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From floods to leaks, nearly 14,000 people in the U.S. experience a water damage emergency at home or at work each day. 

Of those, a significant number find their drywall is severely affected. If you don’t address the issue of drywall water damage, it can cause much bigger problems.

Recognizing the early signs of water damage on your drywall is the first critical step toward remediation. But it can be difficult to figure out whether or not your drywall is damaged. 

To make things easier for you, we’ve written a guide that uncovers the telltale signs that your drywall has suffered from water damage. Here are some of the most common signs you’ve experienced water damage in your home. 

1. You See Discolored Drywall

One of the primary signs that your drywall has sustained water damage is discoloration. When water seeps into the drywall, it can leave behind noticeable dark spots or streaks, usually brown or yellow in color.

The water may originate from a faulty plumbing system or as a result of a delayed roof inspection that could have caught a leak in its early stages.

If you spot discoloration, it’s important to investigate further. This will help you to determine the source of the water damage.

2. The Paint is Bubbling or Cracked

The presence of water in drywall has a tendency to affect the paint that covers it. If you notice that the paint on your wall is bubbling or cracking, this could be a sign of underlying water damage.

Often, peeling paint occurs when moisture has infiltrated the drywall from behind. This causes it to swell and break the adhesion between the paint and the wall.

It’s not just an aesthetic issue but could signify more serious water damage beneath.

3. Water Stains on Ceilings or Walls

Water stains are another common sign of drywall water damage. These stains can vary in size and often appear as large discolored patches.

They can be an indication that water has been pooling behind the drywall, usually due to a leak. If you find water stains, it’s crucial to identify the water source and fix it promptly to prevent further damage.

4. The Drywall is Swollen or Bulging

Swollen drywall is an undeniable indication of water damage. When drywall absorbs water, it tends to swell and warp.

This swelling can disfigure the wall, causing it to bow or bulge. If you notice such changes in the shape of your drywall, consider it to be a strong sign of water damage.

5. You Smell Strong Humid or Musty Scents

Water damage doesn’t just manifest visually. If there’s a strong, musty smell in your home, particularly in certain rooms, it’s often a sign of hidden water damage or potential mold growth.

Drywall that has been exposed to moisture for extended periods becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which produce these unpleasant odors.

6. You Can Hear Sounds of Leaks

Keep an ear out for any unusual sounds that might suggest a leak. These noises could indicate that water is damaging your drywall, even if there are no visible signs yet.

Regularly conducting a thorough roof inspection can help catch these leaks before they cause significant water damage.

7. The Walls are Damp

Damp walls to the touch are a clear sign that water has penetrated your drywall. If the wall feels moist or cooler than usual, or if there’s condensation, there’s likely water damage behind it. 

Take time to check for dampness after heavy rainfall or if there are known issues with your plumbing system.

8. Softening and Crumbling Drywall

When drywall comes into prolonged contact with water, it loses its firmness and begins to soften. This could be noticeable to the touch or visible in the form of crumbling drywall.

Regularly inspect high-risk areas in your home for signs of this softening. If you notice it, prompt action is needed to prevent further deterioration and possible structural issues.

9. Mold Growth in the Interior or Exterior of the Walls

Mold is another telltale sign of water damage. It thrives in damp environments, and water-damaged drywall provides an ideal breeding ground.

Mold is often green or black, and it may appear in patches or clusters. If you see or suspect mold growth, it’s important to have it professionally removed, as it can pose serious health risks.

10. Roof Leaks in the Attic

If your roof has been leaking, there’s a high likelihood your drywall may have suffered water damage. Leaks often go unnoticed until the roof repair cost balloons or the damage spreads to visible interior areas like your drywall.

Many homeowners have roof leaks and don’t even know it. This is particularly common for those who have not replaced their roofs for many years. 

Tips for Fixing Water-Damaged Drywall

Upon noticing any of these signs, it’s important to act promptly. The first step is identifying the source of the water damage.

This could involve a roof inspection, checking your plumbing, or inspecting your home for other sources of water leaks.

Once the water source has been identified and fixed, the damaged drywall usually needs to be replaced.

Depending on the extent of the damage, this might be a small patch or an entire wall. You might be able to handle minor drywall repair yourself, but for larger jobs or if mold is present, it is a good idea to hire a professional. 

Identifying Drywall Water Damage

It is easier than you might think to identify drywall water damage. 

Some of the most telling indicators that your drywall is damaged include discolored or swollen drywall, cracked paint, strong humid smells, and crumbling drywall. 

If you suspect that a water leak has damaged your drywall, take immediate action. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will become. That’s where Hammerhead Roofing comes in.

We will quickly solve your drywall problems. Quality work and superior customer support are our number one priorities. Don’t hesitate to contact us to get started today!

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