How to Dry Water Damaged Walls
When your home suffers water damage, it is especially important to address any harm that has been done to your home’s walls. A property’s walls are vital to its structural integrity, so if they have suffered water damage, you need to do what you can immediately to limit the structural damage the water has caused. Water can also spread quickly, meaning any damage it can cause can also be done in a short period of time. Additionally, the quicker you act, the lesser chance there is for mold growth.
While water damage drying is best left to professionals, especially if the water involved is contaminated, there are still things you can do to help speed up the drying process. Use the following tips as a guide on how you can dry your home’s water-damaged walls.
1. Identify and Address Water Damage Source
If you haven’t already figured it out, find out what has sourced the water damage in your home. This is important to do, because addressing the source will prevent it from causing more harm to your property.
For example, if a burst pipe has caused the water damage to your home, be sure to turn off its water source. Before you can dry the walls and the rest of your damaged property, you need to get the broken pipe fixed immediately. The faster the pipe is fixed, the sooner you can go about drying your residence and the less damage there will be.
If your home has been damaged by flooding, you can get a sump pump to extract the water.
2. Establish Air Movement and Dehumidify
You can help accelerate the drying process by placing fans around the damaged walls. Be sure to also open any doors and windows so long as the weather permits. If you have a dehumidifier, then place it by the wet walls as well. Not only will the dehumidifier remove moisture from the air, but it will also indirectly remove it from the damaged walls.
3. Clear the Damaged Walls
By clearing damaged walls, you can help the moisture evaporate quicker.
If you have framed portraits, paintings, and/or décor hanging on your walls, then take them down. Store them elsewhere where they will be safe.
You should also remove baseboards and molding from the walls so that moisture doesn’t get trapped behind them. Once they’ve been removed, store them in a safe, dry place so that they will not become damaged.
When the walls are clear of décor, moldings, and baseboards, you must remove wallpaper from the wall if you have it. It can be a difficult, time-consuming process, but this is a necessary step to take. This is because wallpaper creates a “seal,” and it traps moisture in the wall. With trapped moisture, not only will there be water damage, but it can easily lead to mold growth.
To dissolve the wallpaper adhesive, go to your local hardware store to purchase wallpaper removal solution. Also buy 3-6-inch broad knives to use for scraping the wallpaper off.
4. Be Patient and Check for Mold
Walls need time to be thoroughly dried out, so you must be patient about the drying process. Don’t start to refinish the walls until they are completely dry. You can use a moisture meter to make sure your home’s walls have been dried completely.
You also need to keep an eye out for mold. Mold thrives in moist environments and uses building materials as a food source. That said, mold growth is a common occurrence when there’s water damage and can even happen behind the walls. Look out for a musty smell and/or black, gray, or green patches on your wall. If you have vinyl wallpaper, mold can grow behind it and appear pink, purple, or orange in color.
5. Get Professional Help
Even though you can tend to water-damaged walls on your own, the best action to take when your home has suffered water damage is to get professional help from a water damage restoration company. This is especially the case if contaminated water is involved, as you’ll want to distance yourself from it.
Professionals have the necessary knowledge and proper equipment to thoroughly dry your home’s walls out. They will first safely extract the water, use various techniques and equipment to ensure your home’s structure is completely dried out, and can tend to any mold growth that has developed in response to the damage.