Drywall Woes: Water Damage Restoration

It doesn’t take much to make the walls wet. A leaky pipe upstairs drenches drywall in the rooms below. Rain water seeps under window sills soaking sheetrock. Once you figure out the problem and get it fixed, you still have a soggy situation on your hands. When water damage occurs in a home, you can count on adjacent drywall turning into a sponge. Its porous material quickly absorbs moisture and wicks it up into the wall. The damp spreads behind trim, bleeds under baseboards and saturates insulation.

This particular material isn’t load-bearing, but its condition affects surrounding infrastructure. When it becomes wet, the material turns into a breeding ground for unhealthy mold growth. Fast-growing microbial colonies multiply quickly by releasing airborne spores.

So today, let’s talk about how to dry out wet drywall.

Drywall woe: Gauging the extend of the damage

It’s easy to spot wet areas on wall surfaces, but how to tell if drywall is wet below the surface isn’t always obvious. Trust your visual inspection to determine the general location of water damage, but gauge the extent of the problem with a moisture meter. Any reading above 1 percent or out of the meter’s green zone indicates compromised drywall material.

Power Tip: Make your inspection easier and speed up drying time by moving everything out of the room. Be sure to check carpet and padding for water damage, and pull it up if necessary.

Drywall woe: The type of wall covering or paint

If you can easily see the damp in your sheetrock, the walls are probably painted with one or two coats of flat or semi-gloss paint. These finishes don’t seal up moisture in the drywall, and that makes the drying job easier. Areas covered with vinyl wallpaper, high-gloss enamel or more than one layer of wallboard take much longer to dry and may need professional attention.

Power Tip: Remove baseboards and trim to help speed up the wall drying process, and be on the lookout for any and all signs of mold growth.

Drywall woe: Equipment rental

You probably don’t own heavy air-moving equipment necessary for this kind of job, but you can rent high-volume fans and large dehumidifiers at home improvement centers.

Explain your project to store personnel, and ask about equipment specs. You want a dehumidifier that generates temperatures around 115 degrees Fahrenheit at no more than a 14 percent relative humidity.

Drywall woe: Using the equipment

Make the room as airtight as possible. Start up the equipment and monitor it carefully. The collection well of the dehumidifier needs to be checked fairly regularly. On average, it takes three days to completely dry wet drywall.

Drywall woe: Making sure everything is dry

Put the moisture meter to work one last time to be certain that your sheet rock walls are completely dry. When you’re confident that the job’s finished, paint over affected drywall with a thin coat of alcohol- or oil-based primer.

Feather into surrounding areas that don’t need repainting, and let dry. Repeat the prep process, and then finish off your now-saved drywall with a fresh coat of paint.

Sounds like a lot of work? Because it is. 

If you address the damp right away, you can usually dry out wet walls with good results. If you’re facing extensive damage, call in a professional restoration company. Some projects are just too big to tackle by yourself. Don’t ever hesitate to bring in experts who are trained to handle this sort of job for you.

Spare yourself the headache and call in your trusted water damage restoration company.