Drywall is often used on walls and ceilings in homes and businesses. While it’s relatively affordable, nobody wants to replace it if they don’t have to. One of the most common reasons that I have seen people have to replace or repair drywall is due to water damage. Water damage can happen anywhere and is usually the result of a flood or leak. If you notice your drywall has water damage, there are some things you can do to repair or replace it.
Do you need to replace Water Damaged Drywall:
In general, you need to replace water-damaged drywall. Only for minor damage and no signs of swelling, you could let it dry. Water will quickly soak into the drywall and cause it to lose structural integrity, show stains, signs of swelling, mold growth, and warping over time. Keep in mind that it can take a short while before the damage is visible.
In this blog post, I will further explain if you need to replace water-damaged drywall. What are the signs of drywall water damage, what about mold, what if the bottom got wet, and can a drywall ceiling be saved?
- 1 Do you need to replace Water Damaged Drywall?
- 2 Water Damage Drywall Mold
- 3 Bottom Of Drywall Got Wet
- 4 Drywall Got Wet During Construction
- 5 Can Wet Drywall Ceiling Be Saved
- 6 Is Drywall Ruined If It Gets Wet?
If the drywall has been exposed to water for any period of time, it likely has water damage. You may notice the damage immediately, or it may take some time. Water can quickly soak into the drywall and cause it to show stains, signs of swelling, mold growth, and warping. Once the drywall has been damaged by water, it won’t be usable. You can’t cover it with paint or hide it with trim. The entire section that was exposed to water will need to be replaced.
Some of the most common water damage signs on drywall that I have seen during my repairs include:
You will notice that some of the drywall feels soggy or wet. It may be damp or soft. Even after the drywall dries, these spots will remain soggy and will not hold up to everyday use. In some cases, the wet areas of drywall can fall apart.
Your drywall will change colors once it’s exposed to water. In most cases, the wall will look brown or black. You may notice streaks and lines where the water leaked down or was absorbed up into the drywall. The worse the damage, the darker the color.
If there is wallpaper or paint on the drywall, you may notice that it appears to be damaged. The wallpaper can bubble and peel, and the paint can soften and chip. This can occur immediately after the flood or leak, or it may take some time to appear.
Water can seep into your drywall and start to break it down pretty quickly. You may notice it starts to slump or looks crooked. You might see spots crumbling or chipping away. If there is a leak that you can’t see, it could leave water behind the drywall, where it continues to break down the structure before you even see it.
Mold grows in damp and moist areas. If you see mold starting to grow on your drywall, it could be a sign that there is water damage. The water damage may not be apparent, but it could be on the back of the drywall or hidden inside. You will need to have the mold removed and possibly replace the drywall.
Not all signs of drywall water damage are seen. If you notice a musty or wet smell when you walk into a room, it could mean you have a leak somewhere. The water can get trapped in the drywall and start to cause a bad smell. It can sometimes be hard to find the source of the scent, but if you are careful, you can track it down.
It is not uncommon for mold to start growing on drywall once it has been damaged by water. The water is absorbed by the drywall, and it slowly allows mold to grow. The mold can grow on the front or back and can even thrive under the paper where you can’t see it easily. Anytime you spot mold growing in your home, it’s a good idea to call a professional mold remediator to have it removed. In most cases, the drywall will be removed completely. Mold can be difficult to remove safely, and the best way to do it is to remove the entire surface it’s growing on when possible.
I do not recommend removing mold on your own. This can cause the particles and spores to break loose and travel to other areas of your home and continue to grow. Instead, I advise calling a mold remediation expert to handle the removal. Not only will they do it safely and quickly, but they will ensure the mold doesn’t grow back so you can focus on other projects and repairs in your home. It can be a little more costly to hire a professional mold remediator, but the peace of mind is worth it.
If the bottom of your drywall gets wet, you may or may not need to remove it. In some cases, the drywall can be dried quickly before the water damage spreads or the drywall becomes too damaged. If the water has been standing for a long time and has soaked into the drywall, you will need to replace it. If the drywall is only wet on the very bottom and that portion can be hidden with trim, you may be able to cut the damaged part out and patch it, and then cover the work with trim or molding.
When you are having construction work done in your home, you sometimes have to store the drywall, and there’s always a chance it could get wet. Rain, leaks, and even moisture from pipes or certain construction products can cause the drywall to get wet. In some cases, you might be able to save it, but if the damage is too severe, you will need to replace the sheets.
If the sheets of drywall are already installed and get wet, you might not want to tear them all out immediately. If you know the drywall is wet, but you don’t see any signs of damage, you can hold off on replacement. Keep in mind, drywall can hold water and moisture for a very long time. There’s always a chance mold can grow inside it. Even if you can’t see the mold, it can still be a problem. Anytime your drywall gets wet, you should make plans to replace it.
If the drywall has not been submerged or exposed to a lot of water, it may be able to be saved. But it would be best if you acted quickly. These are the steps you need to follow:
● Step 1: Find and fix the leak
Find the leak or cause of the wet ceiling and repair it. You won’t be able to save your ceiling as long as the leak is still occurring. Sometimes the leak can occur on the floor above you, on the roof, or behind the walls. You may be able to see water streaming down the wall, or you may see puddles around the area of the leak.
Keep in mind that the water does not need to be there all the time. If the culprit is a problem on your roof, it could be leaking only during rain. As it can take a while before the signs on the drywall are visible, it can sometimes be hard to make the link with the roof. Also, the location of the damge on the drywall does not need to be close to the location where the roof is leaking. Water can easily find its way to a different area.
● Step 2: Dry the drywall
Dry out the drywall as soon as possible. The longer the water has to soak into the drywall, the more damage that will occur. You can dry out the ceiling using fans and by opening the windows in your home. If you have a leak in the floor above you, you may need to add fans and ventilation to that room as well.
If the damage is more extensive, I recommend using a professional dehumidifier. Such a model can remove much more water per hour than a household one. But keep in mind that it can take quite some time (days) before the drywall is really dry.
● Step 3: Check for mold.
You may think that you caught the leak in time and are able to save the drywall, but you also have to think about mold. Mold can grow if there is moisture present, and if the drywall absorbs a lot of water, it could be the perfect place for mold to grow. I have seen many people think that their drywall is fine only to realize it’s covered with mold where they can’t see it.
It depends on how long the drywall was exposed to the water. If the water has been sitting on or against the drywall for a few hours or days, it will likely be ruined and need to be replaced. If the water was only spilled or splashed on the drywall but was cleaned up and dried immediately, it may not be enough moisture to ruin the drywall.
It’s essential to act quickly. The faster you remove the water and dry the drywall, the less likely it will be to be permanently damaged. Anytime your drywall has been exposed to water, it’s a good idea to inspect it for mold. Mold can cause health problems if left to grow, and it can quickly spread to ruin other walls and ceilings in your home.
Finding out that your drywall has been exposed to standing water can be a stressful experience. You don’t want to replace drywall in your home or panels you purchased for an upcoming project. Water and drywall don’t mix, but if you do notice your drywall is wet, you may have a chance at saving it. Remember that the sooner you remove the water and dry out your drywall, the better your chances of saving it.