What Does Water Damage on Plaster Look Like?

Learn how to identify signs of water damage on plaster walls such as peeling paint, brown stains or softened drywall.

What Does Water Damage on Plaster Look Like?

Paint and water are insoluble, and an easy way to identify if your plaster is damaged by water is to look for peeling paint or air bubbles that burst and flake off. Water-damaged gypsum occurs (obviously) when water is present. A little water is not a problem, you can clean it right away. But, in storm season, if water seeps through gypsum board, then you have some major issues to deal with.

When three-layer plaster gets wet, even slightly, the surface will usually show some visual signs. A brown stain may appear on ceilings or walls. With intense soaking, the surface may begin to bubble due to the chemical reaction of lime. As the surface dries, it may harden and the surrounding paint will start to peel off.

Water damage effects may be minor, isolated from the surface layer of the wall, or can penetrate the entire 3-layer structure, causing brown and scratched layers to fall off the batten to crumble. In some cases, the batten may also be damaged, showing rotten wood or rusty metal under the layers of plaster. Before repairing the damaged drywall, first fix the cause of the leak, clean the affected surface and make sure that it is completely dry. If the area is larger, it makes sense to replace the old damaged plaster with a new layer.

Print and seal the surface to block bleeding stains. When it is completely dry, you can paint the plaster. Softened drywall is one of the most overlooked signs of water damage to the wall. Softening occurs when the back of the drywall is soaked, but the outside looks normal.

There are many possibilities that discoloration will be combined with softened drywall. Look for soft spots all over the faded area. You can detect water damage to the wall by looking for softened drywall, bubbles or discoloration. Have the tools and equipment needed to address the volume of trapped water and minimize collateral damage. With the help of water damage professionals, water damage to walls does not have to become a major problem.

Mold growth should be a major concern for anyone suffering water damage to walls due to adverse health effects on the occupants of the house and the high cost of repairs. Stay alert for odd rot or mold odors, and call your water damage professional if you find any. There is a good chance that water damage has occurred behind the wall; like other indicators, this could lead to mold. If the damage to your wall is extensive, call someone who knows how to repair plaster walls damaged by water. Over time, water can be absorbed from the foundation masonry (or into outer stone walls) and damage any plaster applied to it.

Using a bucket of clean water and a sponge, wash off the surrounding area as a final cleaning exercise, and then let the water-damaged plaster wall dry completely. There may be invisible problems due to water damage lurking behind the wall such as mold, rot and electrical hazards. In most situations, a pipe or gutter has been damaged or removed from its location allowing water to flow where it shouldn't go. Simply eliminating salt buildup will not address the underlying problem and an expert should be consulted to determine the extent of damage and what potential damage could occur if left untreated. There is a slight risk that water will continue to flow through the hole but if you are aware of this threat you can take steps to mitigate damage with towels. There are several characteristics of water damage that will help you identify if water is indeed causing problems.

The repair process on this page can be used to repair water damage to surface layers of plasterboard walls and ceilings.

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