4 Immediate Steps To Reduce Water Damage To Walls

A plumbing leak behind a wall or in the ceiling can create a very concentrated area of water damage. Once the leak is fixed, you may be able to save the wallboard if you act quickly and begin the drying process before mold sets it. The following four steps can help you get ahead of the damage while you await the arrival of a water damage restoration service.

1. Drain the Excess

Water can be trapped behind a wall or in the ceiling if the damage is due to a plumbing leak. Draining any excess moisture behind the wall is a must once the leak has been stopped. Poke a small hole in the center of the wet spot so any trapped water can drain out, but make sure to have a bucket or tray beneath the hole to catch any water that trickles out. You can pierce a ceiling spot anywhere, but water spots on the wall should be pierced lower down on the wall surface where gravity has routed the water.

2. Clear the Surface

Do not leave any decorative items on a wall that has water damage, even if these items aren't directly covering the water-damaged area. Moisture and mold can collect and grow behind items like framed pictures even if you think they are outside of the damage zone. As you remove each item, wipe it down with a diluted bleach solution and dry it completely to ensure mold won't be a problem.

3. Begin the Drying Process

Open doors and windows into the room where the damage occurred to help encourage air circulation and faster drying. It's also a good idea to set up a few large fans aimed at the wet area—industrial fans meant for water damage mitigation are preferred. If you have access to a water extractor, you can use this device to help suck the excess moisture from the wall. 

4. Remove the Trim and Coverings

Baseboards and door trim should also be removed, even if they are made of waterproof vinyl. This is because moisture and mold spores can collect behind the trim. Trim should be dried and treated for mold separately from the walls. If the wall has wallpaper on it and you hope to save the wallboard, then pull off the wallpaper so it doesn't retain trapped moisture. Damp wallpaper typically removes easily.

Once dry, the process of restoring the walls can begin. Contact a water damage restoration service, like Sahara Restoration, for more help.