Drywall, also called sheetrock, is used for walls and ceilings in homes. It is made of panels of plaster enclosed on both sides with thick sheets of paperboard. Since drywall is partially made of cellulose, termites can readily feed on the paper in drywall and cause damage.
To help prevent damage to your home, including drywall, follow home maintenance guidelines to correct moisture issues and schedule regular inspections with a licensed termite specialist. In parts of the U.S. where subterranean termites are very active, termite control methods – including termiticides and monitoring and bait stations – can help prevent or reduce termite activity around your home.
Signs of Termite Damage to Drywall
Since termites often consume walls from the inside out, there may be few visible signs of damage. Once a termite technician has identified the infestation, he or she may be able to show you small “trails” that indicate the paths of tunnels in the sheetrock paper.
Sometimes termites make small holes in the drywall paper. Subterranean termites use soil to fill these holes, drywood termites do not. If you notice small pin-sized holes in sheetrock (also spelled sheet rock) or wallpaper, schedule a termite inspection before moving forward with any repairs.
Trained termite specialists typically can detect signs of activity before termites can cause significant damage to the drywall. For example, termite experts can look for drywood termite droppings – a sign of a nearby infestation – and test the wall’s soundness.
Inspectors also may use infrared scanners to sense temperature variations within walls or the ceiling. Certain variations in temperature can indicate areas with high moisture or potential termite activity.
Repair Sheet Rock Damage Caused by Termites
If termite damage is limited to sheet rock, it can be replaced in sections. However, if you find signs of termites in sheet rock damage, work with your contractor to confirm there is no additional damage behind the sheet rock. If termites have damaged sheet rock, they may have damaged wall studs or ceiling joists near the sheetrock. These structural components can be more difficult to repair.