Leaks in plumbing and roofing, stormy weather or flooding can lead to water damage, which in turn can lead to mold. When you spot a water-stained wall, you need to address it as quickly as possible. Mold can grow in a matter of days in favorable conditions and that can lead to more expense, and health problems down the line.
The first step to addressing a water-damaged drywall is to identify the severity of the problem. You may be able to fix some of the damage yourself with the right tools; on the other hand, you may need the help of a water damage restoration professional to help you out with fixing severely damaged drywall segments.
Touch the drywall to see if it feels moist but firm. If there are no bubbles & there is just a water stain that feels moist, you might be able to salvage the wall.
If the wall feels spongy and bends when you press, it has soaked the drywall completely and damaged the gypsum core.
Check to see if the wall is still attached to the fasteners, especially if you have water-damage on the ceiling.
If there’s any unpleasant odor emitting from it, you might need to cut it out anyway. The water-damage might have been caused by sewer water.
Once you’ve identified the severity of the water-damage, you can begin to address it.
For mild water damage, with walls that are moist and stained (not soft or bubbly), you need to dry it first. If you have furniture that stands against the damaged area, move it to expose the water-damage to air. Use fans or dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the drywall. Depending on the severity of the damage and the size of the affected area, this could take days or weeks.
You can only work on repairing the damage after the wall is completely dry. Be sure to immediately clear any mold that develops on the surface. Once it is workable, sand it down to remove debris. When the surface is clear of dust and mold, apply caulk or spackle over the area and let it dry. After that, you need to apply shellac and follow up with primer before you paint. That should restore your drywall.
If there’s severe water-damage on your dry-wall, it needs to be removed and replaced. For this, you might need the assistance of a professional. If you intend to handle it yourself, you should find the section of the wall that feels spongy. Mark the area that has water damage and carefully cut and remove it. Ensure that the area under the damaged wall is dry before replacing it.