Can Wet Drywall Be Saved? (Sorry, It’s Not So Straight Forward!)

Can wet drywall be saved? Sorry, it’s not so straight forward...

As the name may suggest, drywall doesn’t cope very well when it gets wet. 

And any people believe that as soon as drywall gets wet is irreparably damaged.

And although that is not always the case you do need to be careful with it. 

Here's how to tell if your wet dry wall is beyond saving or not...

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How can you tell if drywall is wet? 

There are five main ways to tell if your drywall is wet

  • It’s not uncommon for there to be an overwhelming smell of damp when a Drywall gets wet. You may also be able to smell mold. Many types of mold, including Black Mould, spread quickly through wet Drywall.

  • Dark patches may appear across the wall. When Drywall gets wet it can absorb an incredible amount of water. One of the easiest ways to tell if your wall has gotten wet is to look for dark patches. 

  • When a Drywall absorbs too much water it can begin to bow and change shape. This can be because parts of the wall are swelling or parts have caved in. 

  • A way to tell if parts of the wall have caved in is to look for cavities and/or piles of crumbling plaster. If the Drywall gets too wet it’s binding can begin to dissolve. This leads to the wall disintegrating and major structural damage. 

  • Sometimes our Drywall shows very little signs of being wet. It can be possible to feel the damp in the wall. You may see droplets of water on the surface of the wall. This is a sign of the wall being saturated with water.

Another foolproof way to tell if your wall has any dampness is to use a Moisture meter.

These machines not only measure if there is any moisture but also how much moisture there is in the wall. 

This tool is really useful for finding dampness, but it has another use.

When drying out wet Drywall, moisture meters can help you to understand what's going on in the parts of the wall you can't see. 


What should you do with wet Drywall? 

Despite the general belief to the contrary, wet Drywall doesn't necessarily mean ruined Drywall.

There are a few different situations that could be seen as 'wet Drywall', each should be dealt with differently. 

If a small amount of water is splashed against the wall there is nothing to worry about. Simply wipe the wall down and leave a window open for the rest of the day. 

If you find one of your Drywalls is wet but has not warped or started to disintegrate you may still be able to save it.

You should make it a priority to dry the wall out within 48 hours of finding the damp (also see how to cut drywall with an Oscillating Tool)

If the wall has been damp for over 48 hours then it is a different story. We recommend replacing any Drywall that has been wet for this long.

The saturation of the wall for that length of time can lead to warping, disintegration, and serious mold growth. 

One of the best ways to save wet Drywall is to quickly dry it out. Let's talk about the best way to do that. 

Extremely wet drywall that needs dried out if to be saved

How can you dry out wet Drywall?

Drying out Drywall can be a tricky job. If you are not confident in doing it we recommend bringing in some professionals.

They will have all the correct equipment, training, and know-how to tackle your issue. 

However, we do understand that during peak flooding time the professionals are difficult to get hold of (and we know some of you like to do these things yourself). So, here is a set by step guide to drying out wet Drywall: 

Step 1 - Stop the water leaking into the wall. If the cause of this is flooding you might not have much control over the timings. If there is a burst pipe get that fixed before starting to dry out the wall. 

Step 2 - Strip the wall. Remove any wallpaper from the Drywall. You should also remove any furniture resting against or attached to the wall. 

Step 3 - Remove the molding and baseboards from the wall. Don't forget to store the molding somewhere very dry. 

Step 4 - Open all the doors and windows in the room/that part of the house. 

Step 5 - Set up a fan in front of the wall to circulate air around it. Followed by a dehumidifier to pull all of the moisture from said air. Keep these going. Regularly use your moisture meter to check that the wall is drying out. 

Step 6 - Do not reattach anything to the wall until it is completely dried out. Doing this too early could lead to mold and/or structural damage. 

DO NOT - try and dry your wall out using heaters. Doing this can make the wall more fragile, and make the wall collapsing or disintegrating much more likely. Whilst using air and a dehumidifier can be frustratingly slow, it is what's best for the long term health of the Drywall. 

Are there alternatives to Drywall?

Here is a list of some alternatives to Drywall, suggested to us by experts:

  • Wooden Planks 
  • Plastic Panels 
  • Veneer Plaster  
  • Plywood 
  • Lath and Plaster 
  • Textured Wall Panels

Can wet Drywall be saved? 

Yes, in certain situations, wet Drywall can be saved. If you do find wet Drywall with no signs of structural damage the most important thing to do is to dry it out quickly.

If you see bowing or disintegration or the wall has been wet for over 48 hours you will need to replace the wall. 

Follow the instructions above to learn how to dry out Drywall, or call in professionals to do it for you.

Last update on 2021-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API