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Rusty Drywall Nails
Old 12-10-2007, 02:26 PM   #1
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Rusty Drywall Nails

I've got some rusty sheet rock nails showing up in our extra-humid bathroom.

My plan is to uncover them, treat them with phospho, paint them with an oil-based primer, cover them with spackle, then repaint.

Any tips or suggestions?
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Old 12-10-2007, 02:43 PM   #2
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You're sure they're nails and not screws?
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:01 PM   #3
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If they are nails, they will continue to loosen. Pull them out and replace with screws.
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:04 PM   #4
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Do they make such a thing as stainless steel drywall screws? If so, that might help.
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:08 PM   #5
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if they are tight just get a spray can of lacquer and spray nice 2-3" spots on the rust stains and recoat. simple is good.
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:08 PM   #6
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They'll continue to rust, will flake off whatever you paint them with, and may "pop" further.

Unless you pull them out and replace them with galvanized fasteners, respackle and paint.

Any chance is this in that shower you put the ceiling high shower curtains in?
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:15 PM   #7
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My plan is to uncover them, treat them with phospho, paint them with an oil-based primer, cover them with spackle, then repaint.
Bummer. I vote with the screws nominations too, and you might want to use exterior (vinyl-based) joint compound.
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:31 PM   #8
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ahem. how's your smoothwall drywall patching skills TAl? before you all have him go digging holes in the wall....?
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:35 PM   #9
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ahem. how's your smoothwall drywall patching skills TAl? before you all have him go digging holes in the wall....?
The rusty nails I've seen don't need anyone to go digging for them... they dig themselves out!
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:50 PM   #10
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The rusty nails I've seen don't need anyone to go digging for them... they dig themselves out!
k - impression i got was that rust stains showed up and that he was going to uncover the nails, then recover. Nail pop, yup, sink a screw next to it to suck down the rock and then pull the nail, but if it's a solid nail that has rusted because it was a tad high and got hit with the sanding paper... i'd advise doing the minimum necessary. See lots of homeowner projects that become big uglies thanks to "doing it yourself". The problem with most do it yourself projects is that they end up looking like you did it yourself, thus the suggestion to do the minimum required. And CFB - flaking latex paint? you've got soap on the wall, not rust.
Doing a smoothwall drywall patch and having it be invisible is not something most homeowners i know can manage. Good on you all if you can!
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:58 PM   #11
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I had discoloration from drywall screw heads in a bedroom on an exterior wall. In sub-zero temps, the cold was transmitted through them, and moisture was condensing on them somehow through the paint. Without removing any paint or anything, I used the most powerful Kilz stain blocker I could find over the little round dark spots, then repainted the entire wall with latex (just cause latex is easy). It's been a few years and no spots returning yet.
I've never yet made an invisible drywall patch. I hear it takes sanding. Uggh, the dust.
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Old 12-10-2007, 05:12 PM   #12
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Any chance is this in that shower you put the ceiling high shower curtains in?
Yes, you got it.

But I'll tell you the same thing I told DW -- some other nails in the bathroom are rusting through also, so it's not caused just by the curtain.
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Old 12-10-2007, 05:18 PM   #13
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flaking latex paint? you've got soap on the wall, not rust.
No. If the nail head is rusting then so is the rest of the nail. Unless you remove the fastener or remove the rust from the fastener (good luck with that), it'll continue to rust.

Paint it with whatever you want. In 2-3 years you'll have a bump and the expansion of the rust will crack or flake the drywall patch. Moisture will get into the crack, and there you are right back where you started.

Bear in mind that Al's house probably has 75% relative humidity year round, and that he's turned his bathroom into a steam room...

Al - too much humidity in that room. You need a higher CFM fan or a small dehumidifier running. If your nails are all rusting, mold is next.
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Old 12-10-2007, 05:37 PM   #14
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No. If the nail head is rusting then so is the rest of the nail. Unless you remove the fastener or remove the rust from the fastener (good luck with that), it'll continue to rust.

Paint it with whatever you want. In 2-3 years you'll have a bump and the expansion of the rust will crack or flake the drywall patch. Moisture will get into the crack, and there you are right back where you started.

Bear in mind that Al's house probably has 75% relative humidity year round, and that he's turned his bathroom into a steam room...

Al - too much humidity in that room. You need a higher CFM fan or a small dehumidifier running. If your nails are all rusting, mold is next.
Totally agree with the too much humidity. Use the fan, use the heater, leave the bathroom door open. Other than that - it's a matter of degree: Pull all the rock and start over, 'cause demon rust never sleeps and is lurking somewhere below the surface, or do nothing. Or something in between. One never knows what the future may bring. If a couple hours would get me a couple years down the road...

Oh - and for the black mold up in the corners: get naked, wipe the black mold with straight bleach, leaving the wall damp. Do not scrub. Throw away rag, get dressed, and leave the house for a few hours. Might be nice to toss the pets out too.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:23 PM   #15
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Do they make such a thing as stainless steel drywall screws? If so, that might help.
Actually, yes. I use drywall screws for everything and use the stainless for outside applications where appearance is a problem. I believe they have a square head drive, but a tool came with the box of screws.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:32 PM   #16
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Actually, yes. I use drywall screws for everything and use the stainless for outside applications where appearance is a problem. I believe they have a square head drive, but a tool came with the box of screws.
They now have coated exterior use DW screws in different colors - yellowish for pine, orangy for redwood, dark brown for...high rust locations? Nah - but they're pretty slick - picked up several boxes from Lowes for an upstairs deck that i redid a few weeks ago. suspect they might be less spendy than stainless, but don't know.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:59 PM   #17
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Do they make such a thing as stainless steel drywall screws? If so, that might help.
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Actually, yes. I use drywall screws for everything and use the stainless for outside applications where appearance is a problem. I believe they have a square head drive, but a tool came with the box of screws.
Yep, I use them for everything too! They're the berries! No rust, and the square drive is hard to beat.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:01 PM   #18
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Nail pop, yup, sink a screw next to it to suck down the rock and then pull the nail, but if it's a solid nail that has rusted because it was a tad high and got hit with the sanding paper... i'd advise doing the minimum necessary.
I spent enough time crawling through bilges to learn that if it's not done right the first time, it's gonna get done over. Rust won't curl up and die if it's hit with Kilz or anything else-- it'll just finish working its way through the rest of the nail with whatever oxygen/moisture it has at hand. And since rusty steel has a higher specific volume than the original nail's SV, it'll expand and eventually work its way out. The path of least resistance is usually the thin coat of joint compound on top.

The submarine force used to coat "safety" chains with a vinyl dipping compound that's commonly applied to tool handles. The idea was that the vinyl would keep the links from rusting due to humidity/saltwater exposure. The reality was that the moisture worked its way in through pinholes or cracks in the vinyl, just as it does in drywall, and rotted the chain out from within. Someone would grab hold of the vinyl "chain" on the way down a ladder, feel it stretch & tear like a wet noodle, and hurtle to the next stop. After a couple of those incidents the submarine force chipped miles of vinyl off all their safety chains. The same is happening with Al's nails, and it's going to keep going until there's no more nail.

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See lots of homeowner projects that become big uglies thanks to "doing it yourself". The problem with most do it yourself projects is that they end up looking like you did it yourself, thus the suggestion to do the minimum required.
Doing a smoothwall drywall patch and having it be invisible is not something most homeowners i know can manage. Good on you all if you can!
Yep. But try (1) getting a contractor in there to (2) do it right...
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:16 PM   #19
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I've got some rusty sheet rock nails showing up in our extra-humid bathroom.

My plan is to uncover them, treat them with phospho, paint them with an oil-based primer, cover them with spackle, then repaint.

Any tips or suggestions?
I used some vinyl coated screws (square hole in head, but came with tool) on exterior project a few years ago. Not a sign of any rust. These were used in wood, but they probably make similar for drywall, if you couln't in fact use these.

Also used some exterior brass alloy wood screws on another outside project, and no rust there either.

In short, I think you need to get the rusting nails out. No shortcuts. Also need more ventilation for that room.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:03 AM   #20
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Thanks for the tips.

I bought stainless steel screws, and I am pulling out and replacing every sheet rock nail. I've done about seven so far, and they've been pretty easy to get out. These guys are rusting even though they are not a the surface. The drywall is in great shape and securely attached.

I'm also replacing the ones that have not yet rusted.

Quote:
Al - too much humidity in that room. You need a higher CFM fan or a small dehumidifier running. If your nails are all rusting, mold is next.
You're right, but I can't fight it. Humidity is almost always over 80% outside. That bathroom is the farthest room from our woodstove. It is 52 degrees in there this morning. The fan is pretty strong, and I have it on a timer so that it can be left on when away or asleep. I may get a super strong fan to replace it.

I've considered a dehumidifier, but I'm sure it would be running full time. The problem would be solved if I used the forced air furnace for heating, but that would be cheating.

I have to clean mold every month or so. I'll be repainting this with a paint that is guaranteed to prevent mold for five years. We'll see.
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