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fireflier
Coffee. . .Need Coffee
Premium
join:2001-05-25
Limbo

1 edit

Wet drywall, now what???

Ugh. I replaced the toilet water supply line (in an upstairs bathroom) today and after tightening everything down and checking for leaks (dry as a bone), went on my way. About 3 hours later, I heard dripping and ran into the laundry room (directly under the bathroom with the new supply line) to discover that some areas of the ceiling drywall were wet and there was a little water dripping onto the floor. Much to my frustration, apparently my plumbing job didn't hold.

Anyway, I'm wondering what if anything I can or should do now? I obviously cleaned up all the water above, the dripping has stopped and the ceiling drywall is drying. I wouldn't say it got soaked and it wasn't the entire ceiling, just a couple of "low" spots where the water happened to make its way down.

I suspect I *may* wind up having to paint the ceiling with Kilz depending on whether the spots leave stains and one wall section is showing a drywall seam (apparently where it got wet too). What are the long term effects when drywall gets wet like this an dries out? Just to re-iterate, it was a relatively slow leak, not a gusher so things didn't get completely soaked.
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
said by fireflier:

What are the long term effects when drywall gets wet like this an dries out?
Once drywall gets wet beyond a certain point it loses its structural integrity, and will always be soft and weak no matter how dry it gets. If that is the case with yours you might need to cut out the bad section and replace it, if you don't the drywall will sag slowly over time in the weak area. Now there is no way for me to know if yours really got that wet or not, but that's the worst case scenario.
--
Twitter: @KenMerritt


fireflier
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So there's no way to tell until it starts sagging? Ugh.


Jtmo
Premium
join:2001-05-20
Novato, CA
reply to fireflier
Setup some fans, let it dry out. You will know once it dries. It sounds like a slow leak, not a flood so you might be OK.


fireflier
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Yeah, not sure how to determine how wet it got, but it stopped dripping pretty quickly once I toweled up the water above. It's already visibly drying on the ceiling.

Guess I should have checked back on my plumbing job.

Funny thing was, when I was hooking up the new supply line I thought it would be nice to have a portable leak detector (one of those battery powered devices that sounds an alarm when it detects water) but I didn't have one. Think I may order one to keep an eye on things so this doesn't happen next time I do repairs.
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


tschmidt
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join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
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said by fireflier:

Yeah, not sure how to determine how wet it got,
That's easy once it dries out. If it is not sagging or real weak live with it.

If it has become discolored you can't just paint over it because it will bleed through. Paint over the stain with a little yellow shellac before painting.

/tom


Warzau
Premium
join:2000-10-26
Naperville, IL
kudos:1
Or just use Kilz


jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3

2 recommendations

reply to fireflier
Poke a hole in the ceiling to let the water drain out. Patch and paint. You should be ok.


fireflier
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reply to Warzau
Yup. It's already plainly obvious I'm going to have to use Kilz. It's definitely showing stains but it's pretty much dry now.
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


fireflier
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reply to tschmidt
Or Kilz from my local Lowes tomorrow.

It sucks how much a simple plumbing problem can screw up your whole day.
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


fireflier
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reply to jjoshua
Fotunately I think I'm now past the poke-a-hole point. Got the fans running and it looks pretty dry now--fortunately the water spots aren't spreading. Where were you 2 hours ago? I probably could have poked some holes to drain it then.
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


swootton
Computer Nut

join:2001-05-11
Barkhamsted, CT
reply to fireflier
We had a repeat leak from an attic vent that allowed snow in and melting in spring. Retaped the loose joint and painetd over. Never sagged. YMMV!!!


HFB1217
The Wizard
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Camelot
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reply to fireflier
The moister on the backing of the sheet rock can cause a bad case of MOLD and even black mold. I would at least open it up and ventilate it to insure total drying. Then put a patch with another section of drywall do the seams and paint.

The backing paper does not have a finished surface that tolerates wetting very well. If water was dripping through the sheet rock I would replace that sheet.
--
****aka The WIZARD *** A Founding member of Seti BBR Team Starfire***


Icarus
CHAOS RULES
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Off Center
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1 recommendation

reply to fireflier
said by fireflier:

Or Kilz from my local Lowes tomorrow.
Id go with BIN over Kilz for holding back water stains. Its a far superior product for that.
--
Team Helix- Folding@Home and Rosetta@Home

robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to fireflier
said by fireflier:

Yup. it's pretty much dry now.
You posted the question the same day as this. IT IS NOT DRY!!!

Wait a week or two and then prime and paint.


koma3504
Advocate
Premium
join:2004-06-22
North Richland Hills, TX
reply to fireflier
You will know if it needs to be cut out when it starts to mold.

I would dry it out and spray bleach on it to kill the mold (this doen not always work.) You migh have to spray the inside of the wall with bleach. And also the Kilz will defiantly help after ya bleach it.

Maggs
Premium
join:2002-11-29
Woodside, NY
reply to fireflier
I vote with bust it out and replace. It's less hassle.


fireflier
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reply to robbin
Yup, guess the backside is probably still damp. I'll give it some time.


fireflier
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reply to Maggs
Tearing it out and replacing is less hassle than priming and painting???


whizkid3
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Queens, NY
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reply to fireflier
Had a similar leak over a bathroom ceiling that we didn't know about. (The bathroom was in the basement, and we really didn't go down there.) It was perhaps a single drop every few seconds. Finally, it was discovered, when I went into the bathroom one day, and fungus was growing out of the ceiling. The drywall was totally ruined. I pulled down the ceiling, and there was black mold everywhere.

You say 'the dripping has stopped'. On its own? Good luck buddy. You could repair the ceiling and discover later on that the dripping has started again. You need to re-evaluate the 'plumbing job'. I suggest taking it apart, and re-doing it from scratch to ensure that you have actually have fixed it. Then, worry about the ceiling.


fireflier
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Yeah, the dripping has stopped. The leak was my fault. I replaced the supply line to the toilet and turned the water back on. Wasn't leaking at the time but started later. There was a problem with the bottom of the float valve and the supply line nipple didn't seat properly. Fortunately in this case, it's not a hidden leak and I know it's stopped. I've replaced these before and never had issues. This was just a freak problem.

The surface of the drywall is dry but I just poked a few holes in it to see how it's doing and let a little air in. It's obviously still damp but at least no water ran out when I punched the holes.

Now I just need to figure out whether it's serious enough to take the drywall down and replace it or let it dry and repaint. . .
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


sharondippity
Premium
join:2000-12-26
San Jose, CA
reply to fireflier
I just went through this with a roof leak, it gives you a sick feeling in your stomach to see water in your ceiling.

Part of the ceiling was so saturated it fell away splat. I had no doubt I had to have my drywall fixed. I left the hole open for five weeks to get air to the rafters and let everything really dry out before the ceiling was repaired. If it hadn't fallen in I may have debated what you're going through, but you're talking about a laundry room.

Stains in a laundry room wouldn't kill me to live with for awhile, so let things set for awhile maybe. Can you upload some pics?
--
God was my co-pilot, but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him.


Wolfie00
My dog is an elitist
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reply to fireflier
As already said, the "correct" way to fix a drywall problem like this is cut-and-replace, but you can get away with a patch job if the area isn't too large or the damage is minimal.

I did this after a roof leak that pretty thoroughly wet a small section of ceiling drywall. It would have been quite a pain to cut and replace, so I gouged out the bad part and used fiberglass drywall tape and several layers of patch compound to repair. It's been as good as new for years now. You just have to use your judgment because if the drywall doesn't have enough structural integrity the whole patch job could sag.
--
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" -- a corollary of Murphy's Law
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fireflier
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1 recommendation

reply to sharondippity
Click for full size
Main leak
Click for full size
HVAC Soffit
Click for full size
Mystery area.
Sure. Here are the photos in all their carnage.

Couple of notes:

Before you electrical guys freak out, the light fixture is safe and OK. The ballast is on the other end of the fixture away from the leak and didn't get wet. I pulled the lens off and removed the metal wiring/ballast cover and made sure it was all dried out. Probably replace the fixture after all this anyway.

There were 3 areas that got wet. One is the area directly over where the leak occurred. The second area is an HVAC duct soffit where some of the water obviously migrated to since it's the lowest point. Not sure what the deal is with that third spot and why it got wet but the surrounding area didn't.

One last thought: I don't think the dywall itself got so wet the water dripped through it--I think the water dripped through where I had some drywall anchors holding the fluorescent fixture. Effectively holes in the drywall.

Also shown in the photos are the newly added holes from my phillips screwdriver.
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


Koil
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join:2002-09-10
Irmo, SC
kudos:2
said by fireflier:

Before you electrical guys freak out, the light fixture is safe and OK.

I LOL'd....its funny cuz its true.
--
Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
-Mark Twain

My Blog - Raising Connor - »raisingconnor.blogspot.com/ - updated 3/11/09


fireflier
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Yeah, I figured someone would probably warn me about water and the high voltage found at the terminals of fluorescent ballasts so I figured I'd better point out I'd already considered that.

I bet Whizkid's eyes got as big as goose eggs when he saw that first picture!
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com

GLHS329

join:2002-02-27
Atqasuk, AK

2 recommendations

reply to fireflier
I'm often amused by the so-called advice people offer. "If I were you, I'd knock the whole house down and start over."

I had a similar situation happen to me over the summer. I was out of the country (on vacation) when a friend who was checking the house noticed water dripping through the kitchen ceiling. He quickly found the water was coming from a leaking bathroom fixture upstairs, and was able to turn the water off. However, it had been dripping for days, and kitchen ceiling looked like a disaster. However, it also had several days to dry out before I got back home.

I found the ceiling had several dark water stains just like those in your pictures, but structurally everything was fine. Absolutely no need to redo any of the drywall or plaster. All I needed to do was take care of the stains.

You already know about Kilz, but let me tell you about something else what worked for me. Before I painted, I used a foam roller and went over the stains with bleach (full strength). I was real careful to make sure I covered everything where the bleach would drip (myself included). The bleach really did the trick, and significantly lightened the stains. I let the whole thing dry again, and then sprayed on the Kilz. I used Kilz "Upshot" spray can product that is made for spraying ceilings. The result was 100 percent perfect! Absolutely none of the stains are visible.


fireflier
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Glad your issue worked out so well for you. Sounds like you were pretty lucky it wasn't worse than it was.

Years ago I had a small roof leak during a severe ice storm. It left a stain on a vaulted ceiling. I didn't want to repaint the whole thing and it was a very small short duration leak so I didn't worry about the drywall integrity. Around that time, I stumbled on a product specifically made to lighten water stains on ceilings. In retrospect, it was probably just bleach but it did work.

Thanks for the tips. I've got about a week to figure out my plan of action while I leave it alone to dry. I may start with the bleach. If nothing else, it may help reduce the risk of mold assuming it doesn't need to be replaced (and it doesn't look right now like it does). It's not sagging, warped or otherwise distorted, just stained.
--
Tradition: Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid. --despair.com


linicx
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Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
reply to fireflier
Cut it out. If it doesn't dry you will have mold. Mold is a health hazzard.
--
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mrknowitall

@anonymouse.org

1 recommendation

reply to fireflier
from past experience your problem doesn't seem bad. your sheet rock didnt get wet enough to sag so it should be fine.

regarding possible mold problem, not likely, IMO. think about it, your bathroom gets "wet" every time you take a shower. the water just sits there till it evaporates, guess what you dont see big mold problems. well, most of the time if the building it's build properly.

now i'm not a mold expert but from what i've seen mold will grow in places where stays damp and humid for more then a week..long periods of time. since you have the a/c running (i'm guessing) the drywall will dry first before there's any chanse for mold to start to grow. the ceiling will be same temperature as the rest of the walls, meaning, not humid and damp where mold thrives.

you have no big problem. of course, there are two ways to fix the problem 1) replacing with new sheet rock 2) leave sheet rock and paint. both will work.