The Hidden Dangers Of Drywall Water Damage…

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.


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