I live in central Texas and my house has 6" wide pine siding. Nails have
been popping out at an alarming rate. I'm getting ready to paint, so part of
my prep will be taking care of the nails. Some are sticking out over 1/2
inch. I'm sure that if I just hammer them back in they'll just pop out
The question is, why not replace those nails with screws? They won't pop
Do I risk splitting the wood using screws? (maybe I should countersink?)
What kind of screws should I use (galvanized deck screws, stainless steel)?
The house is 16 years old, on it's orignal paint (which is pealing badly).
The north side of the house gets no sun exposure, thus no paint peeling, and
no nails popping out.
The sides with the most exposure have the most peeling and the most nails
The nails used originally are the ring shank type.
Many thanks in advance,
You're fighting a loosing battle. Small diameter stainless screws will
hold for a while (look at what McFeeley offers) but wood and the Texas
sun are not compatible. In some municipalities around Dallas the code
now prohibits all but vinyl siding or masonary materials...no wood siding.
I'm not in Texas but summers here in Calif get pretty hot. This is what
I did three years ago and I have no problem so far. Used those self
starting drywall screws. I drill three holes. First a snug clearance
hole through the siding. Second, a smaller hole to pilot the screw, (I
used 3/32" for 3" long screws). Third, a bit of a countersink. Before
screwing the screw in I dabbed a little Elmers glue on the screw.
If you wish to cover the screws with putty I would recomend making some
sort of downward indentation (nail or small drill) in the countersink
area to discourage the putty from falling out later. Good luck.
(Frank), About the downward indentation to keep putty from falling out you
mentioned - I may not be clear on exactly what you mean. I do want to use
putty, but I'm trying to figure out where you put the indentation exactly,
and how doing that keeps putty from falling out. Perhaps what you mean is
that the indentation will act as a catch holding the putty in - kind of like
the putty now has an arm or 'peg' that fits into the hole (indentation) and
provides some resistance to outward pressure, effectively holding the putty
Why would you ever use a screw on wood siding? Just get yourself some good
siding ringed galvi nails and if it is clapboards make sure you hit the wall
studs with at least a 2 1/2 inch nail. If its shakes it doesnt matter. If the
siding is buckling it is because not enough space was left for expansion.
The siding is not buckling. It is just those type of nails that are popping
out at an alarming rate. I don't know anything here, but I just don't want
to repeat something that already doesn't seem to work.
That's it exactly. I used a small drill downward at about 60o in the
bottom surface of the countersink right at the edge of the screw head.
Doesn't need to be all that deep. The screws don't tend to screw out
but I wanted to be on the safe side, especially since it takes no time
to speak of.
Drywall screws rust and have a higher tendency to split than regular "wood screw"
form factor screws.
Better to use treated decking screws or even stainless (especially in coastal
areas or with certain woods) - besides, they're available in square drive.
Unless the wood is very brittle, predrilling (and countersinking) is
totally unnecessary, especially with standard "wood screw" form factor
With most modern screws you don't need to do clearance holes even you
do need pilot holes. Drywall screws tend to be "all thread", which means
you can "bridge" the siding (not getting the siding hard down against the
substrate). Wood screws have a bare portion near the head, same diameter
as the "ideal" pilot hole, so they won't bridge, and don't need a different
diameter clearance hole.
The glue is completely unnecessary and doesn't do anything useful.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
the nails are "popping" because they were not nailed into the studs.
try re-nailing the siding into the studs and remove all popped nails.
screws are not necessary.
galv. or S.S. spiral nails work better than ring shank nails.
What studs? A 16 year old house in central Texas is likely to be more
like a plywood tent. Construction in Texas, in my experience is the
worst I have ever seen. Most likely it is 2x4 studs covered with tar
paper and cedar boards placed vertically over that. There may be a nail
at the bottom and top in a 2x4. Nails along the cedar boards at any
other place only pass through the overlapped cedar. Looks good for a while.
I think the clue is that the north side is ok and the paint is peeling
elsewhere. That usually means that you don't have the proper
ventilation between the siding/sheathing and the back of the
fiberglass insulation. If you have soffits which expose the back of
the walls, you can cure this problem by drilling one inch holes near
the bottom of the walls between the studs and inserting vented plugs.
If not, you have to provide a way to ventilate the top of the wall
cavity behind the insulation as well.
I think the paint is peeling due to trapped moisture. If that's the
problem, you have to solve it before you paint as the new paint will
just peel as well.
Your post is very compelling to me because it addresses a potential root
problem. Being a first time homeowner, I'm not very familiar with certain
terminology, soffit being one example. The dictionary and a cursory web
check didn't help much. Let me describe the structure of the exterior walls,
and ask a couple of follow up questions to be more clear about the potential
ventilation/moisture problem and how to solve it:
The outside walls are built with 2x4 studs with insulation in between the
plaster sheathing (this is some kind of material that is meant for this
purpose, it looks like 5/8" sheetrock with a darker paper). There is no
backing to the insulation, it is just the pink fiberglass insulation.
The siding covering the attick wall has no insulation behind it.
A tree shades one half of the south side, and that part looks more like the
north side - no peeling or nails popping.
The house sits on peirs with ample crawl space to drill holes to ventilate
the spaces between the studs from the bottom.
The attick allows this opportunity to ventilate the tops of some of these
spaces, if this is what you're talking about, but not all the spaces easily.
The east and west walls are most accessible from the top, the south is
difficult because there is not much clearance between the top plate of the
walls and the roof. I don't know how I would drill 1" holes there, I know a
Milwakee hole hawg won't fit there, as I was recently up there with one
drilling 1" holes to run phone and data cables in the walls. I could
probably drill a few 3/8" holes thru there though.
An info item to add: When the sun comes up in the morning, I can hear
cracking or popping noises form the siding, presumably from the heat causing
expansion. I'm assuming this is what's causing the nails to pop out.
Where is this moisture forming and how does the moisture affect paint
Why is there no moisture problem on the north side, is it because the
temperature does not swing as greatly because of no sun, if so, how do
temperature swings cause moisture to collect and affect the paint?
Is there any way to know for sure if I have a moisture problem that's
affecting the paint?
Assuming I have a moisture problem affecting the paint, will fixing this
help with the nails popping out?
Assuming your roof overhangs the sides of the house, the horizontal
surface of that overhang is called the "soffit". The vertical section
of the edge of the roof (where the gutters are normally hung) is
called the "fascia".
Sounds like "homasote" (probably spelled incorrectly). There should
have been some kind of moisture barrier between the sheetrock and the
insulation. The purpose is to keep warm moist air from penetrating in
the winter. What happens is that at some point between the warm
inside and cold outside is the dew point, the point at which water
vapor condenses to form a liquid. If there is no ventilation, it is
trapped there and can form mold and warp the siding in the summer.
Probably because there is little direct sunlight in the summer.
That's good, just be sure to put those screened vent plugs in the
holes to keep insects and rodents out.
If you can't drill a 1" hole, a few smaller ones would probably work
ok. You probably won't be able to use the screened vent plugs. Maybe
you can lay strips of screening over the holes and staple it down?
It might also be from the moisture turning back into vapor which could
do the same thing.
The moisture forms as I mentioned earlier: trapped in the wall during
the winter and saturates the siding. That is guaranteed to cause
paint to peel. If you don't cure it but repaint, the paint will
continue to peel.
I'm not sure, but it sounds like it might well be caused by the lack
of direct sun. If the moisture problem is still there, it can form
mold and eventually the siding will get a bit "pulpy".
One sure way is to peel the paint during a warm morning and see if the
wood feels wet.
I really appreciate you taking the time to help me like this. I had come
close to pulling the trigger to get the house painted without having learned
about this moisture problem. This advice could save me quite a bit of money,
not to mention anguish.
It sounds like I should ventilate the wall spaces. I assume I should drill a
hole in the top and bottom?
One thing perplexes me: the siding covering the attick space has peeled at
the same rate as the siding covering the insulated walls of the living areas
of the house. The attick walls do not have any insulation, there are vents
at the top (near roof peak) as well as 2 fake dormers that each have a big
vent instead of a window. The airflow up there seems quite good to me, as I
can feel the temperature cool fairly rapidly from the warm day to the cooler
evening from being up there working. This begs the question: if moisture is
getting trapped in the insulated walls and soaking thru the siding causing
peeling, then what about the attick boards? I would think that since there
is quite a bit more ventilation in the attick compared to none in the
insulated walls, that the attick siding boards would not have peeled at the
Having said the above, I should point out that there are ventilation holes
in the verticle board under the roof overhang that go into the attick space.
Most of these are blocked by insulation.
I should also point out one of the 2 bathroom's exhaust fan's vent pipes
terminate about 8" away from the roof vent. My inspector told me to get that
fixed so no moist air from the bathroom goes into the attick. I put my hand
over that pipe and could barely feel any flow at all - I think it is just a
real cheap piece of junk put in there by the builders. It really doesn't
seem to move much air at all. The other bathroom vent's pipe is terminated
near the dormer window vent. Also, the kitchen stove vent pipe is terminated
about 10" below the roof vent - making a 10" gap between the roof vent and
Event with these exhaust termination gaps, I still think that there is
pretty good ventilation in the attick, but I don't know anything.
To tell you the truth, this doesn't sound right. Stud walls normally
aren't ventilated. While it's true that, for example, brick veneer exterior
walls should be ventilated, that's _not_ in the stud bays. The ventilation
is between the brick and exterior sheathing. Similarly, the natural gaps
in vinyl siding provides ventilation between the sheathing and the siding.
This should also _should_ be happening with wood siding.
These days exterior walls usually are (from inside to out), wall covering
(eg: drywall), vapor barrier (6 mil plastic), studs and insulation, sheathing
(eg: plywood or OSB), house wrap (eg: Tyvek or Typar) and then exterior finish.
Vapor barrier is often left out in warmer/dryer areas.
Missing vapor barrier can be _part_ of the issue you're having, but adding
"real" vapor barrier is quite expensive. Good quality "vapor barrier rated"
interior paint would help in that case. But the fact that you're also having
trouble with the uninsulated attic walls too suggests that isn't the problem
Improved ventilation is usually much more of an issue with attics, where the
ideal is to have inlet vents in the soffits going to exit vents near the
peak of the roof. Most times this simply involves making sure that the
ceiling insulation doesn't plug air coming from soffit vents into the
main part of the attic.
It sounds like the root problem you have is with the existing paint covering
on the siding. An apparent moisture issue is caused by the paint problems,
not the other way around.
I could be way off-base here, but it sounds more like you should have a chat
with a professional house painter who specializes in problem jobs.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.