Does Wet Drywall Needs to be Replaced – Or Can it Be Saved?

Wondering what happens if Drywall gets wet? Does Wet Drywall Needs to be always replaced or can it be dried out and saved?

In this guide you will learn:

  • What Happens to Drywall once it has absorbed moisture,
  • Common Signs of Water Damaged Drywall,
  • How to Repair & Dry out Wet Water Damaged Drywall,
  • Dangers of Mold formation in Wet drywall & dealing with it.

Drywall is an amazing material but the one thing it’s bad at is being wet. Damage to drywall from water can happen very quickly and have serious consequences.

However, the good news is there are some simple solutions you can try to save your water damaged drywall.

What Happens When Drywall Gets Wet

Drywall is made from gypsum (plaster), paper and binders.

When kept dry, these materials form a strong, rigid, insulating, noise reducing, fire retardant, versatile and cheap building material.

When wet the paper layer of drywall bubbles and peels, the gypsum weakness and the binders encourage mould growth in the drywall.

This all happens because paper and gypsum soak up water.

Once water seeps into drywall it swells up as it absorbs the extra water. This causes unsightly bubbling and peeling of the paper but most concerningly it weakens the gypsum.

In fact, it starts to turn to mush – actual goo. Some binders and the paper provide food for mould, once wet a colony of potentially toxic mould can permanently take hold.

Heavy, weakened drywall will start to sag and can eventually collapse, potentially causing damage to other fixtures and fittings.

In the worst cases, wet drywall can lead to the demolition of the entire structure.

Is Getting Drywall Wet Bad?

In short, yes, it’s very bad. You might get away with a little bit of damp, but wet drywall will become unsightly and attract mould.

If it stays wet or gets really wet, it can fall apart and cause serious damage to your property.

If you spill some water on drywall, don’t despair, dry it up immediately with kitchen towel, ensure the drywall is well ventilated for several days, and you should be fine.

If there is a leak or flooding, you must act quickly to remove the source of the water, get everything as dry as you can.

If water has seeped deep into the drywall there is a risk of potentially toxic mould and of the drywall collapsing.

Water Damaged Drywall?

Call 844-488-0570 for a Risk Free estimate from a Licensed Water Damage Restoration Specialist in your area.

We Can Help Dry out your Drywall Walls & Repair any Water Damage

How To Tell If Drywall Is Wet

The following can be good indicators that your drywall is wet and has suffered water damage:

  • Bulging
  • Sagging
  • Swelling
  • Buckling
  • Warping
  • Loose around the screws
  • Feels wet
  • Feels spongey, mushy or soft
  • A reading of 1% or more on a moisture meter
  • Yellow-brown stains
  • Discoloration
  • Mould growth
  • Peeling paper
  • Bubbling paint or wallpaper
  • Musty Odour

Often times you will need to remove the baseboards and prod the drywall with a screwdriver, if it’s soft, it’s wet.

Does Wet Drywall Always Need to Be Replaced?

No! Not at all. If you act quickly and appropriately, drywall can almost always be saved and does not always need to be replaced.

As soon as you suspect your drywall is wet, examine it. Check for the tell-tale signs, stains, bubbling, mould, any loss of rigidity.

Once you know what you’re dealing with you can get to work sorting out the problem.

If the drywall has only recently gotten a bit damp, you can fix this yourself quite easily.

If the drywall has had prolonged exposure to water or even short exposure to a lot of water, you might need to replace your drywall or at least parts of it.

Often times you’re better off getting in water damage specialists who can advise on what can be done and if your drywall needs to be replaced.

How To Tell If Your Drywall Is Ruined or If It Can Be Saved

Certainly, if drywall is sagging, soft, mushy, or significantly mouldy, the best course of action will be a replacement.

Often times Determining if drywall can be saved is not easy to do yourself.

The reason it is so difficult to tell for yourself is because the real damage happens deep within the material.

Potentially toxic mould spores can burrow right down inside and without a moisture meter you can’t know for sure what the situation is.

Saving Wet Drywall

Most of the time wet drywall can be saved if you act fast and appropriately. If the structural integrity of the drywall remains, it can usually be saved.

Speed is the key to saving wet drywall. There are 3 key factors;

  • How wet is it
  • How quickly you remove the water
  • How quickly you start the drying process

If you have experienced a significant leak or flood, speed is so key, you should strongly considered contacting a water damage specialist as they can be round to your property within hours and get straight to work on saving your drywall.

Most of the time wet drywall can be saved if you act fast and appropriately. If the structural integrity of the drywall remains, it can usually be saved.

How to Dry out  Water Damaged Drywall

Removing any excess moisture is the first step. By taking other objects out of the room it provides space for air flow. And turning the heat up and opening the windows causes evaporation.

If the damage is purely superficial you can take steps yourself to remedy the situation;

  • Stop the source of the water
  • Dry down all of the drywall
  • Dry down the entire room
  • Remove furniture and other objects from the room
  • Turn up the heat
  • Depending on outside weather & how damp it is ,Open the windows for better airflow.
  • For very small areas you can even use a hair dryer/ heat gun to speed up the drying process considerably.

Once dry ,check if you need to resecure the drywall and consider applying some mold resistant paint.

If the damage is more serious you’ll need to take some more drastic steps;

  • Remove furniture and other objects from the room
  • Remove baseboards, mouldings, wallpaper and carpets
  • Cut out any severely affected areas leaving a 2 inch buffer
  • Remove any insulation that has also got wet
  • Introduce a high-powered dehumidifier and fans
  • Make the room hot, very hot
  • Consider Sealing up the room up with plastic so the moisture doesn’t gets in the rest of the house and dehumidifier can collect all the moisture.

Removing baseboards, mouldings, wallpaper and carpets ensures even more air flow.

A dehumidifier will dehumidify and draw out the moisture from the room and the wet drywall.

Sealing the room up makes it so hot that even deep in the drywall the water starts to be driven out. This will also allow the moisture to be better contained.

This is quite an undertaking for most people and you probably would want to consider contacting a water damage restoration specialist.

If the water damage appears to be more than just on the surface problem, the risk of toxic mould or structural problems could put you and your family in danger.

Often times it can be useful to contact a water damage restoration specialist for advice on what can be done. If it needs to be replaced they can replace the water damaged drywall and repair any other water damage caused.

They also have industrial-grade dryers and dehumidifiers to dry it out and often save it.

Can You Let Drywall Dry Out on Its Own?

Wondering if Drywall can dry out on its own after being wet? Usually, this is not the case.

Even small leaks or spills can benefit from intervention.

Once the water has seeped into the drywall and caused it to swell up and deform, that’s it, it’s not going to fix itself.

If it’s only the exterior that is slightly damp, there is no visible deformation & and the drywall is in a well-ventilated space the drywall indeed usually will just dry out on it’s own.

How Long Does It Take for Mold to Grow on Wet Drywall?

Mold can start to grow on a damp dyrwall after just 12 hours, within days the mould can become established within the drywall.

Dry mould spores float about in the air. This doesn’t normally pose a problem as they need specific conditions to germinate and grow.

But guess what? Wet drywall is exactly those conditions. The water and mould can get right into the middle of the material, and very quickly you can have a situation that is out of control.

Mould can potentially cause severe health risks such as headaches, fatigue, and respiratory disease.

Once it takes hold within the drywall it can be impossible to get out. The best way to prevent this is by stopping the water seeping deep inside, this means acting very fast to dry the affected drywall.

If the drywall is only superficially wet, you may be able to do this yourself. If there has been a burst pipe or a flood, contact a water damage restoration specialist for advice.

What Should I Do About Mold on My Drywall

If you notice small amounts of mould, you can potentially make the situation safe yourself.

Counterintuitively this will involve spraying the mould with water!

Mix one part bleach to three parts water in a spray bottle and thoroughly saturate the mouldy areas of the wall. The bleach should kill off the mould.

You will need to keep the area very well ventilated, to ensure the drywall dries again.

If the mould is more extensive you will need protective equipment as the process can cause spores to fill the air.

In a lot of cases, you would be better off removing the affected section, it is best to remove a buffer area of at least 12 inches around the affected area.

How Long Does It Take Drywall to Dry After a Small Leak?

It completely depends. If you experience a leak but quickly dry the affected drywall and the room it’s in, with ventilation and heating it will usually dry after in about 3 days.

But it can take several weeks, wet drywall ceilings will usually take at least a week.

If your drywall is covered in flat or semi-gloss paint then the moisture probably isn’t ‘sealed’ inside the drywall, this is good news and should lead to a quicker drying process.

If however your drywall is covered in vinyl wallpaper or high-gloss enamel, it will likely take longer to dry.

We have Water Damage Restoration Technicians that can help Dry out your Wet Drywall and Repair any Water Damage.

For Disasters of all Sizes,available in 95% of the USA

Scroll to Top