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Question DetailsAsked on 2/16/2017

I have pinholes on drywall in one wall of one of our bedrooms up to the celling? What could it be?

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2 Answers


I am assuming this is something showing up new - not just actual pin holes from a prior tenant who used the wall for a full-wall photo collage or such, using thumbtacks or push pins or staples. (Obviously, if from staples would be in pairs at uniform spacing between the pair of holes for each staple).

Several possibilities - from probably most likely to least:

1) they actually are pinholes - a prior owner/tenant used the age-old renters trick of filling with toothpaste or soap or damp flour or such to cover the holes so they would not lose their damage deposit or to avoid repairing and repainting before sale, and over time as the filler material dried out it pulled back to expose the holes, or morelikely you exposed the holes by washing the walls and removing the filler material. Further good washing of the wall would probably expose more holes if this is the case.

2) much less likely - your house has some of the high-sulfur chinese drywall used mostly in about 20 southern and southeast states (FL, AL, MS, LA, GA, SC mostly from what I have read) from about 2001 to 2009 and largely but not exclusively for hurricane repair work. As air moisture gets to the sulfur compounds in the drywall it is eating through the paint and forming pinholes - not common but I did see a recall report on the drywall where this was one noted problem it caused with some paints.

3) I saw (once) a case with very severe insect attack. Termites and post beetles (maybe carpenter ants too - I don't know about that) in a wall burrow and eat through the wood, and when they hit drywall will sometimes eat through the half inch or so of it thinking there is more wood on the back side, working toward the warmer side of the wall (which is usually the interior face) so normally shows up in cooler weather - but the instant they hit free air (the tiny hole opens up) they stop and back into the wall because they cannot live in exposure to free air for any peri as workers burrow away. Only real way to see if that is the problem would be to core or cut out a piece of drywall to look for the insects and interior wall wood damage and dead insects/casings, or use fiber-optic camera/inspection scope through the wall to look inside (does not work well in insulated walls through).

If this is the case and holes are currently appearing, putting your ear to the wall (maybe) or using a $10 stethoscope from pharmacy department would allow you to hear them chewing away. Check different times of the day, because some insects do not chew away all day long - especially if the wall is an outer wall and getting cooler at night - they commonly "hibernate" when their location is below somewhere around 60-70, so might only work when it is warmer out or the sun is on that wall if an outer wall.

Note - if putting a hole in the wall to look to see if insects in there, have something handy to seal it up with if you do hit insects, and note you should IMMEDIATELY call a pest control company for treatment if you do hit them, because disturbing a nest area will generally cause them to send out colonizers to set up satellite nests elsewhere in the house.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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