Repair Tips for Water-Damaged Drywall
Water is known as one of the most common sources of property damage, and this is because there are so many ways that water can enter a property and cause harm. Water damage can happen because of natural events, such as heavy rain and natural flooding, but it can also occur due to internal issues, such as pipe bursts, sewage backups, and leaks. Knowing this, it is nearly impossible for any property owner to not have to deal with water damage at some point.
Drywall Water Damage
When water enters a property, it will become absorbed by porous building materials. Drywall is one of the most common building materials used in homes and other buildings. Drywall is made up of a sheet of gypsum that is sandwiched by two different papers. Because the exterior of drywall is made of paper, it is a porous material that can suffer water damage. The damage can result in mere water stains, or it can cause bulging or warping.
In the event that your residential or commercial property has suffered water damage, then you need to be especially concerned for the drywall. You need to act as soon as possible to prevent the damage from worsening. The water will encourage mold growth, which can occur within 24 hours of the initial water damage, so you will want to avoid that.
If your property has drywall water damage, continue reading to learn how you can identify water-damaged drywall, what pre-repair steps to take, and what you can do to resolve this issue.
What are Signs of Drywall Water Damage?
Sometimes, you may not realize your property has suffered water damage, because the cause isn’t evident like it would be if a flood damaged your home. But you will want to make sure that your drywall has suffered damage before you spend the time and money to repair it. As such, look out for the following signs, as they are likely indicators of water damage:
1. Discoloration and Stains
When walls suffer water damage, two common signs are discoloration and stains. Areas that are wet will look darker compared to the rest of wall. Irregularly shaped spots that are yellow or brown in appearance are water stains, which are usually the result of a slow water leak. However, water stains are common in the aftermath of floods and other water-related events as well.
If water reaches walls from behind, then it may cause bubbling. When the water contacts the wall, it forces the wallpaper or paint to bubble up from the drywall.
3. Peeling Wallpaper or Paint
Wallpaper is adhered to walls, so if it comes into contact with water, the wallpaper can end up just peeling off. This is because the adhesive holding the wallpaper to the wall has been weakened and made ineffective by the moisture. Although there’s no adhesive involved with paint, water damage can lead to peeling paint as well.
4. Sagging Walls
If a large amount of water is involved in the damage, it can cause your walls to sag, crumble, or buckle. This happens because the amount of water severely weakens the drywall, making it unable to hold the wall up properly. In such a case, the drywall is likely to break down.
What Should I Do if My Drywall Suffers Water Damage?
If your drywall has sustained water damage, you first need to address the water source and eliminate any standing water. This is done to ensure your safety and to ensure that the water damage doesn’t worsen.
That said, if a natural event has caused the water damage, then you need to wait for that event to pass. If the water damage is the result of a leak or burst pipe, resolve that issue first to stop the water from further penetrating your property.
When the water source has been properly addressed, extract any standing water with a water pump and wet/dry vacuum. Then sanitize the affected areas with a medical-grade sanitizer.
How Can I Do DIY Repairs for Water-Damaged Drywall?
The do-it-yourself work you can do to conduct drywall repair in the aftermath of water damage is largely dependent on how much damage there is.
1. Use Joint Compound
If only small sections of your drywall are damaged, then you can use joint compound to patch up these areas. If the section is bubbling, scrape it off with a putty knife so that the damaged part is removed. Then apply the compound to the affected area.
2. Replace the Damaged Drywall
Depending on how much of the drywall suffered damage, you can either replace just the damaged sections, or you can replace the whole sheet. If your wall is sagging 3/8 inch or more, then the recommendation is that you replace the whole thing. Otherwise, you can cut out the damaged sections and replace it with a piece of new drywall.
When replacing sections, it’s best to start with a piece bigger than necessary. That way, you can trim it to the proper size instead of potentially having a piece that’s too small to begin with. Get four drywall clips, attach them around the hole, and then put the replacement part in place. Take drywall screws to secure the replacement.
Finish it off with a thick, thorough coat of joint compound. When it’s dry, scrape off any bumps and irregularities to smooth it out. Get a piece of sandpaper to smooth the surface further but be gentle. Once you’ve finished sanding the surface, you can apply a new coat of paint.
What if I Need More Drywall Water Damage Help?
If you are unable to address or locate the water source yourself or unable or unwilling to conduct your own drywall repairs, then seek help from a professional water damage restoration service. In fact, it’s recommended that you seek professional help instead of using do-it-yourself techniques because of the expertise and experience that professionals have. Sometimes, the amount of water damage your property has suffered is simply too much to handle on your own. In some situations, the water involved can be contaminated and put your health at risk.
Knowing all this, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get water damage help from a restoration professional. There will be no guessing, and you can ensure that the job is done in a safe, efficient manner.