Wet Gypsum Board: Keep Or Replace?

Page Senior Associate Lanny Huggins, CCCA, has worked on numerous projects where compromised materials could affect environments that need to be carefully controlled such as healthcare facilities or laboratories. He recently offered some advice based on experience with wet gypsum board, which some also call Sheetrock (brand name), drywall, plasterboard and wallboard. Read what he had to say:

I often observe paper faced gypsum panels that have gotten wet during construction and am asked, “Does it really need to be replaced?”

The majority of the time, the quick answer is “YES”! But why?

  1. The materials specifications typically note “Remove and replace panels that are wet, moisture damaged, and mold damaged.” Check your project manual for specific verbiage.
  2. If the gypsum in question has been placed over acoustical insulation, the insulation may be wet within the wall cavity and will need to be replaced.
  3. Even if the gypsum panel has since dried out, the moisture content of the gypsum panels may adversely affect finishes that are yet to be installed such as tape, bed and paint. The various manufacturers also have guidelines to cross reference when assessing moisture and project conditions.
  4. Gypsum Association (GA) 231-15 “Assessing Water Damage to Gypsum Board” states boldly in the first paragraph, “If there is ever a doubt…replace it.”

Gypsum is also a common casualty of flooding, water leaks and rain water in a building that is still under construction. The Gypsum Association (GA 231-15) provides four conditions that should be met in order to consider keeping gypsum panels that has been exposed to moisture. To learn more, click here.