Drywall acts like a sponge, absorbing moisture at every opportunity. When drywall gets wet, it swells and buckles, compromising the integrity of your wall. This allows the underlying structures to experience prolonged exposure to moisture and begins the decomposition process, ultimately rotting the entire structure. Drywall is a versatile building material, though. Drywall that has gotten wet can be repaired with a little know how.
In order to repair wet drywall, follow the below steps:
Cut out around the affected drywall with a drywall saw. These handsaws are sold inexpensively at any local hardware store. Make sure that you cut away all affected drywall by maintaining wide margins around the defect.
Determine the cause of the water. This step is somewhat easy if your drywall was affected by an outside force like rain, flooding, or a busted water heater, but may be a bit more elusive if you have a roof or plumbing problem. If you cannot ascertain the cause of the water, make sure you call a professional.
Replace the wet drywall with dry. On a new piece of drywall, mark out a patch of new drywall in the same dimensions as the old and cut out with a razor knife or drywall saw and screw into the open hole. If there is no wall stud behind the open area, cut out the existing drywall until there is an exposed stud on either side of your repair.
Apply drywall mud. Joint compound of drywall mud is applied in layers. Make the first layer the thickest, covering all of the joints thoroughly and allow to dry. Do not worry too much about making the compound completely smooth as there will be many layers of mud and sanding before you reach your finished coat. All the mud to dry and then sand smooth. Run your hand over the joints, feeling for low or high spots and mark with a pencil. Continue sanding high spots and then add a new layer of mud over the entire repair, concentrating on adding compound to the low spots. Repeat this process until your repair is level with the existing wall.
Tip: Take your time with this step, as your mud work is the key to having a smooth wall later.
Paint-Repaint your entire wall so that the color matches. Even if you have the paint tinted to match your existing wall, the colors may not match 100%, giving you a glaring reminder of where the repair occurred. While you don't have to, you may elect to repaint the entire room to ensure color evenness.
This technique works well for small drywall repair jobs, but in situations where there are large areas of drywall to replace, such as a flooding situation, it may be advisable to contact a professional.
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