How to Repair Water-Damaged Drywall

Water Restoration

If you’ve ever had water damage in your home, you know how frustrating it can be. Our South Western Connecticut area is particularly prone to rainfall in the Spring and late Summer. Water can seep into cracks and crevices, causing all sorts of problems. Drywall is no exception. If you have water-damaged drywall, it’s important to repair it as soon as possible. Read below to learn how to repair water-damaged drywall.

Water-damaged drywall can cause a number of problems, including cracks and holes in the drywall, mold and mildew growth, and swelling and buckling of the drywall. Depending on the type of damage and where water has intruded, the drywall should be either entirely or partially replaced.

Signs of Drywall Water Damage

There are three major signs of drywall water damage to look for. The first sign is an obvious discolored water stain on the wall. 

Second, take a good look around the wall for any traces of mold. Bathrooms, kitchens, attics, and basements are all damp places where mold tends to grow. Inspect any wallpaper that may appear unusual. 

A final sign of water damage may be apparent on the flooring. Many times, moisture seeps from the subsoil below. Therefore, any cracks or holes in the floor should be checked.

Things to Know Before Repairing Water-Damaged Drywall

If wet drywall is caused by overhead flooding, the ceiling may collapse. Thus, when dealing with drywall ceiling water damage, your personal safety may be at risk. In this case, have your property’s structure assessed by a professional restoration company, like PuroClean.

Ruined kitchen by collapsed ceiling. Severe water damage.
A collapsed roof from water damage.

In addition, if the drywall water damage was caused by sewage backup, immediately consult certified professionals for repairs. This kind of job involves safety protocols and biohazard cleanup services that are often beyond the capacity of typical homeowners.

Before fixing the water-damaged drywall, locate the water source. Extract the standing water and dry the area. The longer the water sits, the greater the damage to your drywall will be.

How to Repair Water-Damaged Drywall

If water-damaged drywall isn’t repaired, these problems can only get worse. The good news is that repairing water-damaged drywall is relatively easy. Here’s how to repair water-damaged drywall:

  • Clear the area. Remove water-soaked furniture and building materials. Also, remove wet carpet and padding, or at least pull it back to allow the floor to air out.
  • Take safety precautions. When removing drywall, wear respiratory protection, as some older drywall joint compound contains asbestos. Additionally, remove non-affected electrical outlets before tearing out wall material. Switch off the circuit breakers first. If the outlets have been flooded, remove and discard them.
  • Remove damaged materials. Start by deciding how much drywall to cut out. If the water level was less than two-and-a-half feet, remove the wall material to a height of four feet. That helps when reinstalling full sheets of drywall. If the water level was greater than two-and-a-half feet, remove the wall material to a height of eight feet or the ceiling junction, whichever is higher. If you don’t know the water level, inspect the drywall. 
  • Remove any cracked, crumbling, or sagging drywall. If it’s just damp and the water source was clean (e.g., a burst pipe in your home), you can likely dry it. Depending on the extent of the water damage, you may also need to remove damaged wall studs, flooring, cabinets, and ceilings. 

Next, it’s time to cut the damaged portions of the drywall.

A removed section of drywall from a recent project in Wilton, CT.

How to Cut Drywall 

  1. Mark a straight line along the wall — above the point where the water stopped wicking — using a chalk line.
  2. Cut along the chalk line one-half or three-quarters of the way through the thickness of the drywall. Use a utility knife.
  3. Loosen and remove the damaged portion carefully. To make that easier, knock a small hole in the damaged drywall using a hammer. Use the hole as a handle to gently pull back the drywall.
  4. Once you cut out and remove the drywall, take out all the insulation (fiberglass, mineral wool, cellulose, wood fiberboard, etc.). Even if it doesn’t seem wet, it likely is. If it’s foam plastic insulation, you can leave it in place and allow it to dry.

Once the damaged drywall is removed, start drying the area around and inside the wall. Use high-efficiency blowers and dehumidifiers and open the windows and doors. Use fans to increase airflow behind walls and leave them running for at least two days so the studs and flooring can completely dry. Avoid punching holes in walls. This practice doesn’t help the wall dry faster. Plus, it makes it harder to repair your drywall.

Use a chemical sanitizer to prevent mold and bacteria from forming between walls. Avoid bleach, as it doesn’t prevent mold from growing. To remove severe odors, use an ozone machine and leave it running for at least eight hours. Vacate the area while the ozone machine is running.

How to Replace Water-Damaged Drywall 

Now it’s time to hang new drywall. First, measure the size of the hole to help you know how much to cut out from a new sheet of drywall. Put four drywall clips around the hole and secure each one with a drywall screw.

Then, insert the drywall pieces and secure them to drywall clips. Don’t over-tighten the drywall screws. Use drywall tape and joint compound to blend it in with the existing drywall. Finally, sand the area several times for a smooth wall surface.

Painting the restored drywall is the final step. First, make sure that the joint compound is completely dry, as it would contain a lot of moisture. Then, paint the wall with a primer to help seal the area. After that, paint the entire wall to ensure the color is uniform throughout.

For Professional Drywall Water Damage Repair, Call PuroClean!

As you’ve read, the procedures of how to repair water-damaged drywall are complicated and time-consuming. Everything needs to be done in a timely manner using the right techniques and tools. 

Don’t risk further damage by taking on the task of drywall water damage repair yourself. For professional drywall water damage restoration and reconstruction, contact PuroClean of Wilton | Ridgefield. Look us up on linkedin, facebook, instagram, call us on 475.277.2400 or email at [email protected]. We use professional equipment, such as heavy-duty air movers, commercial dehumidifiers, moisture meters, and high-volume water extractors to quickly and efficiently dry and repair your drywall and the surrounding damp areas.

Last edited on 22nd of August 2022