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Nail Popping

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I recently inspected a house and when nail popping was pointed out to me, I 
dismissed it as being normal and explained that it was due to cycling of the 
moisture content of the wood.  I was then asked why the nails were popping 
only at the top of the wall and not lower in the wall and I couldn't answer 
that.

Thinking about all the nail popping that I have seen, it seems that popping 
does occur predominately at the top of the wall and becomes less lower in the 
wall.  I have become very observant of the walls in my house and nail popping 
does seem to follow that pattern.

Can anyone come up with a logical reason for this?

I know that the temperature at the top of the wall is warmer than the 
temperature at floor level and that warmer air has the ability to hold more 
moisture than colder air, but can it make that much of a difference?

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona