A Quick Guide to Removing Drywall After a Flood
Dealing with assessing the damage after your home has been subjected to a flood or a natural disaster can be a difficult and upsetting process. Having prior knowledge of such a situation will aid you in the cleanup that’s expected after the waters have cleared.
After the water has receded and you’ve had proper time to document and notify your adjuster of any and all damages, you’ll need to immediately turn your attention to removing all building material, drywall and insulation that has been water damaged. We are fighting against time as mold spores typically take 1 to 2 days to begin reproducing in a comfortable environment.
Removing Water-Damaged Drywall At this point in the process, your first instinct is to take a large blunt object to the walls and just tear them down in frustration, but we highly advise against that no matter how enticing that may sound. While tedious, the proper removal of water-logged drywall can be quite simple. All water-soaked drywall needs to be removed and replaced even if it only came into contact with a few inches of water. Follow these quick steps to removing the drywall and insulation and beginning the drying process to get your home renovation-ready.
● Remove 2 to 4 feet of drywall to expose the surfaces behind. This will allow for proper airflow, ensuring the materials have the opportunity to dry completely. Water has a tendency to wick upward, damaging much more than the immediately affected area. There may be only inches of damaged drywall, but feet of damaged insulation.
NOTE: If your home flooded several feet, you’ll need to remove more drywall, if not all of it. Most contractors recommend removing at least one foot above the waterline.
● Mark the height of how much drywall will need to be removed at various points along the wall. We recommend using a chalk line to mark the height. This will ensure you cut a straight and consistent line. Remember to measure from the bottom of the floor up.
● Cut along the chalk line using a utility knife. Be sure to cut through approximately ½ or ¾ of the thickness of the drywall. (If you don’t have a utility knife stashed away in your junk drawer or in a toolbox, you can pick one up online or at your local hardware store starting at only a few dollars.)
● Carefully loosen and remove the damaged drywall. Using a drywall hammer, carefully knock out a hole a few inches below the line you marked and cut along. Using the hammer as a lever, carefully angle and pull the affected drywall off and away from studs attached to it.
Removing Wet Insulation After you’ve removed all the damaged drywall and exposed the insulation underneath, inspect and remove all the affected insulation. Be weary when inspecting the insulation. The material it is manufactured from makes it difficult to see the true extent of the damage. Insulation is one of the cheapest materials to replace, and it is advised to remove and replace all insulation. It will help in avoiding leftover moisture and, well… we’re already here, right?
Drying Fans should be placed strategically throughout the affected area to increase airflow and to allow any wooden studs or structural elements to the home to dry out. Moisture meters can be used to detect any residual water that may be left over in any building material during the drying process. After furniture and debris have been cleared away, either pull back (or remove depending on the extent of the damage) the flooring to allow the subfloor to breathe. You’re aiming to have everything completely dry, including subflooring and wooden panels in less than 48 hours.
Safety Please exercise caution when performing any type of demolition work. Take mind and wear proper safety equipment such as glasses, gloves, reinforced footwear and headgear. If you feel like you cannot properly manage the required steps necessary to procure a safe work and living environment consult a local contractor in your area before proceeding any further.