How to Repair Water Damaged Drywall
When water gets into drywall, it can create the potential for a lot of damage. Not only will it affect the drywall and require it to be replaced, but it may also damage the studs, insulation, and even the wiring or plumbing that is situated behind the wall. Knowing how to repair water damaged drywall first requires the ability to identify all water damage that exists. The yellow stains on the drywall are a first-level indication. There may be a musty smell from molding or rotted wood behind the drywall. Insulation that is wet may smell like old newspapers. Wet drywall may also attract pests that can endanger health and create their own unique smells. Follow these steps and you'll be able to complete this repair quickly and effectively.
1. Repair The Cause Of The Water Leak First.
The first thing you must do is locate the cause of the water damage and repair it. If you simply replace the water damaged drywall, all you'll do is create the need to repeat this repair at some point in the future.
2. Remove The Water Damaged Drywall.
You will want to have breathing protection in place for this step. Wet drywall often has mold or mildew contained in it that can be irritating to breathing passages. There may also be drywall dust that pollutes the air. Some areas may even experience fungal or moss spores. Make sure all of the water damaged drywall is removed before proceeding to the next step.
3. Prepare The Remaining Drywall For The Repair.
You'll now need to remove enough drywall to expose 50% of a stud on all four sides of the repair site. This is necessary for you to be able to install the new drywall at the appropriate point in the repair. It is helpful to have a utility knife at this point in the repair process so the drywall is not damaged at the edges.
4. Inspect For Further Water Damage.
You'll want to inspect the studs behind the water damaged drywall for damage. If the studs are wet, allow them to dry for 24-48 hours with a heater in place. Any wet insulation will need to be removed and disposed of properly and the wall containing the wet insulation dried out. You may also need to inspect joists, corners, and the subfloor as needed. If the wood is still soft after drying out, these items may need to be replaced as well and that may require building permits.
5. Begin The Installation Process.
Once the repair site has dried out, you can begin to install new products. It begins with the insulation. Make sure it is in place and snug before proceeding. Wear gloves and long sleeves when installing fiberglass insulation. You'll then measure out the size of the the repair site and cut the new drywall board to match that size. A circular saw creates a cleaner cut than most other tools. Once cut to size, install on the wall by affixing screws in each corner and then affixing along the edges. If there is a middle stud between the edges, then you'll also need to affix drywall screws to this center stud. You'll need to mark the line of the stud either above or below the repair site or use a stud finder with laser or chalk lines to complete this part of the repair.
6. Tape Your Seams.
All screws and joints must be taped in order for the repair to have long-term durability. Standard drywall tape will accomplish this.
7. Cover Your Seams With Joint Compound.
Standard joint compound can be spread over the tape to seal off the repair and give it strength. It is not necessary to cover the entire drywall board with joint compound. Once the seams and screws are covered, allow 3-4 hours for the compound to dry. Sand to make it flush with the wall.
8. Finish The Repair.
If your wall is textured, you can now add that texture to create an aesthetic match to the existing wall. Allow the texture to dry and then you're ready to paint. Adding a layer of wall primer before painting, even if there is primer contained within the paint, will help to give the repair added resiliency. Make sure each coat is allowed to fully dry before proceeding. Knowing how to repair water damaged drywall can improve the environment of a home and even make it healthier. Follow these steps and you'll be able to complete this job quickly, affordably, and effectively.
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