What Happens When Drywall Gets Wet?

Drywall, plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board, SheetrockTM, LAGYP, or GypRocTM are all different names for wall coverings that have a similar look and feel but are made using different core materials.  These are different wall coverings used in various different applications, during different eras of construction, and in different areas of the US.  

Whatever you call it, it’s an important part of modern life. In most cases, you don’t sit and ponder the makeup of your wall covering, but if you have a flood, you just might start wondering how the water affected it.   

Most of the wall coverings we mentioned above are pretty sturdy, but when they are exposed to a lot of water they can become damaged. When water damage occurs to these wall coverings, they can lose their structural integrity and become soft and weak.  They can even turn into a breeding ground for mold growth. There are some situations where it can be dried out and saved.  However, the category of water issue that the drywall is exposed to, and how wet it became, will determine whether the wall covering can be saved.  

Speed is critical to avoiding mold damage.  Water damage cleanup and restoration companies, such as Expert Restoration of Utah,  can help you with minimizing your water damage and identify if your wall covering needs to be removed or it can be saved.  Here are a few steps that can be taken to determine what needs to happen after flooding has occured:

  • First – The water damage cleanup tech will check your drywall for moisture by using 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 – The water damage cleanup tech will check the interior of the wall. They do this by using a penetrating moisture meter or making a larger hole to check for moisture on the studs and in the insulation behind the wall. It’s critical to check it for moisture content – especially if it is fiberglass or cellulose insulation.
  • Finally – 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 or not. This is a crucial step because insulation loses its R-value when has been wet.  It is more of a potential liability than anything else in this condition because it can help the growth of mold to occur.  

Wet walls and insulation will hold moisture for a long time if they are left untreated. The result is that mold clusters can form behind the wall.

If your drywall has started to mold, you will need to replace all or part of it. This is not something to ignore.  It needs to be removed as quickly as possible. It’s best to have moldy materials removed by a certified and trained company like Expert Restoration of Utah, otherwise, you could spread mold spores throughout the entire property. If this happens, you could have mold growing in other areas of your property and reduce the air quality in the property.  Mold can cause allergies, asthma, and other conditions detrimental to your health.  

Do you have questions of any kind regarding basement flooding or mold? We are here to help you with any floods, water damage from a flood, or mold issues you might have across the Wasatch Front.  

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