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How to Repair a Water Damaged Wall

December 06, 2017

Whether you’ve experienced a basement flood, leaky roof or dripping pipes in your home, it’s crucial to repair or replace water damaged drywall or sheetrock before mold and mildew set in. Gypsum, the mineral that forms the majority of drywall, is porous and highly absorbent, meaning it loses its structural integrity with exposure to water.

Identify the leak

To begin addressing a water damaged wall or ceiling in your home, you must identify the source of the water. It is possible for water to travel far from the site of the leak and cause damage elsewhere, in unexpected areas. If you aren’t sure where the leak is, contact a licensed plumber to help you out. Without identifying the source of the water, the problem will resurface again later.

Assess the damage

Depending on the amount of water present and the duration of saturation, you may be able to repair the water damage. Heavily saturated drywall will sag or crumble to the touch and must be totally replaced. If the drywall is still securely fastened to studs and the water damaged area is small, you may be able to remove a small portion of the wall and patch it.

Remove wet drywall

When dealing with wet drywall, remember to wear safety goggles and masks. If you’re dealing with a basement flood situation, use a laser level or other device to mark 6 inches above the waterline around the room. If you are repairing a small area, mark a square or rectangle around the water damaged area to cut out. Lay down a tarp to catch dust and debris.

Use a sharp utility knife to cut at the line. Remove baseboard trim and then remove wet drywall. You may also need to remove wet insulation. If you find that the insulation is wet even above the line you’ve cut, more drywall must be removed.

Before replacing drywall, give the area at least 48 hours to fully dry out. Fans and dehumidifiers are helpful in this process. In the meantime, contact a licensed electrician to determine the extent of electrical damage to outlets and switches in the walls and whether they need to be replaced.

Replace damaged insulation and drywall

After the affected areas are fully dried and vetted by an electrician, you can replace insulation and drywall. If you are not experienced with drywall, you may want to contact a licensed contractor to finish this step for you.

Call Roto-Rooter for more information on our water damage restoration and repair services. Our water leak repair services include slab leak detection, any plumbing leak, pipe leak repair, as well as hidden water and sewer leaks. No matter how big the emergency, the plumbing professionals at Roto-Rooter are ready and equipped to help.

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