Undertaking drywall water damage repair is necessary as soon as the problem occurs. If left unchecked, water damage can spread throughout the drywall resulting in a much larger area of repair. Whether it is a leaking toilet, water line or sink, water damage will quickly saturate drywall that is not specifically designed to be water resistant. The good news is you can do the job yourself without having to call in a contractor. If you have the tools, a little knowledge and the motivation, water-damaged drywall can be fixed over the weekend.
Drywall is sold most commonly in 4x8 foot sheets. Make sure is the same thickness as the rest, probably ½ or 5/8 inch. On top of that you will need primer and the right color paint to match the rest of the wall or ceiling.
Removing the water damaged section of drywall is the first step. Isolate the area of the drywall that is damaged and trace around it with a pencil. Then locate the studs to either side of the damaged area. If the damage reaches one stud, use the next stud over as the edge. In the case of ceiling repair you will be locating the ceiling joists. You want to leave 4 to 5 inches of room on all sides of the damage. This could be more depending on how far away the stud is. The important thing is that the removed section have studs or joists at both sides of it to make reattachment easy and solid. Measure and mark a box around the damage using the studs or joists as two side, and connect them with two perpendicular lines. Cut out the section with a utility knife by first scoring the line then gradually plunging it deeper into the drywall until the section can be removed.
Patching the Section
The next step is to patch the hole. With the new drywall, measure and cut out a section to the exact dimensions as the removed piece. Make sure the new section fits into the hole and fasten it with drywall screws. There should be a stud or joist visible on both sides of the box so the piece does not hang loosely. Hold it in place and insert the screws from the center out. If the patch is small enough that it does not have a stud between the ends, you will fasten it at either end.
Finishing the Section
Once the drywall patch is in place, the next step is to finish it. Each of the four seams must be mudded and taped followed by two more layers of mud to smooth it out. Use all-purpose drywall mud. With the smallest of the drywall knives, apply a layer of mud on each of the seams. Cut four pieces of tape to size and stick them to the mud. To adhere them, run the knife lengthwise along the tape. This will also squeeze the excess mud out the sides. After it dries, go over each seam with a bigger knife and a second layer of mud to cover up the tape. This will further spread out the texture. Finally, go over it a third time with the biggest knife to smooth out the joints to the utmost.
After the finish is applied, add primer, texture and paint to fit the design of the room. Left out of this process was the act of fixing the leak. Make sure you do that before you repair the water-damaged drywall or you may have to do this all over again.