Return to the Blog Home Page

So There is Moisture in Your Walls…

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Nothing good comes from the presence of moisture inside wall cavities — the number of damaging consequences that can happen to a home is extensive:

  • Toxic mold growth
  • Rotting wood structure
  • Stained swollen drywall
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Ruined insulation
  • Insect infestation
  • Continuous odors

Moisture inside a wall is typically a result of some fault or failure in the construction or maintenance of the house. It also will never get better on its own. Instead, things will get progressively worse. Here are reasons why and how wetness can seep into areas where it doesn’t belong.

  • Condensation. Gaps and cracks in exterior walls may allow cold outdoor air to seep into the warmer interior wall space. This cold air will naturally form condensation on surfaces inside the wall cavity, creating a perpetually moist environment trapped inside the wall. Careful review is required to locate and seal external cracks and gaps that allow outdoor air to infiltrate exterior walls.
  • Plumbing leaks. Water supply lines routed through wall cavities may have tiny pinholes due to deterioration and/or seepage at joints. These may leak continuously or intermittently, soaking insulation inside walls, saturating wood structure and drywall. Uninsulated copper cold water pipes may also “sweat” condensation in amounts sufficient to cause damage inside walls, particularly if structural cracks and gaps allow humid outdoor air to infiltrate the wall cavity.
  • Penetrating rainwater. Exterior siding resists showers and splashes, not water flowing continuously down the wall. Clogged gutters overflowing during rain frequently cascade water down exterior walls. Water penetrating siding may also infiltrate the wall void, triggering internal moisture damage.

Drying Out

If external signs aren’t obvious, eliminating suspected moisture inside walls requires determining its exact location. Moisture meters that utilize needle probes can identify presence of moisture inside wall cavities without drilling large holes. Once moisture is pinpointed, the wall can be opened for drying, treating mold contamination, repairing any plumbing leaks and removing saturated insulation, if present. Rotted wood can also be replaced.

Using qualified professional services to identify the cause and make the repairs will be safer and more cost-effective in the long run.

Signs And Symptoms Of Drywall Water Damage

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

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.

 

The Hidden Dangers Of Drywall Water Damage…

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

hidden drywall damageThere’s more to drywall water damage than meets the eye. Drywall construction is the standard throughout residences, composing both the walls and ceilings of most homes. When a burst pipe or indoor flooding from some other source occurs, drywall is usually the primary building material affected. The most conspicuous signs of drywall water damage are stains, sagging or bulging or actual collapse of the material. In these cases, the most cost-effective recourse is replacement of affected drywall sheets.

What You Don’t See After Drywall Water Damage

Here are a few of the less obvious drywall water damage issues:

  • Mold growth begins inside wall cavities behind drywall within 24 to 48 hours after water intrusion. Drywall forms an excellent media for mold growth because it absorbs moisture that activates mold spores and the paper backing of drywall provides cellulose, a food that nourishes active growing mold. Drywall severely contaminated with mold on the inside may show no signs of mold on the exterior. If active mold growth is detected inside the wall after water damage, drywall must be removed and discarded and the interior of the wall cavity treated with fungicides specifically formulated to eliminate mold
  • Drywall covering the interior side of exterior walls — as well as up on the ceiling — normally conceals a thick layer of insulation. Saturated insulation will typically not readily dry inside an enclosed wall cavity or ceiling. First, the continuous wetness supports toxic mold growth. In addition, moisture from the soggy material will initiate wood rot in wall studs and other wooden structure, requiring more extensive construction work to remove and repair damaged constituents.
  • Wet drywall may lose structural integrity that can’t be restored by drying alone. Seams between individual sheets may no longer align. Because drywall swells when wet, the material may pull away from fasteners and remain insecure even after drying. The paper backing on the unseen side facing the wall cavity may peel away, compromising the strength and durability of the inner layer of gypsum.

 

Steps Homeowners Can Take to Prepare a Flooded Home for Water Extraction

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

flooded homeWhen there’s significant standing water after a flood or other inundation, it’s a matter for a qualified water damage recovery crew with the expertise and specialized equipment to do it safely. However, in the immediate aftermath, you can help mitigate long-term consequences by preparing for water extraction as soon as you arrange for professional intervention.

  • Turn off gas at the meter and electricity at the main electrical panel. If the source of water damage is a ruptured supply line, turn off the water to the house at the main shutoff valve.
  • Once it’s safe to enter flooded areas, remove as many loose floating objects as you can safely reach. Be aware that water-saturated items may be extremely heavy and hazardous to lift.
  • Go ahead and dispose of loose debris that’s ruined and can’t be salvaged.
  • Since flood water may contain biohazards and toxins, take measures to protect yourself from incidental contact by wearing goggles, gloves and breathing masks.
  • Stay aware of hazards such as sharp objects that may not be visible when reaching into standing water.
  • Outdoor trash and even live animals such as snakes may be swept into your home if the water damage is the result of localized storm flooding. Be alert to threats posed by these factors.
  • Don’t try to tackle heavy structural material such as wet drywall or sagging, saturated ceilings by yourself. Leave these to the professionals.

For more advice on preparing for water extraction to speed the recovery process, contact the water damage professionals at Rytech.

Image via Shutterstock.com

What Factors Affect Water Damage Restoration Costs?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Water Damage Restoration CostsAmong the many concerns on your mind after a water intrusion in your home are water damage restoration costs. Most people have no previous experience with severe water damage and no basis of comparison to predict expenses. That’s why a reputable water damage recovery firm will make a complete damage evaluation the first step. In addition to appraising visible damage, they’ll evaluate hidden moisture inside walls, under the floor or in enclosed voids like HVAC ducts. This avoids guesstimates that later turn out to be inaccurate.

Here’s what goes into a professional assessment of water damage restoration costs:

  • The overall extent of damage. The cumulative amount of water damage is usually expressed by the total square feet involved. Because pricing is also tied to square footage, prompt action to curtail the spread of water damage is one mark of a professional remediation process.
  • The source of the water. From where the water originated is another factor in recovery cost. Recovery from a leak of a ruptured water supply line is comparatively straightforward because the water is clean and emanated from a known source. These are classified as Category 1 sources. However, when soapy drain water is the source of the water intrusion or when a sewage backup brings toxic bacterial pathogens into your home, remediation efforts must take into account the more complicated requirements for clean-up and/or disinfection to mitigate health hazards.
  • The location of damage. Water limited to a hard-surface floor affecting only baseboards will be a less expensive recovery than a pipe rupture on an upper level that saturates drywall and soaks the ceiling below. Similarly, when carpeting and other highly absorbent materials must be removed, costs will be higher.

For more about water damage restoration costs specific to your needs, contact the experienced professionals at Rytech.

Image via Shutterstock.com

Before Restoration Comes Classification — The 4 Classes of Water Loss

Friday, April 4th, 2014

water damageBecause all water damage inside a home is not equal, effective water restoration services must be adaptable also. According to the specifics of the individual event, water inundation and the damage it wreaks can vary widely. To assess this variety of circumstances, water restoration specialists have developed a standardized rating system divided into four classes to quantify the water loss that caused the damage. This enables professionals to evaluate the particular requirements of the situation in advance and implement a proven plan of action to restore the healthy environment in your home. (more…)

After Water Damage, Can Your Drywall Be Salvaged? Determining Drywall Damage

Monday, March 17th, 2014

drywall damageDrywall water damage is one of the most frequent consequences of any major water spill inside the house. Water on the floor soaks into the gypsum that constitutes the inner portion of the drywall. The process may “wick” moisture into the drywall several feet above the actual water level at the floor, slowly causing the material to swell and deform.  (more…)