After some of Australia’s most extreme weather conditions in the far north east of the country, many people are still in recovery mode with severe damage to many properties. Unfortunately, plasterboard products can be adversely affected by flood and water damage and need to be replaced or repaired as soon as possible.
Whether you're in the unfortunate position of needing to clean up after a flood, or other circumstances where your walls or ceilings have been affected by water damage, such as a leaking pipe for example, there are some important considerations when preparing for the reparation.
Before you start any repairs, you need to allow the walls and ceilings enough time to dry out so that the extent of any damage can be properly assessed. This may involve the use of fans and ventilation, or even drilling holes in the plasterboard to allow any pooling water to escape.
The repairs needed could range from simply repairing joints to replacing the entire wall, depending on the extent of the damage following assessment. If your examination determines that only part of the wall is damaged, standard practice would be to replace the board 30cm above the area of inundation to the closest board joint. This allows for any seeping damage and eliminates any additional unnecessary joints that may cause glancing light issues when the job is complete.
If you are replacing part of the wall, it's important to note that, because you now have one new recessed edge board abutting an existing sheet, it should be treated as a butt joint and should be set as such, again to minimise glancing light issues.
In the event of ceiling damage, this board will almost always need to be replaced, especially where absorbent insulation is involved, as water will most likely have ponded for too long, resulting in the board and any fixings having been compromised.
When it comes to specialty boards, such as fire-resistant material, for example, any water damage may compromise the effectiveness of the board to perform as it should, and we always recommend replacement rather than repair in order to guarantee the performance of the board.
In addition to board performance, there some health and safety considerations when flooding has occurred.
Before completing any repairs, it's a good idea to enlist the services of a qualified electrician to ensure that the wiring hasn't been damaged by the water. This needs to be done when you have removed any affected board and insulation, which should be discarded and not reused, to avoid the possibility of having to make further repairs to the walls at a later date.
Another health hazard that can be overlooked is the growth of mould due to flooding. In these circumstances we advise that you use a proprietary mould cleaner to remove any surface mould. If the board that needs to be treated is unpainted, make sure that you don’t excessively scrub the surface. Once the mould cleaner has dried, apply a quality mould-resistant sealer, followed by top coats that also include mould inhibitor.
Water damage can cause major problems both for home owners and builders and are a cause of great stress. To minimise the levels of that stress, before you undertake any repairs, be sure to consult with an insurance assessor who will identify the extent of repairs that need to be carried out and can help you avoid unnecessary expense.
If you would like more information about how to deal with flood and water damage issues, download our information sheet. And, to find the most suitable board for replacement, download our Plasterboard Installation Guide.