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What is An Acceptable Percentage of Moisture For Drywall?

Drywall structures are designed to be dry but external factors sometimes mean that drywalls absorb water.

There can be many reasons for drywall to become damp or have a higher than acceptable level of water content. Of course, a specific event like flood or storm damage compromises drywall integrity, but a humid atmosphere over time can also cause problems.

When drywall gets wet or absorbs too much water, it becomes soft and weak and needs replacement.

The other main concern affecting drywall is mold. Mold patches look unsightly and can seriously impact the health of the occupants.

Drywall can safely tolerate a certain level of moisture.

Learn those levels and how to check the levels accurately.

Is it Normal To Have Moisture in Drywall?

The dryer your drywall is, the better – the clue is in the name! Drywalls are not designed to be friends with water.

Most drywall sheets are gypsum board, a standard material in the construction of homes. Drywall connects to the external frame to leave a smooth, flat surface. Unfortunately, gypsum, the main ingredient in plaster, is vulnerable to water ingress and moisture.

However, even the best-regulated properties can be impacted by a humid atmosphere or condensation, gradually increasing moisture levels.

A catastrophe like a flood or a storm damage will certainly adversely affect drywall.

Depending on external conditions, it can be normal to have some water molecules in the drywall. If it doesn’t exceed a certain level, it may not be harmful.

Ironically and somewhat unhelpful, conditions that are too dry and might seem like the gold standard can cause cracking, which creates a point of ingress for water.

White Cracking Wall

Many homes experience problems with condensation during the winter season. Condensation is just water forming due to the temperature difference between the air outside and the atmosphere inside your home.

Condensation can form on windows and walls, and excess condensation will result in wet walls.

Testing for water on a routine or after a specific event is a critical evaluation. Householders can do their tests with a physical inspection and a moisture meter.

How Do You Test Moisture in Drywall?

Start with a physical inspection. Scrutinize the wall’s surface and push on it to see any noticeable soft patches. Is there a musty smell associated with specific areas of the wall?

Discolored areas or crumbling patches are tell-tale indicators that the wall has been exposed to too much humidity.

A moisture meter can help pinpoint wet areas. Drywall may look intact upon a visual inspection, but a moisture meter check can provide that all-important certainty.

Using a moisture meter regularly to help evaluate the impact of humidity levels in the home, you can find unseen moisture or water damage before its effects are visible to the human eye.

There are many different types of moisture meters. Cheaper or budget meters may not provide an accurate reading – the impact of this can be severe. Just shell out a few more bucks and get yourself a good brand that offers accurate results.

Before using a moisture meter, you need to check that it is properly calibrated – the instructions that come with the meter will explain how to do this.

Take readings from multiple areas on the wall. Moisture meters can also be used for virgin drywall before installing it to check it has been stored properly and not exposed to any moisture or dampness.

It can be easy to miss areas of moisture. Readings taken over the wall will indicate how much any damage has spread.

Experts can also come to your home to evaluate drywall.

What is an Acceptable Percentage of Moisture in Drywall?

Moisture levels in drywalls are a fact of life due to varying humidity levels. Humidity levels can fluctuate by up to 50%, depending on your environment and the structure of your home.

The real question is not whether your drywall is dry but whether the moisture level it contains is safe and appropriate.

An acceptable level of moisture content is between 5% and 12%. Even a higher level may not spell disaster if not confined to a small area.

Conclusion

Expert assessment can help distinguish between replacement or salvage for damaged drywall.

Even a level of up to 17% can mean that your drywall is salvageable, so if you are not sure, contact All Dry USA for advice on the right moisture meter to use and experienced remediation services for your drywall.

With over a decade of experience conquering water damage, there’s nothing we haven’t seen yet!

Call us up today!

Ben Suiskind
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