Signs And Symptoms Of Drywall Water Damage

drywall water damage on ceilingIndoor water damage often includes drywall water damage. When pipe ruptures, overflowing fixtures, outdoor flooding, or other inundations affect a house, this ubiquitous building material is usually involved. Composed of a layer of gypsum sandwiched between cardboard paper facing, drywall’s water resistance is very dependent on duration of exposure. Once drywall has absorbed water, it may not be salvageable or worth the cost of attempting to dry out and repair versus removal and replacement with new material.

Evaluating drywall water damage

According to Gypsum Association guidelines, if drywall has been affected by Category 3 water —such as from a sewage backup or outdoor flooding—the decision is a done deal: Replace it. Absorbed contamination such as e coli bacteria and outdoor pollutants like fuel, pesticides and other chemicals make drywall a toxic hazard that needs to be eliminated from the house. Here are some other signs and symptoms to evaluate drywall water damage:

  • If drywall shows visual evidence of bulging or sagging, this is a sign of saturation and the material must be removed. A soaked, sagging drywall ceiling or wall is also a safety hazard to occupants. Other signs of saturated drywall include swelling or buckling and/or pulling loose from the mounting screws that secure the material to studs or ceiling joists.
  • If drywall feels wet and/or mushy to the touch and has remained wet for longer than 48 hours before drying procedures could be initiated, mold growth is very likely to occur. Removal is therefore advised, along with any wet insulation behind it. Mold remediation techniques should be applied inside wall and ceiling voids covered by the material.
  • In addition to visual signs and symptoms, a water damage recovery professional will utilize more accurate, definitive methods to evaluate drywall condition after water damage. This includes use of moisture meters with specific settings to measure moisture content inside gypsum wallboard. Based on these readings, superficial residual moisture may be eliminated with standard drying procedures including forced air and heat while saturated drywall will likely be replaced.

Contact Rytech, Inc. for information about the professional approach to resolve drywall water damage.


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