What Do I Do If I Discover My Walls Are Damaged By Water?

Posted on: 31 July 2015

If you've noticed that your walls are damp or wet, this can be the result of leaks or plumbing issues, holes in your masonry, foundation issues, or problems with your roof. Water damage in your walls can do more than damage your dry wall; it can seep under floors and damage your insulation. When you find signs of water in your walls, you should try to cut off the source of water as well as prevent the moisture from spreading and causing further damage.

Stop The Water Flow

If you can find out where the water is coming in, you can temporarily put a stop to it while you wait for a contractor to make heavier repairs if necessary. Use caulk or another sealant to block leaks from the roof or outer walls, and shut off the water to your house if you think you have a leaky pipe or drain.

You can also help alleviate the problem by setting up a dehumidifier and fans to dry out the area. This may not save your already-damaged walls, but it can prevent the moisture from spreading and mold from growing.

Cut Out Damaged Wall Sections

If the damage to your wall is severe enough, certain sections will need to be replaced. The sections that need to be replaced will be so damp that they are peeling and sagging, or they cave to the touch. Removing the damaged sections accomplishes two things:

  • Stops moisture from spreading to other parts of the wall
  • Exposes the insulation underneath so you can assess the damage

You can use a utility knife to cut the damaged wall sections away in squares. To be safe, cut a few inches beyond the damp parts to make sure that the wall you leave up is completely dry. Take the damp dry wall outside or dispose of it.

Inspect Your Insulation

In a best-case scenario, the water affecting your walls will have only dripped down the inside or outside of the wall material itself and won't have touched your insulation. If your insulation is dry, you don't have to do anything to it.

If your insulation is a little damp, it can still be salvaged, but it must be dried completely as soon as possible. This is where your fans and dehumidifiers come in. A safe metric for determining dampness is that water should not drip out of your insulation when you press in on it (wear a protective glove when you do so). If water starts to bead up and drip out when you press in on your insulation, or if it is so heavy with water that it is sagging downward, it is likely soaked. In this case it will need to be replaced, as soaked insulation is no longer effective.

Unless you have worked with insulation before, you should probably let a professional handle the moving and replacing of insulation, as it can easily irritate the eyes and skin if you attempt to move it.

Look For Spreading Water

Although your wall may seem to absorb water like a sponge, you should check the surrounding walls, floors, and ceilings for any water damage. If the source of water was high up, like from your roof or a room upstairs, the water traveling downward could have damaged anything in its path if you didn't spot it quickly. You can use a moisture detector to help you search. Alternatively, if you call a professional, like East Texas Roof Works & Sheet Metal LLC. to inspect and replace your wall and insulation, they can help you look for signs of further damage.