How to prevent filled plasterboard ceiling screws popping again (Ed.)

28 Sep 2016
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United Kingdom
I'm not sure how to describe this quickly (sorry):

We had a lot conversion done.
After a time (quite a long time - don't remember how long exactly) a number of holes popped out - where the plaster board was screwed into the rafters.

I assumed this was fairly 'normal' settling of the new construction and filled the holes with a (self mix) filler.
I decided (no time/too lazy) to wait to paint over the sanded patches until I was ready for a bigger re-paint job on more of the house.

Then the holes came back. - The filled patches popped out - or cracked so much I will need to pop them out and re-fill.

Is this a sign of a badly built loft conversion (Not that I can do anything about that now)?
How can I fill these hoes so that they stay filled?
Is there a better - more flexible - filler anyone can recommend?
Is there a particular technique for filling these kind of holes (I assume there remains some seasonal movement in the loft)?

Any ideas much appreciated.


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Had a similar issue with a vaulted ceiling to my rear single storey extension 7 years ago. Went through process of refilling a couple of times. Seems to have settled down now, last filled about 3 years ago. Just used normal plaster, wetted area before filling. I put it down to roof structure drying out and bedding down (will have to wait and see what heavy snow fall brings). Tightened the screws up a touch before repairing. Good luck.
Thanks for your reply.
It's been a while now since the build.
Perhaps I'll just give it another go...
I'll make sure to wet it down well this time. Don't remember if I did that last time.
Try 'wetting' the hole surface with a bit of PVA glue first?
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Wetting it first is very important. Most of the time they pop out if someone is walking above the room.
The only things walking above are pigeons!
But I will definitely make sure I wet the holes before filling.
Allways a good idea to make sure any hole is wet before filling!!
Last edited:
Was it wet when the extension was built? Sometimes if the timber the plasterboard is attached to got wet and swelled during install, once the roof is on and the heating is on, the wood dries and shrinks and pops the screw heads out of the plasterboard .
It was not wet when built. There was a scaffolding roof over also.

Is there any particular filler anyone recommends - that might accommodate a little seasonal movement?
Push on the plasterboard either side of the screw and see whether it is firmly trapped against its supporting rafter/joist. Sometimes if rafters are a bit uneven/not in line with each other the plasterboard won't flex far enough under the pull of the screw to accommodate the deviation so you end up with a small gap between board and rafter. Over time the board will relax into its new shape and can be pulled a little further (by tightening the screw) to close up any gap that persisted from construction time.

If the board does move I'd recommend using a magnet to find the screws either side of the popped one and dig the heads out, tighten those up too, and filler over them. Also, if they aren't at 150mm spacing, put some more screws in along the line.

Once a board is nicely trapped against its supporting wood it is less likely to pop the screws as any movement will be experienced by the rafter, screw and board. If there is a gap so the board can move independently of the rafter and screw, that's where the point load that pops the plaster off comes from
Thanks very much for this advice.
I don't remember much movement when I filled them the first time but I will investigate.
If the screw has been overtightened it will keep popping , put another screw in to side of it(30mm away) to prevent further movement .

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