A recently detected dishwasher leak (2nd floor) has been feeding water to the drywall in the bedroom underneath. There are water stains on the ceiling and the wall's paint show traces of water seeping through them. The walls are not soft (soaked) where you push your finger through the drywall, but discolored and the paint in affected areas will need to be removed.

Small bugs are crawling on the affected dampened areas. I have sprayed rubbing alcohol to kill the tiny insects. This situation was found by the termite inspector in North Florida (Jacksonville), they are not termites. He thinks they might be weevils but they are under 1 millimeter in length and do not photograph well

The leak has been remedied today. Is it reasonable to expect the drywall to be dry in a week and the insects to die / disappear when all has dried up? I prefer to avoid using insectisides, but will do what is necessary to exterminate

Any lessons learned or specific experience is appreciated: thank you

  • 3
    As a homeowner, and a rather particular one at that, I would not hesitate to cut the old drywall out and repair. It really stinks a leak occurred, but you have no idea what the REST of the wall, or the insulation in the wall looks like. Also, wet drywall will never look perfect again, and it is weakened by water. The biggest cost to this job is your time.
    – noybman
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


Drywall wet enough to push your fingers through, will not dry enough to 'recover' its strength. The paper outer layers will have separated and the inner plaster turned to a mushy mess.

Definitely expose the affected areas. When water gets into walls it can smell for years. As an absolute minimum, you need to remove all the drywall and insulation which was wet. Then you can begin the drying out process. Vaccum up the insects and then seal the dust bag in a zip lock polythene bag for disposal.

If it still smells funny after a while, some folks like to paint everything on the inside the opening you made in the wall (similar to repairing fire damage) to 'seal' in any odd smells. Just a thought...

  • 1
    I do agree with opening the wall to get things dry, insulation can hold quite a bit of water, if I am worried about mold growth I spray with 3% hydrogen peroxide and water won't stink and will kill surface mold, learned this trick when working for a hospital, they used hydrogen peroxide for sanitizing and it won't stink like bleach solutions.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:24

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