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How to Spot + Fix Drywall Water Damage



Dealing With Drywall Water Damage? Here's How To Fix It

With its volatile climate and notoriously cold, rainy winters, New York properties see their fair share of issues. Property owners know there’s always a risk of damage – but a speedy response can prevent further problems and recover your property.

Drywall water damage is one of the most common issues our remediation team sees, and the signs might not be visible until the damage gets worse.

In this guide, you’ll learn what causes drywall deterioration and the steps for repairing water-damaged drywall before the rest of your property is compromised.

What is drywall?

Drywall is a popular material, used in the construction of properties. In the USA, it’s made from gypsum plaster and is most common in modern homes.

Drywall is commonly used to face interior walls and ceilings, and to create features such as arches and eaves. Think of it as a finishing touch for walls, frames and structural features that need to be hidden to create a modern feel inside the property.

While drywall is a cost-effective and long-lasting solution, it’s not as durable as traditional plaster, which means water damage can cause severe issues. If water gets inside drywall, it has no way to escape. So the water will sit there, weakening the drywall plaster which will lead to bubbling, cracks, holes and the eventual peeling away of the material itself, exposing the structures underneath (which may already be affected by water damage, depending on how long the moisture has been present).

In short, any drywall that has been exposed to an excessive amount of water needs to be inspected as soon as possible, to decide on further course of action. Water damaged drywalls are usually removed and replaced, but repairs can be effective if the amount of water was less than a couple of feet, and short term (such as a matter of days).

What causes drywall water damage?

There are numerous potential causes of drywall water damage, including natural events and human error. They include:

  • Condensation: Air conditioners are often forgotten about, but they’re a significant source of water damage. When excess condensation forms, it can make its way into the wall.

  • Leaky roof: Roof leaks can occur due to excess rainfall or issues with any gaps in the ceiling.

  • Storms: New York sees its fair share of storms each year, often leading to leaks in the ceiling and walls.

  • Overflows: Toilets and bathtubs might overflow, and this causes issues throughout the property. Appliances can also be causes of leaks, so remember to check whether yours are functioning correctly regularly.

These are only a few causes of drywall water damage; anything that can lead to water getting into your walls is a risk. Sewage backups can also be problematic because moisture can still seep into the basement walls, and that will cause huge structural issues.

Identifying wet drywall

Most people don’t notice drywall damage early on because they don’t know how to identify the signs. There are three main signs of a drywall affected by excessive moisture:

Water stains

A completely dry wall will have no discoloration, but water damage can often leave stains. If a patch of your wall looks different, it’s probably a strong indicator of excess moisture. Also look for peeling paint and bubbling.

Mold growth

Mold grows in areas with excess moisture, so it’s common in kitchens and bathrooms. However, wall material is also a breeding ground for mold and is not as easy to spot.

There might not be any visible stains, but there are ways to spot mold and mildew growth before it gets out of control.

You might notice a faint musty odor or minor mold stains on the affected area, but if there’s no visible mold, allergy-type symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itching are signs of a problem.

Cracks and holes

If your property has cracks and holes, that doesn’t mean there’s water damage. However, it is a potential hazard and can cause considerable problems in the future. All it takes is for a leak to cause the wall to get wet, water for seep into the holes and then into the wall material. Before you know it, you have a large damaged area that could be dangerous and costly to replace. For example, the whole building could collapse if water gets in through your roof and damages the ceiling joists.

Water can leak from the ceiling into drywalls, so always check for cracks before doing anything else. Cracks are usually an indicator of a bigger problem so be sure to get any cracks or holes checked out by a professional

How to repair water damaged drywall

If you want to repair water damaged drywall successfully, it’s essential to address the issue immediately. Leaving it will only result in further damage, such as warping and collapsing, so look for the signs of water damage, or look to fix the issue as soon as standing water has been removed.

Whether it’s a burst pipe, overflows, or leaks due to storm damage, the first step is to fully address the water source to ensure the drywall will not be exposed again. The best way to get this peace of mind is to use a local water damage restoration professional.

When the issue of exposure has been sported, you can then get to fixing the drywall.

First, remove your valuables

You should always start by removing valuable items from the property. For example, any furniture, fixtures and fittings, and your personal belongings might be salvageable – but only if you take them away from the source of the damage.

Then, clean and dry the area

The only way to prevent mold growth is to dry the wall effectively. Remove any standing water from the property, and use special equipment to dry the affected area. High-volume fans and dehumidifiers are effective but will take time to dry the wall thoroughly.

This could be anything from a few hours to 48 hours, so be prepared to find accommodation for inhabitants.

You’ll also need soapy water to wash the wall, so you’ll have to repeat the drying process. It might seem time-consuming, but removing the damage is the only way.

Next, deal with blisters

When blisters form on a portion of drywall, it’s often a sign of further water damage. All you need to do is grab a bucket, pop the bubble with a screwdriver, and allow the water to escape.

Then complete the drying process and check whether the wall is solid. If it’s not, you might need to replace the entire sheet of drywall.

Replacing water-damaged drywall

Everyone would love to salvage drywall, but if – after the drying process – the wall is still soft, the only choice is to consider a drywall replacement. If you have construction experience, you might be able to tackle the repairs – but most people bring in professionals.

The process will involve removing and replacing the entire section and drywall screws.

A professional service could save you time and money, especially as severe water damage could cause serious structural issues. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Remediation and restoration services can save your property

As a professional remediation and restoration company in New York and the surrounding areas, we regularly see how dangerous water damage can be – and know that a speedy service is central to salvaging your property and belongings.

At iFlooded Restoration, we have a specialist emergency team ready to address all issues with your property and ensure you can return to daily life.

Our full-service solution includes:

  • 24/7 Call outs

  • Location and dealing with the source of water damage

  • Sanitizing and drying the property

  • Cleaning your personal belongings

  • Repairing the damaged portion of drywall

  • Fitting new drywall if the old one has too much water damage

  • Liaising with your insurance company

Our certified technicians get the job done

Our primary goal is to offer each client a rapid and cost-effective service to prevent further damage.

With a dedicated team of fully qualified professionals, you can rest assured that we’ll go out of our way to repair damaged sections of drywall and keep your costs down wherever possible.

We’ll only replace water-damaged drywall as a last resort, so you can have peace of mind that your property is in the best hands.

Call our emergency services today, and we’ll arrange to visit your building, inspect the damage and carry out any necessary building work.