secure. Take off any loose material, then re-mud over the nail pop.
Wall Nail Pops. If the area is damaged, use mesh or paper tape in your mudding process. One foundation coat of mud and a second lighter coat is usually all you need to do to bring it even with the wall. Lightly sand the area flush with the surrounding area when dry. This is all you need to do to fix nail pops.
Ceiling Nail Pops. To repair nail pops in drywall are simular to the ones pictured above, you will probably be able to carefully remove the broken pieces of drywall around the nails and pull out the nails without doing much damage to the ceiling. If that is the case, add new screws into the old nail holes, carefully fill in the holes with "mud" and take your finger and smooth it gently over the hole to even it out.
Let it dry and then mix up a thinner mud for your texture. You will have to play around with getting your texture to flow into the surrounding texture. You may have to use a small bristles form a brush, a rag, your finger, a small blade or piece of wood to help you that will have details that flow into the existing texture.
In order to fix nail pops that have done more damage, you will have to repair a larger portion of the ceiling around the nail pops, then be selective. Choose an area that gives you the greatest advantage to be able to repair it and re-texture it.
If you are using a texture brush, as this case would be, or other texturing tools, figure out what you would need for your particular texture. More of this will be covered in the drywall texturing section.