Building expert Tim Carter of The Washington Post describes the first step in fixing wet drywall as using a nail to punch a drain hole in a wet surface to allow the water to escape. He also states that if the drywall seems soft or spongy, then cutting out the damaged section before it sags and possibly falls prevents further damage.
Carter further explains that cutting ceiling drywall presents the most difficult task and may require the services of a professional. However, he says that plenty of tools, from a razor-sharp knife to a reciprocating saw held at a low angle, can get the new drywall ready after the damaged section has been removed. He also suggests cutting to the side of a joist and then nailing on a scab or a sister 2-by-2 to create the lath catcher for the new drywall. However, he warns that the bottom of the framing material must be flush with the bottom of the existing joist; otherwise, the ceiling becomes uneven. Carter explains that depressions around the fasteners, such as nails or screws, are the first visible signs of failing drywall. These depressions begin as small dimples and later take the form of upside-down craters.