If water is getting into your wall from rain, a sprinkler that’s too close to your house, or even from a plumbing leak you’re likely to see patches of damage on your walls near the spot of the intrusion. That’s because drywall has a paper backing, so when it gets wet, it can bubble and wrinkle, sort of like a sheet of paper does.
To diagnose the problem, place a four-foot level across the damaged area and learn how much the sheetrock has sagged. If it’s more than about 3/8 of an inch, the structural integrity of the drywall is probably ruined and the section should be replaced.
If no sagging has occurred, use an awl to randomly push into the sheetrock. You should feel substantial resistance, and the awl shouldn’t be able to penetrate the sheetrock any more than 1/8 of an inch without excessive force. However, if the awl goes through the sheet rock much deeper than 3/16 of an inch, consider replacing the section.
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