While drywall is durable and can withstand regular wear and tear, it doesn’t mix well with water. As a result, damp drywall can lead to rot, mold, and health hazards.
But does wet drywall always need to be replaced? Not necessarily.
If your drywall has gotten wet, you may be able to salvage it depending on the extent of the damage and how long it remained wet.
Here’s what else you should know.
Should You Replace Drywall If It Gets Wet?
You don’t always need to replace wet drywall. Here are the factors to consider when choosing whether or not to replace sections of your wall.
How Much Water Is Involved
The more water involved, the harder it will be to save your drywall. For example, a small leak that was quickly caught and barely hit the walls will be easier to dry out than a flooded basement that sat for days.
Bottom line – if your walls are soaked, they’ll be hard to dry out and, therefore, hard to save. On the other hand, if your walls weren’t fully saturated, there’s still hope.
Also, the source of the water matters.
If you’re dealing with a sewage leak, you need to replace the walls the sewage came into contact with. Regardless of whether or not there’s significant water damage, the sewage has introduced bacteria to the wall.
How Soon You Can Remove The Water
The longer water sits against the wall, the more moisture it will absorb. So if you are quick to fix the source of the problem and clean up the water, you’ll have a better chance of saving your drywall.
How Quickly You Can Dry It
The quicker you dry out your wall, the less chance of mold and mildew growth.
If you stopped the water source, removed any standing water, and immediately began to dry out the wall, you might be in the clear.
How To Tell If Drywall Is Wet
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your drywall is wet. These are the signs you should look for.
Water Spots or Stains
Water spots and stains usually look like circles on the wall. They typically have a brown tinge to them.
Black, brown, or green spots on your wall indicate water damage or mold growth. Anytime you notice one part of your wall looking like a different color, it’s probably the result of excess moisture.
Peeling Paint or Wallpaper
When gypsum walls absorb excess moisture, paint and wallpaper won’t adhere to them. If your paint is peeling or bubbling up, that’s a sign of wet walls.
Also, if your wallpaper is lifting, that’s a sign of water damage or humidity issues.
Bubbles in your wall are a major indicator of water damage. You need to replace the wall in any spots you see bubbles.
Sagging or Crumbling Walls
If your walls are sagging or crumbling, moisture has damaged them beyond repair and affected their structural integrity. You’ll need to replace them as soon as possible.
How Long Can Drywall Stay Wet?
Standard drywall can stay wet for about 48 hours. Any longer and mold may begin to grow.
Of course, there are other factors to consider, like whether or not your drywall is mold-resistant. If you installed mold-resistant drywall, you have a longer safety net.
Will Drywall Dry On Its Own?
Drywall can dry out on its own, depending on the temperature and humidity within the house. For example, if your drywall got wet from a small leak but there’s low humidity and high heat in your home, then yes, the drywall may dry without intervention.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t step in, though.
You need to do everything you can to speed up the process. This includes drying the wall with a towel, running a dehumidifier, and pointing fans toward the wall.
If you don’t take these steps, you’re giving your walls a chance to grow mold and mildew.
How Long Does It Take For Mold To Grow On Drywall?
According to FEMA, if your drywall is soaked, mold can grow in 24 to 48 hours. This is why acting quickly to dry your wall is so important.
Can You Repair Wet Drywall?
Yes, if your drywall has gotten wet in a spot or two, you can cut out the affected area and replace it with new sheetrock. Replacing sections will keep you from having to replace entire drywall panels.
Should You Hire A Professional Drywall Company?
If a large portion of your drywall is wet, you’ve noticed mold or mildew, or you don’t feel capable of handling the situation yourself, call a professional drywall company.
Not only can a professional drywall company properly assess the situation by checking the walls with a moisture meter, but they can help you file a homeowner’s insurance claim if necessary.
You don’t always have to replace wet drywall. It will depend on how wet the drywall is, how long it sat wet, and how quickly you acted.
If the drywall shows mold, sagging, or discoloration, you will need to replace it. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, call in a professional drywall company.