After an event that causes water damage in your home, not only would the floors be affected, but often the walls are as well. Thus, it’s essential to know how to dry wet walls—or call a restoration company immediately. Quick-drying reduces the risk of structural damage and prevents mold from growing.
Understanding how water saturates drywall
Before you learn how to dry a wall after water damage, here’s a look into how water saturates drywall. Water that enters a room from ground level will cover the floor and floor covering. It will then begin to “wick” up the wall because of capillary action in porous materials. The extent of this movement depends on the wall’s construction, the amount of water, and the water’s height on the wall material.
Drywall is an absorbent material that contains gypsum and a cardboard-like paper on both sides. Drywall can wick water up to 30 inches! The water will be present on both sides of the wall. Often, however, it’s higher on the inside due to restricted evaporation on that side of the drywall. While water damage is sometimes visible, at other times, the wall does not show signs of this moisture.
How to dry a wall after water damage
To begin with, decide whether to handle the problem yourself or call a professional company. We recommend the latter if you don’t know how to dry wet walls or the damage is extensive. Sometimes, the water damage is obvious, but most times, it’s hidden, and those not trained in water damage restoration may miss it.
If you want to DIY, here’s how to dry wet walls out:
If a burst pipe led to the water intrusion, turn off the water source. Hire a plumber to fix the broken pipe before any drying can take place.
Accelerate drying by opening windows and doors. Use fans to move air around the damp walls. Dehumidifiers can help remove moisture from the air, which indirectly removes it from the walls, too.
To speed up evaporation, remove molding and baseboards to prevent moisture from entering behind them. Store the molding in a dry, safe place to avoid damaging it. Also, remove objects hanging on the wall, such as paintings and portraits.
Remove wallpaper if you have it. This takes patience, but it’s important as the wallpaper forms a “seal” that holds moisture in the wall. Wallpaper removal solutions, which dissolve the adhesive, are available at your hardware store. You will also need 3”-6” broad knives to scrape the wallpaper once released.
Note that fully drying out walls takes time, so don’t rush the refinishing until the walls are dry. A moisture meter can help you be sure. Once completely dry, you can reverse the process and refinish your room. Inspect the removed items for any moisture or mold growth before reinstalling.
Drying wet walls quickly and correctly is crucial. If you can’t dry your walls immediately, don’t let the problem get worse by waiting. Call a water damage remediation specialist and leverage their expertise, experience, and equipment.