Termite Damage To Drywall And How To Repair It

Termite Damage To Drywall?

This article covers basic drywall repair that could be caused by virtually anything including termite damage to drywall, water damage to drywall or just patching big holes in drywall. The photos on this page were taken from work I did in May of 2010 after exterminators got rid of a pesky termite home invasion. You can follow what I did for any drywall repair, but in this article I'm covering drywall repair as it relates to termites. I'll cover determining the extent of the damage and I've included several pictures of the process involved.

Termite infested drywall

Termites Don't Actually Eat Drywall (or Paint, for that matter..)

Actually, termites really don't like to eat drywall or paint. They do, however love the paper and glue that covers the drywall board. When the wall becomes wet, the paper soaks up water and invites them in. They will burrow between your painted wall and the drywall as they eat their way across your walls.

You can see exit holes across the wall if you look very closely.

wall with termite holes

Note in the photo how I used an awl to rip the painted part away as I followed along the same paths the termites did, giving me an exposed view of the termite tunnels and how much damage to the drywall was actually done.

I removed all the baseboard and cut out the termite damage to drywall with a utility knife and a straight edge. Notice how I cut everything nice and square and split the studs so I could secure the joints of the new drywall along the edges:

Termite Damaged Drywall Ready To Patch

Notice too that the holes in the walls don't follow any pattern, I just made sure I cut all the termite damaged drywall away. After pulling away the carpet (which was later replaced in this house) I cleaned everything up with a shop vac. This gave me a fresh working surface. I examined the insulation to make sure it was dry and mold-free.

Cutting the new material is simple enough with a utility knife and a straight edge, and I screwed all the pieces into place using 3/4" drywall screws. Notice along the window there was a metal corner mold and I was careful not to damage it since it was still in excellent shape.

Cutting the hole for the electrical outlet is really just a matter of careful measuring and cutting. I usually draw the hole I want on the new piece with a pencil, then cut it out using a hand held hole saw, or a utility knife.

After all the new drywall is screwed into place, I use a combination of a 10" mud knife and a 6" putty knife to create as smooth a surface as possible. This is usually a 2-step process, since drywall mud shrinks as it dries. For the mud, I use All-Purpose Lightweight Compound.

It's inexpensive (about $8 from your local home improvement store for a 40 pound box) and I always have a large box on hand. For this job I applied 2 coats to get the surface to appear smooth to the rest of the wall. After sanding with a wire sanding mesh, all that's left to do is match the texture.

This job required a crow's foot texture, which is applied by hand using a crow's foot brush. There are a few extra steps that need to be done, like a good termite inspection you can even perform yourself and then getting rid of the pests, but termite damage to drywall is just like any other drywall repair, actually.

after termite damage to drywall

Crow's foot texture about half-way dry

I'll try to cover some texture techniques in a later article...meanwhile, I hope this one helps get you started applying what are fairly simple techniques to drywall repair.

 Once the texture dries, I apply a light coat of primer to seal the work before painting the entire wall. 

Drywall Textured For Smooth Finish
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