Drying wet walls after a Flood
There are many ways to dry a wet wall. Most methods aim at saving a wall that has sustained water damage from a limited water intrusion such as a pipe break in a home. For examples please watch my videos on wall drying. But for someone who has had a catastrophic event, such as Sandy, or river flooding then drying out the wall changes drastically. If the wall has been wet for more than 3 days then everything that is wet needs to be removed. Do not fool yourself into thinking that the wall can be dried out- it can not. It should not, it is already getting moldy.
A quick way to test a wet wall is to use a utility knife. First try to push the knife point into an area of wall that is dry, do this several times. This will teach you how far the knife blade penetrates into a dry wall, this is usually about 1/8-1/4 inch deep on a dry section of wall. Now try to penetrate the wall just above the baseboard, if the wall is wet the knife blade will penetrate deeply into the wall. If it does the wall is wet. Now move the blade 2 inches up the wall and try again. As long as the blade is penetrating deeper than the original 1/8-1/4 inch deep then the wall is wet. Keep working higher up the wall until you reach the dry, drywall. Draw a line with a straight edge or a chalk line and remove all the wet Sheetrock, insulation and trim from that height down. Carefully clean up all debris, HEPA vacuum the dirt and dust from your demolition efforts. Treat all affected areas that were wet with an antimicrobial. Dry all affected areas and structure with heat, dehumidifiers and air movers.
Act Fast to prevent mold damage
Do not wait, figure out what is wet and remove all wet materials as fast as possible. You can save the structural wood such as studs, 2 by 4′s, sub floor etc. But everything else goes, FAST. It’s OK if it gets moldy and it will, just let it get moldy in the trash, not in your house.
How to cut wet walls that have been water damaged
Do not wait as this customer did. Take pictures of all your damage as fast as possible. Take many pictures from all angles. Make sure you include pictures of furniture and contents that were in the rooms. Write a diary of all the work that you performed and any costs incurred. Put all this in a folder for documentation for the insurance company in case your water damage is covered. Keep samples of all the different materials removed.
Do not wait, or you will get mold damage. If you cannot do the work, hire a professional.
Clay King from AAA Flood Drying has been drying out flooded homes and commercial buildings for over 22 years.
For service in Massachussets and New Hampshire please call: 978-392-1895