Can Drywall Get Rained On? (Read This First!)

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that Drywall is not actually waterproof. In fact, if Drywall gets wet, it can lead to a host of problems, from mold and mildew growth to warping and deterioration. Fortunately, you can do a few things to minimize the risk of damage if your Drywall gets wet.

No, your Drywall should never get rained on or get in contact with any kind of humidity. Rain will, without a doubt, ruin your Drywall, and if it stays wet for too long, it’ll lose its integrity and make it irreparable or unusable. You should always leave your Drywall vacuum sealed with water-resistant material like polyester and spandex.

Drywall getting rained on is much more common than most might think, especially when new construction occurs. Half of the building is still open, and you have no other place to put but outside. But luckily, it doesn’t have to get rained on, and if it does, you may still be able to save it. 

Is It Ok to Leave Drywall Outside in the Rain?

No, leaving or storing your Drywall outside in the rain will, without a doubt, ruin it if it’s not covered/protected properly. Drywalls may be sturdy, but exposure to water or humidity in general for a long time will make them vulnerable. Especially in places such as basements, garages, and bathrooms.

What Happens When Drywall Gets Wet?

I have an in-depth article specifically answering this question, but here is the short version of it. Despite having sturdy sheets and gypsum, when Drywall gets wet for too long, a whole lot can happen. One of the first signs is that it will become discolored. Ugly smears and colors begin to appear around the wet spots, and these marks are very hard to remove. If it stays wet after that, the marks will spread to other dry areas; over time, the Drywall will begin to expand and peel. 

In worse cases, mold will grow and begin to spread due to excess moisture. At this stage, the Drywall would have lost its structural integrity, making it irreparable or unusable, and will have to be replaced.

If your Drywall came with Drywall screws, they’d most likely rust, depending on the type of screws you bought. More on this topic here

How to Tell If Drywall Is Wet?

If your Drywall is wet, there are more than a few ways to know. Here are possible signs to identify wetness.

Musty Smell

A musty smell will permeate the room long before you notice any wetness. The smell will be distinct, like rotten wood or paper. If you perceive such an odor but can’t see any wet areas, take the time to check the back of the Drywall. It may be that there is a leaking pipe running through the wall that is causing the problem. Early detection is key to stopping moisture from ruining your Drywall.

Touching The Floor

If you have a garage, the floor is constantly wet, and your Drywall is touching the floor, it may soak up to your walls. This is one of the main reasons you never let your Drywall touch your floor and leave a space in between. If you want to know more on this topic, here is an in-depth article that might interest you.

Mold And Mildew

If you see mold and mildew on the surface of the Drywall, this clearly indicates that it’s wet. Showing mold and mildew proves that the affected areas have been wet for several days now. Mold and mildew take time to appear; once they do, they can spread fast. The presence of these organisms is also an indication that the leaks may be persistent and not a one-off. Note that mold can appear on walls, floors, and ceilings.


If you feel that a part of your Drywall is cold despite the room having a controlled temperature, it is time to take a look. Before wetness appears on the surface of drywalls, the moisture must have penetrated from its source at the back. That a part of your Drywall is cold is not always a clear sign that it’s wet; it just might be the room temperature, but conduct quick checks to be sure.

Water Droplets

Water droplets hanging on any area of your drywalls clearly show wetness. It may be that the moisture at the back has condensed hence the appearance of water droplets on the Drywall’s surface. Unless you or someone in the room splashed water on the Drywall, the moisture is likely coming from the back.

Discoloration or Dark Patches

This is a common sign of moisture damage. Your Drywall may not peel or release a musty smell. It may not even have droplets on the surface, but discoloration or dark patches signify water presence. Depending on the quality of the Drywall, some produce dark patches and ugly smears when they are drying up. The discoloration is also normal if the water is stained.

Peeling surface

Is the surface of your drywall peeling? This is a clear sign that the fabric is deteriorating because of prolonged exposure to water. Excess water from a leaking roof or pipe will cause the worst hit areas to peel.


Condensation is common on windows but also on thin drywalls. Thicker 5/8 drywalls hardly suffer condensation because of their thick sheets, but ¼ or ½ sheets may suffer condensation due to moisture. This trend is normal during the winter or rainy seasons.

Softened Drywall

Carefully feel your Drywall with your bare hands; if you feel the softness, it indicates that it’s wet. Many people disregard this sign and end up paying the price of replacing the Drywall later. Applying pressure to the Drywall and the area you touch depresses or buckles is a clear sign of wetness. Drywall softness is often accompanied by discoloration and a musty odor. This is the last stage of wetness before the Drywall begins to peel.

Wet Back

If the Drywall’s back is wet, but the surface is dry, it means there is a leaking pipe inside the wall or the roof. This one is very hard to spot because most people will not even mind checking the back of their drywalls as they will not see any need to. A wet back is the early stage of wetness; if you resolve it quickly by identifying the source of the leak and addressing it, your Drywall will not be damaged.

How Long Does Drywall Stay Wet?

The length of time drywall will stay wet depends on the thickness of the sheets. Some drywalls may dry out within 24 hours if the sheets are thin, but as much as three days for thicker sheets. However, the volume of moisture matters too. If a leaking source causes the wetness, it will not dry and begin to decompose in time. A myriad of factors determines how long Drywall will stay wet.

Will Drywall Dry Out If It Gets Wet?

Yes, Drywall will dry out if it gets wet as long as it’s not exposed to a leak. The length of time to get dry depends on numerous factors, but it sure dries up. For instance, if a light splash soaks it, it can dry out within 24 hours. It can take up to three or more days to dry out if it’s a heavy soak. Besides the water volume, the internal room temperature may also hasten or slow the drying process. You can accelerate the process by using a dehumidifier or providing proper ventilation.

Do You Have to Replace Drywall After It Gets Wet?

Depending on the degree of damage. You may only have to replace it if the Drywall has deteriorated or has ugly watermarks that can no longer be removed. 

Here are signs that your Drywall needs to be replaced due to wetness.

Sagging: is any part of the drywall sagging. This means that excess water has soaked the sagging areas; over time, the spot will begin to bulge, and there is nothing you can do to remedy the situation. Sagging is common for soaked ceiling drywalls, and there are no amount of repairs you can do to return it to its former shape as it’s ruined.

Mold Growths: If you see mold appearing on the Drywall and it has spread to cover a vast surface area, it’s ripe for a change. Nothing can ruin your interior design as much as smeared Drywall. Mold growth at the early stage can be checked, but once it spreads out of control, you must replace it with a new one.

Stains & Discoloration: Discoloration only affects a small part of the surface and does not offset the interior décor. You may choose to leave it a little while longer. However, drywall stains are easily noticed, so the choice is yours whether to leave it or replace it with a new one.

Heavy Soak: You are “allowed” to ignore light dampening; you may even use a dry cloth to clean the affected part so it can dry out quickly, but if it has undergone a heavy soaking from a burst pipe or a leaking roof, it’s almost impossible to resuscitate the Drywall. Soaked Drywall will hardly ever remain the same. They lose color, bulge, and may even collapse, making a mess of your living area. At such a point, your best course of action is to replace it to protect your building structure.

How to Protect My Drywall from Rain?

It’s advisable to protect your Drywall from rain, especially if you live in a region with seasons of torrential rainfall or strong winds that often damage your roof. Protecting your Drywall ensures it’s not vulnerable to rain, leaks, accidental splashes, or condensation. But how do you protect your Drywall from rain? You simply “waterproof” it.

Many people don’t see the need to waterproof it for many reasons; some trust the integrity of their building structure and roof; others don’t want to take up the extra cost of waterproofing their Drywall, and who will blame them when you consider the cost of procuring Drywalls in the first place.

However, waterproofing your Drywall will protect it from rain and other moisture sources before, during, and after installing it. There are different cost-effective ways to waterproof Drywall, such as

The Use Of Paint: You can use special waterproof paint primer. Primers are durable and serve as protective barriers against rain and moisture. If you coat every part of the Drywall with paint, you will never have to worry about a leaking roof ruining your Drywall. 

Plastic Sheets: Plastic sheets are not as economical as paints, especially if you have many drywall sheets, but they work just as well as paint. You want to make sure that you use transparent sheets that will not obscure the color and beauty of the Drywall.

Sealant: You can seal your Drywall by using a water-proof sealant. This is usually advised when you wish to use Drywall for an exterior wall. If you decide to paint your Drywall, you should use the sealant afterward.


Can Drywall Get Wet During Construction?

Yes, Drywall can get wet during construction. When a house or building is under construction, many materials are used, some of which are liquid-based. These materials may smear the Drywall before or after the Drywall is installed. 

Does Wet Drywall Always Need to Be Replaced?

No, wet Drywall doesn’t have to be replaced all the time. Whether you replace your Drywall should depend on your preference and the extent of the water damage.

Can Wet Drywall Ceiling Be Saved?

If you still have structural integrity and there’s no softness or mold, it may be possible to save your Drywall. The amount of damage will determine how much professional help is needed for saving. 

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