Why Do Nail Pops Happen in a Ceiling After a New Roof?

After installing a new roof, the last thing you want to see is nail pops in your ceiling. Unfortunately, though, this is a common issue that homeowners face. So, why do nail pops happen in the ceiling after installing a new roof?

Nail pops can happen in a ceiling after a new roof due to poor installation. If the nails are not driven in at the correct angle or with enough force, they can start to work their way out of the wood over time. Besides, using the wrong type and size of nails can also cause this problem.

Read on for a more detailed explanation of why your ceiling may have nail pops after a new roof and what you can do about it.

Are nail pops in ceiling dangerous

Why Your Ceiling Has Nail Pops

If your ceiling has nail pops, it could be due to several reasons. Here are some of the most common causes:

You Have a Poorly Installed Roof

A poorly installed roof is the most mentioned cause of nail pops. If the roof is not installed correctly, it can put stress on the nails that hold it in place. That can cause the nails to pop out of the ceiling, resulting in unsightly damage.

Poorly installed roofs are often the result of rushed or sloppy workmanship. In some cases, shingles may be damaged or missing, allowing water to seep in and damage the underlying structure.

In other cases, nails may be driven too deeply into the roof decking, weakening their hold. Either way, a poorly installed roof is a major source of nail pops and other roofing problems.

You Used an Incorrect Nail Size

Another common reason for nail pops is using nails that are too small or too large for the job.

When installing a roof, it is important to use nails that are the correct size for the job. If they’re too small, they will not be able to hold the roof in place and may pop out. If they’re too large, they may split the wood, which can also lead to nail pops.

Besides causing nail pops, incorrect nail size can also void your roofing warranty. So be sure to consult with a roofing professional before beginning your project.

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Here’s a video that may come in handy if you need tips on how to select the right nails for your roofing project:

You Used an Improper Nailing Technique

One of the most common mistakes when nailing is not ensuring that the nails are flush with the surface. When nails are driven in at an angle, they can put extra stress on the surrounding material, eventually leading to nail pops.

Here are a few signs that your nails may not be flush:

  • Gaps around the head of the nail: If you can see daylight around the head of the nail, it’s likely that the nail is not driven in far enough.
  • Nails that are driven in too deep: If the nails are driven in too deeply, they can split the wood, eventually leading to nail pops.
  • Bent nails: If you see nails that are bent or crooked, likely, they were not driven in correctly.

You Used Poor Quality Wood

One factor that can contribute to nail pops is using poor-quality wood. If the wood is weak or soft, it may not be able to hold the nails in place and may cause them to pop out over time.

Poor-quality wood is often brittle and lacking in strength. That makes it more likely to break or splinter when nails are driven into it, causing the nails to pop out. In addition, poor-quality wood is often full of knots and other defects that can make it difficult to drive nails into it.

Here are more signs of poor-quality wood:

  • Knots: If you see knots in the wood, it’s likely of poor quality.
  • Splitting: If you see cracks or splits in the wood, it means that it’s weak and may not be able to hold the nails in place.
  • Bowing: If the wood is bowed or warped, likely, it’s not strong enough to hold the nails in place.

The Builder Didn’t Properly Attach Drywall to the Trusses

The process of hanging drywall is not as simple as one might think. To ensure a seamless finish, you must properly secure the drywall to the trusses.

If you didn’t properly attach the drywall to the trusses, it could cause several problems, including nail pops. When the drywall is not properly secured, it can put stress on the nails and cause them to pop out.

That can lead to unsightly blemishes on the walls and ceiling and potential safety hazards if the nails fall out completely.

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In addition, improperly attached drywall can create gaps and cracks, allowing air and moisture to enter the home and causing further damage. As a result, builders must take the time to properly attach drywall to the trusses to avoid these costly and potentially dangerous problems.

You Have Damaged Sheathing

The sheathing is the layer of material that covers the trusses and protects them from the elements. It’s typically made of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board).

If the sheathing is damaged, it can lead to many problems, including nail pops. When the sheathing is damaged, it can’t provide the same level of protection to the trusses, which can cause the nails to pop out.

Speaking of plywood, I’ve also written a guide on how to use plywood on a metal bed frame. You’ll learn what type of plywood works best for metal bed frames, and I’ll also share a few maintenance tips. [Can You Use Plywood on a Metal Bed Frame?]

You Have a Leaky Roof

One of the most common causes of nail pops is a leaky roof. When water leaks into the home, it can cause the wood to swell and put pressure on the nails. Over time, that can cause the nails to pop out.

In addition, water can also rust and corrode the nails, which can lead to them breaking and falling out. Additional signs that you have a leaky roof include:

  • Water stains on the ceiling
  • Musty odors
  • Mold growth

The House Has Settled

Over time, all houses settle. That’s just a fact of life. As the ground underneath the foundation adjusts, it can cause the house to shift ever so slightly. In most cases, this settling is not a problem.

However, if the roof is not properly secured, it can be pulled out of alignment by the settling of the house. That can put pressure on the nails that hold the roof in place, causing them to pop out of the wood.

If you notice that your roof is starting to sag or there are more nail pops than usual, it may be a sign that your house has settled and is causing the roof to shift.

What To Do if You Have Nail Pops

If you have nail pops, it’s important to take action to repair them as soon as possible. Left unaddressed, nail pops can lead to many serious problems, including:

  • Water damage
  • Mold growth
  • Structural damage

Here are a few steps you can take to repair nail pops:

Call a Roofing Expert for an Inspection

If you have nail pops, the first step you should take is to call a roofing expert for an inspection. They will be able to determine the cause of the problem and recommend the best course of action.

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Besides repairing nail pops, a roofing expert may also recommend the preventive measures you need to take to avoid future problems.

Replace Damaged Sheathing

If the inspection reveals that you have damaged sheathing, it will need to be replaced. That’s a job best left to a professional.

Once the sheathing has been replaced, you can properly secure the roof, and the nail pops should go away. Besides, replacing the sheathing will also help to prevent water and moisture from entering the home, avoiding further damage.

Fix the Leaky Roof

If the inspection reveals that you have a leaky roof, it will need to be repaired as soon as possible. A roofing expert will be able to repair the leaks and make sure the roof is properly secured. Once the roof is repaired, the nail pops should go away.

Here are a few other tips that can help you avoid leaky roofs:

  • Inspect the roof regularly for signs of leaks.
  • Make sure the gutters and downspouts are clear of debris.
  • Remove any trees or branches that are close to the roof.

Reinstall the Roof Correctly

If you did not install the roof correctly, it’s time to fix that mistake. An experienced roofing contractor can properly reinstall the roof, ensuring it’s secure and won’t be pulled out of alignment by settling.

Besides, a correctly installed roof will also be less likely to leak, which can help to prevent future nail pops.

If you need roof installation tips, check out Smart Guide®: Roofing, 2nd Edition (link to Amazon). The guide explains how to install a variety of roofs using detailed and easy-to-understand illustrations, making even the most complex roofing jobs a breeze.

Check the Attic for Ventilation Issues

If you have an attic, it’s important to ensure it is properly ventilated. Poor ventilation can cause the following problems:

  • Condensation
  • Mold growth
  • Wood rot

All of these problems can lead to nail pops. To avoid them, ensure the attic is properly ventilated by installing vents in the soffits and ridge.


Nail pops in a ceiling are never a good sign. If you have them, it’s important to take action to repair them as soon as possible. Left unaddressed, nail pops can lead to water damage, mold growth, and structural damage.

If you need help repairing nail pops or preventing them from happening in the first place, contact a roofing expert today. They will be able to inspect your roof, identify the cause of the problem, and recommend the best course of action.


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About the Author: Tung Chi