Drywall is a flat panel of gypsum plaster squeezed in between two sheets of thick exterior paper used in homes. Builders use it to create walls, ceilings, arches and other interior design features. It is an ideal construction material – inexpensive, fire-resistant, quickly installed, and easily cut to size. All U.S. residences that were built or renovated in the last 70 years probably have drywall in them. However, similar to a sponge, this gypsum material is water-absorbent and is an easy target when drywall water damage occurs.
Repair or Replace?
The decision to repair or replace drywall after water damage depends on the amount and duration of water exposure. Remediation for minor incidents involving small amounts of water exposure over a brief period of time such as splashing water from faucets or small appliances may simply require using absorbent cloths and fans to thoroughly dry the affected area. However, heavy soaking over an extended time due to a severe incident such as flooding saturates the gypsum plaster and may require drywall removal and replacement by a professional.
Saturation of the gypsum plaster causes the rigid drywall to deform, resulting in loss of structural integrity. In addition, mold may grow on the soaked drywall. Dark spotting or blotches on the exterior of the affected section may indicate mold contamination. When mold is disturbed, spores are released into the air and can be dangerous to human health. Effective drying methods must be started within 24 to 48 hours following the water damage incident to prevent mold growth.
Drywall Water Damage Remediation
High-volume air movers can be used to rapidly dry the affected areas if the section of drywall has been exposed to intermittent small amounts of water and has not been soaked through. In addition, high humidity should be reduced using dehumidifiers. High humidity is common in water-damaged areas and produces condensation that may stain and further degrade the drywall. If the drywall section is dried in a timely manner, it can often be repainted to conceal any stains. A moisture meter should be used to verify that the drywall is completely dry before painting.
Drywall Water Damage Replacement
When drywall is completely saturated and thus distorted by water damage, or if the water source is polluted by sewage or some other toxic source, it must be removed and replaced. Drywall replacement would involve removing the damaged section, attaching new drywall to studs, and then painting.
If you are unsure, a professional water damage remediation expert can help you determine the extent of the damage, identify the source of the damage and confirm whether or not mold is present and safely remove the water-damaged drywall. A licensed professional will have the industrial-strength equipment necessary to accelerate the drying and restoration process.
ProKleen is a fully licensed general contractor, and their team of professionals are trained to handle drywall water damage restoration and mold removal. If you suspect drywall water damage in your home, contact ProKleen for an immediate response.