What Happens When Drywall Gets Wet (and What You Should Do About It)

Category: Water Damage Restoration

Drywall, plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, SheetrockTM, LAGYP, or GypRocTM.

Whatever you call it, it’s an important part of daily life. Yet, you never stop to think about it unless you have to, like if – heaven forbid – your basement floods.

Many Minneapolis residents have had drywall on their minds for awhile now. That’s because basements throughout the Twin Cities took a huge hit from heavy rain flooding a couple of weeks ago, especially near Minnehaha Creek.

While drywall is pretty sturdy, when it’s exposed to water for too long it can get damaged. It may lose its structural integrity, becoming soft and weak. Depending on what category of water drywall is exposed to, and how wet it got, you may be able to save it. Speed is critical to avoiding mold damage, though.

  • FIRST – You’ll first want to check your drywall for moisture. Either use a non-penetrating moisture meter or remove the baseboards and use a screwdriver to poke holes. If the drywall is soft, it is wet.
  • NEXT – You’ll need to check the interior of the wall. Do this by using a penetrating moisture meter or making a larger hole to check for moisture on the studs. Do you see insulation (even if it’s mostly on exterior walls)? It’s critical to check it for moisture content – especially if it is fiberglass or cellulose.

NOTE – If moisture is present, the walls need to be cut 2′ up and the wet insulation removed. This should also be done if the walls have been wet for several days regardless of whether there is insulation.

Insulation loses its R-value when wet and is more of a potential liability than anything else in this condition.

Wet walls and insulation will hold moisture for a long time. This means that mold clusters can form inside the wall.

If your drywall has started to mold, you will need to replace all or part of it. You want it out of your home as quickly as possible.

It’s best to have moldy materials removed by a trained professional, and that’s because improper removal can cause spores to be spread throughout the entire home. This could lead to additional cleaning. Plus, mold can cause allergies, asthma, and other conditions detrimental to your family’s health. You’ll want to be especially mindful of your home’s indoor air quality.

Do you have questions of any kind regarding basement flooding or mold? We are all about restoring healthy environments, and we love hearing from you! Call us, or leave a comment for us below.

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