It really doesn’t matter if you refer to drywall as drywall, plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, SheetrockTM, LAGYP, GypRocTM, or any other name. Whatever you decide to call it, you are surrounded by it pretty much every time you walk into a house or commercial structure. However, unless you work with drywall or in another construction trade where you are exposed to drywall consistently, you are unlikely to think much about it unless you find yourself in a situation where your drywall is significantly damaged. In most cases, that means the damage would be done by water or moisture and probably in the form of flooding.
Drywall is generally pretty sturdy and hold up well to dings and scuffs. Once in a while you may suffer some damage from a door knob or other object hitting a wall, but again the real damage to drywall is most often caused by water. When drywall is exposed to water for too long, it gets waterlogged and as a result it may lose its structural integrity, making it soft and weak.
Is the drywall bulging or sagging?
If so, this may be a sign of significant damage in the form of saturation. If saturation, it is advised to remove the damaged drywall and insulation and replace accordingly.
Does the drywall feel wet and/or mushy to the touch? If drywall is wet for longer than 48 hours before you begin drying procedures it is highly likely that mold will begin to grow.
Depending on what kind of water the drywall is exposed to and the level it was saturated will determine whether the drywall is salvageable or not. A major factor here is handling the situation immediately to have the best chance of avoiding mold, especially toxic black mold.
Mold spores can germinate after only 12 hours in some conditions. It is important to understand that drywall is an extremely porous material that easily traps moisture. Any time drywall becomes damp or wet, settled mold spores can quickly begin their growth cycle. Depending on the type of mold, it may colonize over the course of one day to twelve days.
Dried-Out mold will eventually stop growing actively. The fact is that spores need moisture to multiply, so removing excess moisture can help you stop the spread of mold. However, any growth you have will stay exactly where it is. It does not dry up and vanish without a trace.
Check the drywall for moisture by using a moisture meter to detect moisture under the surface. A high quality moisture meter does not penetrate the drywall surface at all.
How reliable are moisture meters?
A high-quality moisture meter can be extremely accurate, even to within less than 0.1% of the material’s moisture content by weight. However, if you try to skip on costs with a low-end moisture meter, the results can be wildly inaccurate and practically useless for making any real determination of replacement needs.
What percentage of damp is acceptable
As a general measure, if you find moisture content above 15%, it is considered damp and you should take measures to actively dry the area and or initiate a replacement strategy.
It is important to check the interior of the wall for moisture by using either a moisture meter that does penetrate the wall or by making a hold in the drywall large enough to check the insulation and moisture in and around the studs.
Anytime you do find moisture to be present, it’s standard procedure to remove the drywall up to 2 feet above the area containing the moisture. Once the drywall is cut and removed, the insulation should also be cut and removed as moisture ruins the R-value of the insulation and renders it useless for any insulator effect.
It is important to note that walls and insulation that get wet can and likely will hold moisture for a very long time, causing a great risk for mold to form inside the wall. Once mold starts to form, all of the affected drywall and insulation will need to be replaced as quickly as possible. Mold is known to cause respiratory and other harmful illnesses, so you will want to make sure that any moldy materials are removed by a trained professional to minimize the risk of spreading mold spores to other areas of the wall or the entire home or business. Mold will easily compromise the indoor air quality of your home or business and healthy environments are essential to well-being.
They don’t call drywall “DRY-WALL” for nothing! For drywall to function as intended, it definitely needs to stay dry. Drywall that gets wet or harbors moisture can easily warp, rot and become a source of harmful mold. Since drywall is largely an aesthetic material, replacement will not threaten the integrity of your home or business. However, depending on the extent of the damage, the project may require extensive work particularly in the removal.
If you are dealing with a situation where water has leaked onto drywall as a result of a spill, temporary condensation, or other minor damage, you may be able to fix that damaged drywall without completely replacing the drywall in the area. In these minor cases of drywall damage, you may find water stains or to a higher degree, bubbling paint or peeling tape.
To properly repair these areas, you can use a simple drywall or joint compound to cover the area, making sure to scrape off the damaged material prior to applying the compound and painting the area.
Mold can be a serious health hazard and it can grow quickly. For that reason, you should replace the water-damaged drywall as soon as possible after the damage was done. It’s common practice to remove significantly more drywall than where moisture is actually detected to ensure that no moisture remains after the repair where mold can grow and cause harm to inhabitants.
How to Paint Over Water Damage. When you have water damaged drywall or a water damaged ceiling, it is important to make sure that all moisture is detected and the area identified. Once the area is completely dry, then you can paint over the water damage. However, trying to paint over water stains that are still damp or contain moisture will increase the chance of growing mold or mildew in the area. You may also want to apply a coat of primer to the area to make sure the paint is consistent with the original.
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