Drywall is a common feature of most homes and apartments in Chicago.
Also called sheetrock, drywall is a gypsum panel with tough paper on the inside and outside. They’re much easier and faster to work with than older building products, like lath and plaster.
Any drywall ever caught in the path of a leak is likely to suffer water damage.
Even an unchecked slow leak is likely to cause damage to the wallboard, and it may eventually grow mold or mildew, potentially compromising your health.
Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we repair drywall water damage in Chicago homes and businesses each day as part of our water damage restoration services, so we put together this guide to help you navigate this situation.
Let’s get started.
5 Common Causes of Wet Drywall in Chicago, IL Homes
If you have drywall damage, there are several common culprits:
1. Foundation or drainage issues
If your foundation and drain engineering aren’t prepared to handle rainfall, it can accumulate under your home, seeping into the drywall.
Even if there aren’t cracks or other signs of damage to your foundation, flooding can cause significant issues. After the water recedes, the remaining moisture is of concern if not properly drained.
2. Other external sources
Water could get into a house in many ways. So, if you’re hunting for the source of drywall damage, look at places where a leaking outdoor faucet, a sagging gutter, or a missing roof tile may be allowing water to get inside.
3. Broken pipes
A common reason for wet drywall repair is a broken pipe. Sometimes with more minor leaks, the signs and symptoms of water damage are slow to appear or hard to detect. Then, all of a sudden, you notice a spot of discoloration.
Other times, leaks are much more significant, and you’ll see wet drywall or even bulging paint.
If there is a broken pipe overhead, the ceiling holding them up will suffer damage and may produce visible water bubbles on the wall, as the water becomes trapped between the paint and the surface of the gypsum board.
High ambient humidity can cause drywall issues. The signs aren’t as apparent as those that indicate a leak.
If you have a room in your home that is prone to high humidity and has drywall walls, consider installing a dehumidifier.
Before You Get Started with Wet Drywall Repairs, do This:
- Stop the leak. The most important thing to do before starting any drywall repair is to mitigate the source of the water or moisture. Whatever the source, you must locate and resolve it, or the problem will reappear.
- Call ServiceMaster of Lake Shore. If you’re dealing with an overhead flooding issue, give our team a call, as the water damage may have compromised the structure. That can be dangerous. Additionally, only qualified remediation professionals like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore should handle the drywall demolition if the water source was a backup from a sewage line. Wastewater-damaged drywall poses serious health threats, so it needs professional Chicago water damage repair. Call us right now: (312) 707-8597
The bottom line is that you must extract all the standing water or accumulated moisture before commencing your repair.
How to Handle Drywall Water Damage Repair in Chicago
The amount of drywall damage you have depends heavily on what caused it. You can sometimes fix it DIY-style reasonably quickly.
If your drywall damage isn’t that bad, perhaps limited to just one small section of a wall, it’s something you can fix with some hard work and a trip to the hardware store.
- Take all safety precautions. When working with drywall, that means wearing sturdy work gloves and a respirator mask to prevent inhaling any dust particles. Also, consider shutting off circuit breakers for the wires near where you’ll be working. Safety is always first.
- Cut the damaged drywall away from the wall with a sharp utility knife. Remember, it comes in standard-sized panels so that you can make your cuts accordingly. Lean into the cut, dragging the blade through the surface paper at a right angle to create a square or rectangle.
- If needed and with the wall open, locate and repair the source of your leak and fix it. Even if your home didn’t have a leak, look for signs of deterioration, mold, or foul odors inside the wall. Remove anything else that’s wet and ruined, like fiberglass insulation.
- Dry the remaining drywall completely. If you find more damp spots, keep cutting. Don’t start any repairs until you’ve removed all the water-damaged drywall, adequately ventilated and dehumidified the area, and removed all traces of the surplus moisture.
- It’s not a bad idea to spray a sanitizer and deodorizing product on the wall’s interior. Doing so can prevent mildew and nuisance odors. Observe any repairs you’ve made closely and ensure everything is as it should be with no drips or slow leaks.
- Begin your drywall repairs by squaring off all of your cuts, which will make it easier to size a matching piece from your replacement panel. Ragged or curved edges are harder to fill. You might be able to make things easier by cutting out a whole board or a large section of one.
- Measure the size of the replacement panel you’ll need to fill the gap you’ve made in the drywall. Now transfer that measurement to a new drywall panel with a pencil. Consider making your marks slightly smaller than your measurements, so your replacement panel will fit easily within the repair perimeter.
- Use the utility knife to cut through the paper on each side of the gypsum board panel. A straight edge, like a metal ruler, is beneficial for guiding your cuts. Snap the panel off the sheet of wallboard by bending it in one direction slightly and giving the rest of the board a whack with your hand.
- Size your replacement panel to the hole in the wall and trim any excess. You can secure the replacement drywall with sheetrock clips found in most grocery stores.
- Use drywall tape and joint compound to fill in the remaining gaps. After it dries, sand it smooth and repeat the process a couple of times for a finished look.
- Repaint the section of repaired drywall using a feathering technique to help hide the repair.
If you have significant damage, say from sewage water or a major burst pipe overhead, you should contact our team here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore.
When your home has wet drywall, you need a trusted, licensed water damage restoration contractor in Chicago.
Cutting corners or hiring shoddy contractors can leave you with poor quality repairs that can come back and bite you when you discover a continuing water issue, mold, mildew, or other signs of a shoddy repair job. Then you end up paying for the same repair twice!
If the damage is significant, your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover some or all of the costs. You should always contact your broker to understand the insurance company’s requirements.
Our team at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore has the experience to work with you and your insurance adjuster to ensure that they understand the scale of the damage and how much it’s going to cost to fix it correctly.
Handling complicated claims is easier when you have us on your side.
Why Do I Need to Call a Professional Water Restoration Company?
There are plenty of reasons to consider a pro for your wet drywall repairs:
- Category 3 water damage mitigation and repair
- 24/7 emergency water damage cleanup
- Water-damaged wall, ceiling, gypsum floorboard repair
- Expert mold remediation and removal by certified pros
- Water extraction and whole-home drying
And when you need someone to help with the insurance claim, you’ll have us in your corner.
Does Wet Drywall Always Need to be Replaced?
Wet drywall doesn’t always need complete replacement. But if it has become saturated, it is exceedingly difficult to dry it sufficiently.
So, if your damage is on the minor side and not that noticeable, you may be able to get away with running a dehumidifier for a few days. Then, it’s up to you if you can live with the eyesore of the damage.
Even if you can live with the discolored appearance of water damage, your damp drywall may pose a serious health risk due to the formation of bacteria and mold. They can cause illnesses and lung disease, and some conditions can even be fatal. So, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
If you have any doubts about whether your drywall needs repair, it’s a good idea to call us: (312) 707-8597. When you have water damage to your sheetrock, you can’t afford to play contractor on the weekend or rely on a friend who does odd jobs.
Need Drywall Water Damage Repair in Chicago, IL? We’re Here to Help!
A handy homeowner with some DIY skills can tackle a bit of wet drywall repair.
But when you think you might be getting in over your head, we’re here to help, 24/7. And unlike other drywall contractors, we do the whole job, from cleanup to restoration.
Call us right now for 24/7 emergency drywall repair help in Chicago: (312) 707-8597