Drywall Water Damage: What Can be Saved?

Because drywall is the most common interior building material in homes, drywall water damage is almost inevitable during flooding or major water leakage from sources like plumbing ruptures. Most drywall is composed of a layer of gypsum sandwiched between glued paper, and typically makes up the covering of all interior walls and ceilings. Beyond the coating of paint on the outside, interior drywall has little water resistance—in fact, gypsum absorbs water readily and holds it for an extended period. Because drywall water damage is usually a factor whenever interior water inundation occurs, it’s worthwhile to know when it can be saved and when to discard it.drywall water damage

  • If professional drying techniques and specialized equipment are utilized—and the drying process is initiated ASAP after the water damage event—wet drywall that has not deformed or disintegrated can often be retained.
  • If drywall has absorbed so much water that it deforms, it is usually unsalvageable. This is evident when saturated walls bulge outward or ceilings sag. Deformed, deteriorating drywall presents a safety hazard due to potential collapse, not to mention aesthetic issues. Sagging or bulging drywall will never be structurally sound again nor regain its original shape, and it should be cut out and replaced.
  • If the cavity inside an exterior wall is filled with water-saturated insulation, the drywall covering the interior side of the wall will usually not dry. It is often more cost-effective to discard the wet drywall in order to remove the soggy insulation, then re-cover the wall with new drywall.
  • If drywall remains wet for more than 48 hours before drying techniques are initiated, mold growth may be triggered. Mold grows readily on both the exterior and interior side of damp drywall. Hidden mold thrives inside wall voids as well as infecting wooden building materials such as studs. Any time mold growth occurs on drywall, the affected segment must be removed and discarded and mold remediation methods used to decontaminate the wall cavity and associated building materials before recovering with new drywall.

For more information about treating drywall water damage, contact Rytech, Inc.

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