How to Start the Drying Process: Restoration of Water Damaged Walls
A few inches of water infiltration along the floor can seep into the walls, leading to extensive water damage. Drying damp walls immediately is critical in order to avoid structural damage and mold growth. Property owners have the option to dry out the walls themselves or call for professional water damage restoration.
What Happens When Walls are Damaged by Water
Water saturation along the walls starts with floodwaters on ground level. The water that covers the floor will eventually wick upward into the walls. The porous nature of drywall allows the moisture to soak into the walls up to 30 inches high.
The extent of water damage to the walls depends on how the wall is constructed, how much water has seeped into the property and how high the water level has risen inside. Walls feature absorbent materials, which readily allow the water to seep into them.
When faced with water damaged walls, be aware that the moisture has likely affected the exterior and interior sides of the wall. The inside wall will sustain much more water damage than the outside, due to restricted evaporation. Plus, water damaged walls may show little, if any, signs of ruin.
Water damage restoration professionals have the equipment and training to thoroughly dry extensively damaged walls. Specialists will also be able to pinpoint hidden areas of water damage that property owners are likely to miss. However, a DIY route is possible with the following tips:
1. Shut off water source
If the floodwater is due to a ruptured pipe, turn off the water source. Shutting off the source of water prevents additional water from seeping into the area and causing further damage to the walls. Consult a licensed plumber to repair the burst pipe prior to drying the walls.
2. Remove wall décor
Remove paintings, wall hangings, and any décor. Wall fabric and shelving should also be removed to promote air to flow to the wall and aid in the drying process. Wall coverings that are drenched in water require prompt removal to prevent mildew and mold from colonizing.
3. Peel away wallpaper
When wallpaper lines a water damaged wall, the wallpaper preserves moisture against the wall. Removing the wallpaper requires extensive patience but is necessary to dry a water damaged wall. Use solutions from a hardware store to dissolve the wallpaper’s adhesive.
4. Dislodge molding
The baseboards and molding must be removed to permit adequate ventilation behind them. Run a utility knife along the baseboard’s edge to break the caulk seal. Pry off the baseboard with a painter’s bar. Prevent damage to the baseboards and molding by storing them in a dry, safe place.
Drill a small hole through the wall near the base of the wall. The small hole allows air to flow into the wall cavity, which accelerates the rate of evaporation and speeds up the drying process. The holes will be covered by the baseboards once they are reset.
5. Remove insulation
When walls have undergone extensive water damage, the wet insulation and wallboard must be removed. If the insulation is soaked, discard it. Proceed carefully when evaluating the need to remove the wet wallboard, as it is the most costly and destructive route to fix.
6. Ventilate the area
Start the dehumidification process, circulate fresh air throughout the property, opening doors and windows if weather conditions allow. If it is safe to use electricity near the water, run several fans. Window fans introduce fresh air from outdoors. Blower fans move air along the ground floor. Pedestal fans help circulate air at higher levels.
Run a dehumidifier to whisk away moisture from the room. Indirectly, the dehumidifier reduces moisture along the walls, too. Heavy-duty dehumidifiers are available for rent. Allow the dehumidifier to run at maximum capacity by emptying the unit’s water drawer at frequent intervals.
A desiccant dehumidifier may also be used. The unit releases dry, warm air into the humid vicinity, thereby reducing moisture. The desiccant dehumidifier absorbs humidity in the air using silica gel. Especially in subfreezing weather, a desiccant dehumidifier is effective.
7. Use a moisture meter
Prior to the refinishing process, determine the level of moisture in the area with a moisture meter. Remember that thoroughly drying the walls is a time-consuming process. Once the moisture meter detects no excess moisture, it is safe to reinstall all the items removed from the area.
Issues with Water Damage
Drying water damaged walls quickly is key. Waiting to perform repairs only promotes the spread of water damage, mold, and mildew growth. Wet drywall can be restored rather than replaced, which reduces repair costs and the time needed to return to daily life without disruption.
Swift drying methods prevent mold from colonizing the damp walls altogether or, without a nourishing moisture source, allow spores to die off rapidly. Plus, prompt drying processes keep mold spores from destroying the structural integrity of the walls and necessitating a full replacement.
Proceeding with efforts to quickly dry the water damaged walls prevents irreversible damage, such as the swelling of porous goods, shrinkage in certain fabric materials and rust on metal accents, such as doorknobs and hinges, that come into contact with the walls.
Water Damage Restoration
Walls that have undergone extensive water damage should be dried professionally by experienced water damage restoration teams, like ServiceMaster EMT. With advanced equipment, including moisture meters, powerful dehumidifiers and heavy-duty fans, we are able to rapidly dry water damaged walls.
When our qualified technicians detect moisture behind walls, we respond fast to prevent the spread of water damage. Our proven inner wall drying systems force air into the wall cavity and result in a rapid drying process. We also effectively dry walls with various paints or vinyl wall coverings.
Specialists use reliable equipment that runs continuously to accelerate the drying process. Once the water damaged walls are thoroughly dry, ServiceMaster EMT technicians continue to monitor the premises. When drying levels are optimum, we safely remove the equipment from the area.
Count on ServiceMaster EMT to restore your water damaged walls quickly. We offer dependable emergency water damage restoration services to businesses and residential homeowners in the Southern California and Nevada.
Give us a call at (800) 376-6678 for emergency water damage restoration.