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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Saving Water Damaged Ceilings

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Can you restore water damaged ceilings?

The answer is “sometimes.”

Most ceilings in residential homes are constructed with drywall. Drywall, if you’ve never really looked at it, is mostly made up of layers of paper or cardboard. It’s durable enough to serve as a building material, and quite affordable, but it doesn’t stand up to water very well. When there’s a water intrusion, it can very easily absorb or track large volumes of moisture.

Since paper is an organic material, wet drywall can also be a huge target for mold growth if not dealt with quickly and properly.

That said, it’s not like wet ceilings are a totally lost cause.

When can wet ceilings be saved?

If the water damage is relatively minor, then there’s a good chance we’ll be able to save your ceiling. Much like any other drywall, we’ll likely have to find a way to ventilate it and blow warm, dry air into it to promote evaporation, and then capture the evaporated moisture with dehumidifiers.

Once the ceiling is dried, then it’s just a matter of performing some minor repairs and painting to cover up any imperfections. The process, no pun intended, is pretty cut and dry.

This scenario assumes that the water that your ceiling was exposed to was clean “Category 1” water, and that the structural integrity was not affected. When the water category changes, or the structural integrity goes down, then we have a problem.

When can’t wet ceilings be saved?

If we walk into a home and see a ceiling that is sagging, bubbling or bulging, then we are very likely going to recommend that it be removed, disposed of and replaced. In a state like that, the ceiling has lost its structural integrity and poses a very real threat to both you and us.

Even if the structural integrity has not been affected, we still may recommend removal is the ceiling has become contaminated. Usually, this comes in two forms.

The first is “Category 2” or “Category 3” water. This is water that is either significantly or grossly contaminated by things that could make you very sick, like sewage or pathogens. If that water hits your drywall, there’s really no way to effectively clean it, and it needs to be replaced.

The second is mold growth. Mold growth is preventable but still very common when there’s been water damage. If there’s mold growing on your water damaged ceiling, removal and replacement may be more cost-effective than trying to save it.

For more information on our standard of care, Google the IICRC’s S500 standard – it lays all of this out in more detail.

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