What to Do About Walls and Ceilings Affected by Water Damage

Water Restoration

Water damage is an all too common issue for properties. When water damage occurs in a home, it’s likely that your walls and ceilings have been affected. This can be a serious problem for any homeowner. Water can cause significant damage to your home, including mold and mildew growth, wood rot, and structural irregularities. If you have water damage on walls or ceilings, it is important to take action immediately before it worsens or causes very serious structural damage. 

When it comes to water damage, understanding what to look for and how to repair it can help you protect your home from further harm and avoid costly repairs.

Water damage can lead to the growth of harmful mold.

What Causes Water Damage on Walls and Ceilings?

There are several possible causes of water damage on walls and ceilings. Leaking pipes, overflowing sinks or bathtubs, and heavy rains can all lead to water damage in your home. Even a small water leak that may not seem like a big deal can impact your home’s structure if left unchecked. 

Water damage can also be caused by excess moisture. Condensation, for example, from high humidity or steam from cooking or bathing, leads to an increase in moisture. In some cases, water damage may be the result of a faulty appliance, such as a dishwasher or washing machine.If you are seeing water spots on your walls or ceilings, it is likely that the drywall has been saturated with water. Once the drywall is saturated, it can quickly deteriorate and may even need to be replaced.

Water damage can also cause wood rot in your walls and ceilings, which can lead to structural damage and may require extensive repairs.

Signs of Water-Damaged Walls and Ceilings

There are many warning signs that can alert you to hidden water leaks or water damage. Though each circumstance is different, it’s important to know what to look for to avoid more significant damage and expensive repair costs. If you notice any of the following common signs of water damage, you may need to seek out water-damage professionals:

How to Dry Out Damp Walls

The quicker you are able to address the water damage, the better you and your home will be. It’s recommended that you reach out to a professional company to complete the mitigation and restoration process. That ensures the walls are truly dry before further repair, painting, or refinishing. If you choose to handle a small amount of water damage by yourself, however, here are some tips:

Professional equipment used to eliminate moisture.  

How Restoration Professionals Dry Damp Walls After Water Damage 

In the event of large-scale water damage, it’s best to contact experts, who have the right equipment and expertise to restore your home. They will determine the extent of the water seepage using a variety of water damage restoration tools. One choice is a non-invasive moisture meter. This meter uses radio waves to test for water without putting holes in the wall.

Another professional instrument is an infrared imaging (IR) camera. Since the evaporation from wet walls makes them cooler than dry walls, the IR camera can find water in walls and will do so without requiring holes or another invasive technique to the wall.

These tools are important because water damage can affect interior walls as well. Once the professionals identify wet walls, they use specialized drying equipment to dry them.

If the walls aren’t insulated:

In this scenario, the restoration expert can dry wet walls without destroying the baseboard. Every 10 to 14 feet along the wall, high-capacity air movers are employed. These air movers draw moisture off the wall’s surface, evaporating it quickly. 

The restoration expert will also install a low-grain refrigerant dehumidifier near the affected area. Depending on the moisture levels, one or more will be needed. This advanced drying equipment reduces the humidity levels to help with drying and prevent mold growth.

When appropriate, the restoration professional will install an inner-wall drying system by putting small holes above the sill plate and forcing air into the wall cavity. Studies have shown that this solution is the best and fastest way to dry water-damaged walls.

Additionally, if there’s a moisture barrier on the outside or inside the wall, the drying plan changes. Moisture barriers are coatings or materials that inhibit the spread of moisture from the wall material.

Most latex paints are permeable and don’t make up a barrier, but glossy paints may create one. Enamel paint or vinyl wall coverings create a complete barrier. Technicians will need to perforate or remove the barrier to allow moisture to escape and the walls to thoroughly dry. If there’s plastic or foil on the inside of the wall, then technicians will need to remove the wall. That’s because drying will not occur properly, and mold can develop in such situations.

If the walls are insulated:

If there is fiberglass insulation with paper backing, then an inner-wall drying system can be used, as described above. But if the insulation is foil-backed fiberglass, blown-in cellulose, or a Styrofoam material, then it can’t be dried successfully.

In those cases, removing the damaged portion of the wall, along with the insulation, is necessary to allow rapid drying and prevent mold growth.

Regardless of the procedures used by the restoration professional, homeowners should know that the equipment must operate, without stopping, throughout the drying process.

Monitoring the drying system

Finally, restoration professionals will monitor the drying system at least once a day. This ensures the equipment is operating correctly during the drying process. Monitoring includes moisture measurements to determine when the materials will successfully dry. Material dryness is measured against similar unaffected contents in that structure. When dryness levels are equal, the drying is finished, and the equipment is removed.

Water damage on walls.
A portion of a wall affected by water damage. 

For Water Damage Remediation and Restoration, Call PuroClean!

If you’re dealing with any kind of water damage to your property, it’s crucial that you act quickly to mitigate the damage and protect your property. The first step is to call PuroClean. PuroClean is a leading provider of water damage remediation and restoration services. You can reach us 24/7 in case of a water damage emergency. Visit our website or call (800) 775-7876 to connect with your local PuroClean office today!

Last edited on 8th of April 2022