When Should You Replace Old Drywall?


Old Drywall

Most modern buildings and homes are finished with drywall. They are an excellent option for many reasons. For starters, besides providing an excellent and affordable insulation option, painters have an easy time working on them.

But you may find drywall water damage due to floods. When flooding strikes, it could damage your drywall.

However, before deciding to fix drywall in your home, you should know how to care for them. While they provide these benefits, they also take a lot of damage, leaving you uncertain whether you should patch, repair, or replace it.

Patching Your Drywall

Patching is the most common and preferred option compared to repairing and replacing drywall. This is because most damages to drywalls involve minor scrapes, indentations, abrasions, and holes. Such minor errors need nothing much, but just small patch fixes. For instance, you only need spackle, smoothening tools, and interior painting to make drywalls with tiny scrapes and holes look as good as new.

Even medium-sized holes, averaging the size of a doorknob, can be patched. You only need a patch kit specifically designed for drywalls. Note that good paint is key to returning your drywall to its original look. As such, you should do a proper repaint of the patched area and the entire drywall for a uniform appearance.

Repairing Your Drywall

You should consider repairing your drywall if it takes severe damage that isn’t extensive to necessitate replacement. Large scrapes and holes, specifically those exceeding six inches, need repairing. Fortunately, like patching, repairing drywalls isn’t complicated as it seems. Like other structures, the idea behind repairing your drywall is to replace the damaged areas with new pieces.

The best way to repair is by cutting a piece of drywall that accurately fits the damaged area. You can then join the two pieces using a joint compound and repaint the area. Note that you may need some backing support if the damaged area is quite substantial. For this, wooden furring strips can do the trick.

When to Replace Drywall

Having defined conditions that necessitate patching and repairing your drywall, identifying situations that require replacement isn’t challenging. Essentially, drywall replacement becomes imminent if the physical damage is extensive and severe enough that it can’t be solved by patching or repair.

Below are some conditions that make it mandatory to replace your drywall;

  1. Holes

As mentioned, small to medium holes on your drywall can be patched or replaced with ease. However, while patches and repairs are slightly visible, you can replace the entire panel if you don’t want such irregularities. Replacement is also unavoidable for drywalls with large holes or multiple holes that degrade the structural integrity of the panels.

  1. Water Damage

One of the common reasons for drywall replacement is moisture damage. Poor insulation and plumbing issues often allow moisture to collect on the drywall. After some time, significant amounts of moisture promote mold and bacteria growth, which gradually causes rotting of the material. Mold will eventually weaken the panels and make them unsightly.

Mold and bacteria spread fast, and your entire drywall may soon be covered with black spots. Extensive damage leads to visible bulging or crumbling, and in severe cases, collapsing of the entire drywall. If such happens, you should replace the panels for health and safety reasons. While repainting the drywall may cover the mold spots temporarily, it won’t fix the underlying problem.

  1. Cracks

Cracks in your drywall may arise due to misplaced seams. Frequent cracking occurs when seams are placed on corners above doors or windows. A misplaced seam creates weak points that are vulnerable to expansion, especially when the door or window is opened and closed. While cracks may be patched, it won’t eliminate the underlying structural issue. That said, solving this issue requires the professional replacement of drywall panels on the frame.

  1. Bumps and Bulges

Bumps and bulges are common drywall problems that often occur due to water damage or exposure to humidity. As mentioned before, water-damaged drywall is typically accompanied by mold spots or discoloration. If discoloration isn’t present, they may bump or bulge as more water seeps in. Untidy patchwork and house settling can also cause bumps and bulges. Repairing such damage is not recommended, thus necessitating replacement.

  1. Splinters

Drywalls are made from paper and plastic, which make splintering a common problem. Even though some companies have introduced drywalls made from plywood panels, they can still splinter along the joints and edges. Splintering drywalls are accelerated by water damage, settling, and rot. It can also indicate that your drywalls are aging.

If such happens to your drywall, old and repaired drywall should be replaced with dependable panels. Also, remember that panels made from plywood should not be patched.


Homeowners, especially DIY enthusiasts, can work on drywall patching and repairs, as they are not complicated. However, several holes, water damage, and cracks that require replacement of the entire wall require expert intervention. Replacements require specialized equipment, experience, and multiple workers, making it necessary to engage restoration experts.

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Jinally Shah
Jinally Shah is a co-editor at MyDecorative.Com. She is a role model, especially in Social media Optimization in business and primary tasks, with an understanding of communicating and executing all activities related to referral searches. She works closely with the team and looks after the quality and growth of off-site factors like Social Media Marketing that drive referral growth. In addition, she analyses and creates strategic recommendations for social media promotions.


  1. Water damage being one of the main reasons to get repairs was something I really appreciate you talking about. This could really be something that might have already affected our homes since we’ve been getting a lot of rain around here, and there might be leaks that I’m not aware of. I’ll ask a drywall repair expert to help me address any moisture issues for sure so everything can stay safe.


  2. Thanks for the reminder that dealing with bulges is also one of the things to watch out for when planning to get professional drywall repairs. I’m interested in looking for a good repair service soon because I’m thinking about getting some repairs done before my home’s renovation. Some of the walls in my home are pretty thin so they can easily be damaged.



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