How to Repair Water Damaged Sheetrock

If you’re a homeowner, at some point you’ve probably had some type of water leak. Many times the water will get to some drywall. Drywall is very easily damaged by water and the paper backing on the drywall will bubble and wrinkle when it gets wet. It is impossible to actually repair the piece that got wet, so the proper method is to actually replace it. In this article I’ll walk through the steps to do so.

  1. Inspect the drywall to determine the extent of the damage. Use a utility knife to cut an outline in the drywall around the damaged area. Be sure that you cut an easy shape to match with the new drywall that you’ll be putting in, typically a square or rectangle is best.
  2. After you’ve cut the outline, rip out the damaged drywall. Be careful to not damage anything else around the area that you’re going to replace.
  3. Once the old drywall is removed, inspect the wall for signs of further water damage inside the wall. Once you locate the source of the water leak, correct the problem to be sure no more leaks occur.
  4. You may have to replace some insulation if it got wet. Allow the wall to dry out before installing the new piece of drywall.
  5. Once everything is dry, vacuum the area clean and prepare to install the new piece of drywall. Measure the new piece to get as tight a fit in the hole you cut out as possible.
  6. Be sure to check to make sure that the new drywall will be even with the existing. In some cases, you’ll need to attach a backing piece to the studs to make the new drywall line up to the old. Thin pieces of wood work best.
  7. Cut the new piece of drywall and screw it into the studs. Tighten the screws tight enough so that the heads sink slightly into the surface of the drywall, but no tighter. This makes it easier to cover these up when you paint.
  8. Once the piece is secured, tape the seams, apply multiple coats of mud (plaster) and allow it to dry. Once it’s dry, sand it smooth.
  9. Once the new piece is sanded smooth and looks good, paint or wallpaper to match the rest of the wall.

Repairing drywall can be difficult to do if you’ve never done it before. Take your time, and carefully complete each step to be sure you’re satisfied with the result. If you’re hesitant you can always hire a professional but at least now you know how to repair water damaged sheetrock.