Apr 8 2019

Water-Damaged Drywall

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Water-Damaged Drywall, NEF2.COM

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Water-Damaged Drywall

You can replace drywall if it sustains water damage.

Water-damaged drywall is fairly common; over time, most homes experience a certain amount of damaged drywall from water exposure. Walls can be splashed on from broken pipes or damaged by natural causes like rain or flood. Drywall cannot tolerate moisture, and even a small amount can soften the gypsum compound that makes drywall an effective insulator and a natural base for paint. You should remove and replace drywall with even minimal water damage.

Causes and Types

Water-damaged drywall is almost always the result of leaky water fixtures from a sink, tub or toilet. The type of damage caused when an area floods due to storms and rising waters is typically extensive and usually results in complete home restoration or even demolition. Water damage can also occur when a roof leaks, but, as with flood damage, this kind of damage also typically results in complete restoration or replacement by professionals and is covered by insurance. Almost anyone can remove and replace minimal drywall that is confined to the first few inches around the damaged area.


If drywall is exposed to water, it will become crumbly, and even painted drywall can change color. If you’re not sure if the drywall is damaged, poke it with your finger. If it moves with little pressure or you can create a small divot with your finger, it is damaged. Run your finger along an exposed edge, and if it crumbles and leaves paper hanging loose, it is damaged. To determine the depth of the damage into the wall, hammer a small nail into the drywall at intervals, moving out in a circular perimeter around the damaged area. When you hit solid drywall with the nail, you will be able to feel a solid thud, and the nail will come out with white powder on it.


After you locate the damage, locate the two nearest studs on either side. Slice down the center of the studs to provide the necessary anchoring for new drywall. First, use a cutting blade to score along the studs. Use a framing square to cut lines perpendicular to the studs to form a rectangular or square cutout piece containing the damaged area. Cut deeper along the score lines until the drywall is separated; remove it. Use a claw hammer or a cordless drill to remove nails or screws from the wall. If necessary, remove screws or nails from adjoining pieces of drywall. Cut fresh drywall to fit the hole and nail or screw it in.


If the water damage is in an area that is likely to become damaged again, do not use drywall. Instead, use a waterproof hardboard made from pressed wood fibers or a waterproof composite material available at your local home improvement store. You can also use waterproof enamel paint, but this type of protection is not permanent and will only postpone future replacement. Note that if you are experiencing drywall damage, a good chance exists that your floor underlayment is damaged as well. Chipboard underlay can be damaged just as easily by water as drywall is.

Written by CREDIT

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