Here at Property Rescue Services, we understand that not every property owner will be fully prepared for every problem with their interior or exterior spaces. This includes knowing what to do if there is water damage in a wall, and preventing water damage in walls if necessary. This is why we have created this guide on what to do if you find water damage in different types of wall on your property.
If you are based in London, we are also more than capable of sending out a fully trained and qualified team to inspect any damaged walls and carry out specialist repairs and restoration. Call us today if this is something you’d like for your property at a cost which is certain to suit your budget, or read on to find out more if you’d prefer to carry out the work by yourself.
Signs of Water Damage in a Wall
If you suspect that there is water damage in a wall on your property, there are several signs you can look for to be certain. These include:
- Stains on the walls and ceiling
- Mould or mildew forming in your interior spaces, especially walls, skirting and caulk
- Musty odours throughout the house (this indicates that mould is growing)
- Peeling or bubbling paint or wallpaper
- High readings on your water meter, or a high price on your water bill
- Sounds such as banging or dripping coming from pipes in your wall
- Warped or broken drywall (it must be noted that this can indicate the drywall water damage is severe)
When you notice any of these signs around your property, from bubbling in the paint on your bathroom wall to stains on your living room walls and ceiling, it will be time to start searching for a cause. Once you have found the cause, you will have the opportunity to fix it, carry out any mould removal and restore your property to normal.
If you cannot find the source by yourself, you can also call on the help of a professional service to detect leaks and carry out other maintenance work for you.
Causes of Water Damage in a Wall
There are several common causes of water damage in walls, which you may wish to note. This will help you to keep up a regular routine of maintenance that keeps your house or any other property free from moisture, leaks and other sources of water damage.
Some of the most common causes of water damage in a house include:
- Burst or leaking pipes
- Other plumbing and drainage issues
- Malfunctioning appliances
- A buildup of moisture, in areas such as attics, crawlspaces and along cellar and basement walls
- Issues with radiators and other central heating systems
- Issues with air conditioning units
- Cases of bad weather and storms
Repairing Water Damage in a Wall
The method you should use to repair your wall will depend on the type of wall that has been affected by water damage. Below, we have presented a list of common walls to be affected by water damage and given some advice on how this can be repaired or prevented in the future.
It must be noted that, in each case of repair work, you should leave the affected area to dry before you attempt any restoration. You may also wish to contact your home insurance provider and make a claim before any repair works are carried out.
How to Repair Plaster Walls from Water Damage
After you have located the source of the water damage problem in your plaster walls, remove the damaged material. This includes all bubbling and peeling paint, degraded lath and crumbling coats of plaster. Apply firm pressure with a blade to dig out all soft, loose material. Go around the edges of the damaged area until you hit hard plaster that hasn’t been damaged. Test the paint coat around the area to see if it peels easily and work from the centre of the damage to remove loose paint.
Go over the surface with a stiff nylon brush to remove loose particles and wash the surrounding surfaces with a sponge and a bucket of clean water to remove residual lime deposits. Let the wall dry completely before applying an oil-based or quick-dry primer sealer.
Shallow surface damage can be fixed with several thin coats of joint compound. This fills in the plaster and levels out the wall. How much should be used will depend on the size of the affected area, with the excess skimmed off to keep the surface level. After the joint compound has set, use a joint knife to shave off any ridges or other roughness in the surface. Sand the surface, if necessary, before wiping the area with a rag and coating it again with the compound.
After you have finished coating it with a joint compound for the second time, you should allow it to dry before sanding the patch. Wipe off the dust with a sanding rag and prime the area with the same primer-sealer used before. Let this dry completely before repainting the wall.
How to Repair a Bathroom Wall with Water Damage
If your bathroom wall is tiled, you will need to remove these to begin repairing water damage. If the tiles have been affected by water damage themselves, they should come away in your hand. If not, using a putty knife or a chisel will remove them. If this is done carefully, you may be able to put them back on the wall after repairing the wall behind. After this, you should follow a series of steps:
- Remove the base or shoe trim (you may also be able to put this back if it’s done carefully)
- Work outside of the area of damage by locating the next closest wall stud and drawing a vertical line at its centre. This should extend above the uppermost edge of the water damaged drywall
- Repeat the process with the left and right hand side of the drywall. Connect the lines
- Cut along the square you’ve made using a utility knife. Then, gently lever the damaged drywall away. Remove any screws or nails that have remained attached to the exposed studs
- Replace the removed drywall with new drywall of the same thickness
- Use drywall mud to fill screw holes and squeeze into the seam between the new and existing drywall. Apply drywall tape over the mud, followed by a thin layer of drywall mud over the tape
- When this is dry, sand it down until it is smooth to touch
- Repeat this process over the raised bump at the seam until both are unnoticeable. This should take two to three more times
- If the wall is not tiled, paint it the same colour as the drywall
- If the wall is tiled, replace the tiles and the grout. After this, cut and install a new base trim, before applying silicone to the inside edge where the drywall and tub meet to create a watertight seal
How to Repair Water Damage in a Concrete Block Wall
Reinforcing rods in concrete walls are often unintended sources of leaks. They are left in place to keep the concrete steady as it cures, but when they are removed holes are left behind. Cracks and voids may also appear as the concrete settles. These can be patched with hydraulic cement, even while water is still leaking from it. This allows you to treat the problem while it happens, ensuring you reach the source. You may consider enlarging the opening slightly by removing any loose concrete to do this.
If you wish to waterproof the entire wall, you may also consider sealing it with a waterproof masonry product. You may be concerned about the ease of this due to its thickness (it is thicker than latex paint), but the product can be painted on with an ordinary paint brush. It will then form a watertight membrane.
Repairing and Preventing Water Damage in a Garage Wall
The most common source of water damage in a garage wall is moisture and water leaking through from the exterior. This then makes its way inside your property. It can often be easier to find the source of a leak or water damage inside garage walls, owing to the fact that many interiors are left exposed and unfinished. This means that any damage which has come from outside can then be fixed as soon as possible.
If the water leak has come from cracks or holes, these may be patched up with hydraulic cement, before you coat the walls with waterproof masonry products. You may also wish to check the roof of your garage, in case the problem originated there. Seams between walls and doors can also be sealed with caulk or waterproof foam sealants.
How to Repair Water Damage in a Brick Wall
Years of withstanding the elements can often cause brick walls, especially exterior brick walls, to start crumbling and eroding. This is because moisture in the air, from rain, or even from a leak in your gutter will seep into the brickwork and enter and evaporate, causing the bricks to expand and contract. Typically, an eroded section of brickwork will be chiseled out and replaced in a technique known as repointing.
Repointing may be completed in two ways. The first is tuck repointing, which is a temporary fix completed by patching over old mortar without removing the crumbling sections. Full repointing involves removing the old mortar and damaged mortar joints. The damaged section should then be sprayed with water and left for 24 hours, so that the new mortar will adhere to it. Spray the area again before applying it with a repointing trowel.
How to Prevent Water Damage in an Exterior Wall
If your exterior wall uses render, it is important to fill in any cracks as soon as they appear to prevent moisture from entering. Over time, the buildup of water inside the crack and the change in temperature may cause expansion, damaging the structure. If the cracks are small, there are a number of sealants available for this purpose. Larger cracks can also be sealed at the openings with silicone caulk if you do not have time to make repairs.
Large cracks and gaps should ideally be rendered using the same mix originally used on your exterior walls. However, if this isn’t possible, you should use a rendering patching compound. If you are fixing the wall in patches, it may be easier to cover the whole surface with cement-based paint or an acrylic exterior paint, as it can be difficult to match the colour of rendering.
Rendering patches should be cured for at least 30 days before paint is applied.
How to Repair Water Damaged Wall Studs
The entire wall of a house can be affected and undermined by weak or rotten wall studs. As such, it’s important to always take care of the source of the moisture before attempting to fix or replace water damaged or rotted studs. You should start by uncovering the whole area that has rotted. Cut out as large a section of drywall as you can, giving the wood as much time as it needs to dry out. The repair work can begin after this.
Dig out the rotten wood with a putty knife or screwdriver, before applying filler. You should be certain to poke the knife or screwdriver into the “good” wood, in order to uncover any hidden rot. Once you are certain it has all been removed, fill the hole with two-part epoxy using a trowel and smooth it over with the putty knife. Extra protection from moisture can be provided by using a primer. After this, you should replace the drywall.
Getting in Touch with a Professional Maintenance Firm
We highly recommend that you do not attempt to fix large amounts of water damage in your interior or exterior walls by yourself. This is especially important if you do not have any DIY or restoration experience. It may be possible for you to safely carry out repair work on small areas and patches of your wall, but if the damage is widespread, it will be more beneficial for you to call a specialist maintenance firm.
Having a professional carry out any repair work on your water damaged walls will ensure it is done correctly. This means you can rest assured that your property will be returned to normal in a short amount of time, at a lower cost to your budget than extensive repair work. It also ensures no accidental damage is done, while protecting you from harm if the work ever presents risks.
Call Us for Specialist Repairs for Your Water Damaged Walls
At Property Rescue Services, we are fully prepared to assist clients whenever they are experiencing water damage in a wall on their property. We have a range of solutions for carrying out water damage restoration, depending on what each property we visit requires. As such, you can be certain that whether you’ve seen paint bubbling in different rooms in your house or have lingering musty odours around your property, we will find and fix the water issue causing them.
No matter if the issue is a leak from a pipe, flooding from heavy rain or another problem inside your home, our team will be dedicated to putting it right. If you have a property in our catchment area and you need assistance with water damage restoration, contact us on the phone or send us an email today.
Our team can arrive at your property on a schedule which suits you, to carry out work at a cost which suits your budget. We will also be happy to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to ask if there is something you wish to know about our services.