Your walls could be wet for some reasons. It can just be a washing machine disaster, a leak on your pipeline, or a flood after a storm. Your once drywall could turn into a splashed surface. It does not need much effort getting wet but drying and restoring it is not easy.
A wet wall is maybe not a big deal, but it can affect surrounding areas. It can be a breeding ground for molds and bacteria. It can also release airborne spores that could cause bad air quality. So getting it dry must be done quickly.
- Estimate the extent of damage - You can easily spot wet areas on the wall surface. However, you cannot tell if it is wet below the surface. You can gauge the extent of damage using a moisture meter. Any reading above 1% indicates that the material underneath is compromised. It can be considered as emergency water cleanup that should be done as soon as possible.
- Determine the wall finishing - If you can easily spot the soaking areas on your sheet rock, you can assume that the wall is painted with one or two coat of flat or semi-gloss paint. This type of finish would not seal the moisture underneath, and drying could be easier. However, if it is covered with vinyl wallpaper, high-gloss enamel, or layers of wallboard, it may take longer to dry as moisture would be trap underneath and may need professional attention.
- Move everything out - It can help speed up drying time. Check carpets and padding for any water damage, if it is damp, then you may need to pull it up and cleaned. Also, check for any potential mold growth.
- Use appropriate equipment - You probably need to rent large dehumidifiers and high volume fans that can generate temperature around 115 degrees Fahrenheit with no more than 14% relative humidity.
- Seal, fire up, and monitor - During the water restoration process, make the room as airtight as possible. Seal all doorways and windows with plastic sheeting. Fire up the dehumidifier and monitor progress with your moisture meter. It can take up to three days to dry a wet wall.
- Repaint - When your sheet rock walls are completely dry, paint over treated area with a thin coat of alcohol or oil-based primer then finished it with a fresh coat of paint.
Tips in drying wet walls
- Make sure you have uncovered and repaired the cause of the water damage before cleaning up. If you are not sure, then call an expert before things get worse.
- If there are molds already and anyone in your home has significant health issues, let the drying process to a specialist.
- Walls that have been soaked for days lose its structural integrity and may need replacement.
- If the cause is from overhead flooding, be mindful that it can also bring the ceiling to collapse.
- Water damage caused by sewage backup requires an understanding on biohazard cleanup so do not risk in doing it yourself.
- Call a professional water cleanup company in facing extensive damage. They can assess your structural integrity, do the drying process, material tear-out, and complete restoration.