What Happens When Drywall Is Wet? Complete Guide!

With extreme weather these last few years, overflooded basements are a much more common thing. And if your basement got overflooded, your Drywall got wet in the process. So, what happens if it gets wet? Do you need to replace the whole thing? Or can you still save it? 

Drywall that is wet for more than 48h will become weak, soft, and prone to mold. Eventually, the entire structural integrity of your Drywall would be compromised. If you can remove the water or moisture using dehumidifiers and provide proper ventilation in time, you won’t need to replace them. 

I read enough horror stories of people complaining about having to redo the whole basement floor due to heavy rains. But the worst part is that many of them could have actually prevented having to replace the Drywall, and here is why. 

What Happens When Drywall Is Wet?

When it comes to wall covering, Drywall is one of the most commonly used materials all around the globe. Drywall is popular because it is strong, durable, and available in various sizes, types, and thicknesses. Some drywall types can resist moisture, mold, and even mildew.

However, using regular drywalls to renovate an area exposed to a lot of water can do some severe damage. If the water damage is not controlled properly, it can compromise the structural integrity of your Drywall, making it weak, soft, and prone to mold growth. Even worse, if your Drywall is touching the floor, the moisture might seep through your floor, causing it to bend, crack, move, damp, or even mold.

This is because moisture can result in rot and warping. If Drywall stays wet for a longer period of time, replacement is often necessary. Moreover, if you are using regular Drywall, it will certainly result in mold growth that can cause several other issues.

To avoid these problems, your best bet is to invest in moisture-resistant Drywall. Fortunately, numerous types of drywall sheets are available, including green, blue, purple, and cement board drywall. You should pick these kinds for your bathroom walls or bathroom ceilings and other areas, such as the basement, which are exposed to humidity and water. 

How Long Can Drywall Be Wet?

First of all, you should never let your Drywall get wet – especially if we are talking about regular drywall sheets. Regular Drywall is not resistant to moisture at all. Even if you drywall over Drywall, water will eventually still seep through it. So, if the moisture seeps through these panels, they will get soft or crack. It can also lead to mold growth that can damage walls and ceilings.

On average, you should never let your regular Drywall stay wet for more than 48 hours. When that happens, it must be replaced or removed immediately. Otherwise, the whole installation will get loose and break apart. 

To avoid this, you should get moisture-resistant drywall sheets. They might be expensive, but these panels are worth every single penny. 

Moisture-resistant drywalls are available of different quality. The most common moisture-resistant Drywall is the green board. It can resist moisture and mold while providing excellent durability and strength. However, the green board is not ideal for places exposed to a lot of water, such as showers. For these areas, you should get cement board drywall or paperless Drywall. It is probably the best moisture-resistant Drywall available out there.

Does Drywall Need To Be Replaced If It Got Wet?

If your Drywall gets wet, you can do something about it before tearing down the whole place if you can catch it in time. You can actually get the moisture out, it’s both economical and reasonable, but with this approach, you don’t have to invest much money. But that’s only possible if the Drywall was not exposed to water for more than 48h. If that’s the case, you’ll have to replace it. 

There are some other factors that you should keep in mind before changing the wet Drywall:

How Quickly You Dried It

If you dry your drywall sheets immediately, you don’t need to replace them. This is because the quicker you remove the moisture from Drywall, the fewer the chances of mildew and mold growth. If you begin the remove the standing water and stop the water source, it might save you several bucks.

How Much Moisture Is Involved

You don’t have to replace your Drywall if you have just dropped a glass of water and get the moisture out immediately. However, if you have installed regular Drywall and it has been exposed to water for more than 48 hours, it’ll get weak and start to break. In that scenario, you must change or replace it right away.

How Do You Get The Moisture Out Of Drywall?

Getting the moisture out of Drywall is certainly a better option. While it can save you a lot of money, it can also strengthen your Drywall. However, this is only the case when it’s done properly. Otherwise, you might replace the entire Drywall to eliminate moisture and mold.

Getting the moisture out of Drywall is not actually rocket science. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Stop the water source
  2. Remove all the objects from the wall
  3. Afterward, remove wallpaper, baseboards, and moldings.
  4. Provide proper ventilation
  5. Use dehumidifiers and fans to remove moisture
  6. If your Drywall stays wet for longer, use infrared imaging devices or moisture meters.
  7. Make sure the Drywall is completely dry before refinishing or painting it.


Can Drywall Get Wet During Construction?

While you’re having construction work done, you have to store your drywall sheets. Sometimes, your sheets can get wet during this period. Leaks, pipes, and rain can cause the Drywall to get wet. If you get the moisture out immediately, you can save your Drywall. Otherwise, you will need to replace the sheets to avoid further issues.

Alternatively, if you have already installed your Drywall, you don’t need to tear them out immediately. In that scenario, you need to check for signs of water damage. If the damage is not that severe, you can use dehumidifiers or fans to get the moisture out.  

Can Drywall Get Wet During Delivery?

Of course, your Drywall can get wet during delivery. Rain and several other incidents can lead to this issue. However, the chances of this happening are quite slim. This is because most suppliers deliver Drywall packed in waterproof sheets to protect them against moisture and rain.

Still, it is best to get moisture-resistant Drywall to avoid issues related to moisture and mold. The green board is excellent moisture-resistant Drywall that won’t get damaged during delivery. Moreover, if you want enhanced resistance from moisture, you should get yourself a cement board drywall, which also resists mold, moisture, and mildew.

How Long Does It Take For Mold To Grow On Wet Drywall?

If you have installed regular Drywall, you must pay close attention to water and moisture. This is because this type of drywall sheet is not waterproof. Moreover, they have organic papers to hold the gypsum, providing an excellent space for mold survival and growth.

Mold usually grows on wood products, plants, fabric, Drywall, carpets, wallpaper, and ceiling tiles. On damp Drywall, mold can start to grow within 48 hours. However, several other factors can affect this duration, such as the quality of Drywall, the water source & volume, and much more.

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