Dealing With Damp Drywall
This time on In The House a listener calls in and is having some trouble with moisture ruining his drywall in several places around his cement block home.
Chuck: I am having a problem with water getting through the seal around my windows, especially at the bottom corners, where it is causing the drywall to get wet and get ripples in it. I have also noticed the same thing happening to an even greater extant in my kids’ bathroom where the tub meets the wall. The water has eaten right through the drywall in the space between the shower and toilet in the corner. I believe this is happening because my kids don’t always close the shower curtain all the way when they use it and the spray is getting out on to that spot. How would you recommend I fix this problem?
Jared: On block homes the water usually seeps in where the window meets the inside of the block, especially if it is not inset, unless the window itself is defective in some way. To fix this, you would need to thoroughly re-caulk the area where window meets block behind the drywall. Since it is not a flange window you can just caulk in the space around it. As regular maintenance I recommend you check that area every three to seven years to make sure it’s not letting any moisture through and re-caulk, if necessary, with a high quality caulking―not the cheap one or two dollar tube.
The number one concern, when dealing with any kind of moisture problem, is to stop it at the source. Secondly, you will want to remove and replace any moistened materials so that mold won’t grow on it. Such is a very common case with drywall and gypsum that are continuously exposed to water where the mold will actually feed on the material. This is why stopping the source of the moisture is so important. Otherwise, you will be repeatedly removing and replacing the same materials that are in that wet area.
Chuck, if you were to take photographs of those problem areas and send them to me I would be able to tell you whether or not the drywall needs to have those damaged areas cut out and patched or if the sections need replacing entirely. You may also want to get a mold test kit from one of the ‘big box’ stores to test for airborne mold spores. All the test requires is that you set it in the room to be tested for a period of time stated in the instructions before mailing it to a lab for testing. They will send you something back with the results. I would advise you to do both of these things soon just to be safe and rule out any health hazards.
Chuck: Ok, thanks a lot for your help.
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